Caution with spring burning

By on Tuesday, May 11th, 2021 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

LA GRANDE, OR – (Information provided by Oregon Department of Forestry)  Spring conditions have set in for much of the northeast Oregon area.  Fire managers are encouraging people who have conducted or are planning to conduct spring burning activities to follow-up any burning by making sure piles are dead-out.

While this is a prime time for cleaning up the property and conducting small burning operations, landowners are urged to educate themselves on current and expected conditions.  Being mindful of weather forecasts, including temperature, wind, and humidity can help determine if burning is advised or not.

“We’ve had some significant wind events over the past couple of weeks.  These winds have caused issues with debris burning around the state.  It is important to be aware of the weather conditions, not only at the time of the burn, but also in the following days. We’ve had a couple of debris fires in Wallowa County that were pushed by wind and burned a larger area than the landowner was wanting, as well as causing other damages.” said Matt Howard, Wallowa Unit Forester.

Debris burning is the number one human-cause of wildfire.  Many of these troublesome fires take place before and after the official fire season when landowners are not paying particularly close attention to daily and extended weather conditions.  ODF officials encourage landowners to heed caution even when conditions seem to be conducive to burning, and refer to the following checklist before burning:

 ·         Call your local fire department to see if a burning permit is required.  Burning regulations are not the same in all areas.

·         Prepare by having a shovel and charged garden hose or other water source at the burn site.

·         Find a clear site away from buildings and trees with overhanging branches.

·         Clear a circle, at least 10 feet in diameter down to mineral soil, around the pile or incinerator.

·          Divide large piles into smaller piles.  Smaller piles burn quickly and efficiently and are easier to control.

·         Avoid burning during windy conditions. Embers can travel and ignite spot fires nearby.

·         Stay with the fire, wetting down the edges to prevent escape, until it is completely out.

·         Remember, unattended piles can quickly spread out of control.  If your debris burn escapes control, call 911 immediately. is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains. To report a fire, call Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch at (541)963-7171 or dial 9-1-1.