Firefighters work a small grass fire that ignited near Roy in August 2017. Photo: Chas Hundley

FOREST GROVE - Washington County issued a burn ban that runs from today, May 9, through the upcoming weekend as the region continues to experience record high temperatures for this time of year.

In an email obtained by the Banks Post, Ron Graham, deputy chief for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire division, said that current conditions are more typically seen during the middle of fire season, yet it’s only the beginning of May.

“Heightened preparedness is critical,” Graham wrote. “We are already seeing increased fire activity across the state.”

John Saltenberger, fire weather program manager for the Northwest Coordination Center, said northeasterly winds are expected over western Oregon on May 9 and will continue at least through Friday, May 10.

“With the recent warm, dry weather over the region the fire danger is climbing,” Saltenberger said.

Mike Cafferata, Forest Grove’s district forester, said that if you see your neighbor burning yard debris, stop and make sure they understand the current dry, windy conditions.

“Now we have a red flag warning for low humidity and wind in the Willamette Valley,” Cafferata said. “Yamhill and Washington Counties have both put on burn bans for Thursday through the weekend. Please spread the word about the fire conditions and be extra careful.

“If you have not done so already, this is the time to check any piles you lit this spring and make certain they are extinguished,” he continued. “We are no longer issuing burn permits, so you should not see any slash burning at this point. We are working locally to make sure we have resources available to respond should something get started. We prefer prevention though, so please do your part on lands you manage or drive through.”

For more information call the Banks Fire District at 503-324-6262.