Union County begins early Fire Season and declares drought
LA GRANDE – Union County Board of Commissioners voted in a regular session Wednesday to enter regulated fire season on June 15, 2021. County Ordinance 2018-01 states the County Commissioners may enter the regulated fire season prior to July 1 based on a recommendation from the Union County Fire Defense Board and current conditions within the county. The Fire Defense Board consists of all Fire Chiefs within Union County.
Fire Defense Board Chief Craig Kretschmer stated the recommendation was made due to extremely dry fuel conditions and several fire starts locally and regionally. Local conditions are very dry and are forecasted to continue for the immediate future.
During regulated use fire season, no open burning is allowed on private lands within rural fire protection districts as well as outside of city limits and on all private lands in Union County. The provision does not include regulated agricultural field burning or the use of gas or pellet barbecues at residences. Burn barrels from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and recreational fires are also allowed under regulated use as long as they meet provisions within the ordinance. The ordinance may be read in its entirety at www.union-county.org/emergency-services.
In addition to the early entry to regulated use fire season, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to request a State of Oregon drought declaration. This included a request that all state and federal drought programs, grants, loans and other assistance be made available to all affected Union County citizens.