Banks Fire District Engine 16 heads toward the Powerline Fire. Photo: Chas Hundley
11:20 a.m.: This story has been updated with a quote from the Banks Fire District.
Beginning at 12 p.m. Wednesday, all burning — backyard debris, agricultural slash and more — in the Banks Fire District, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue region, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue’s territory and beyond will close due to fire danger until further notice.
The regular burning season generally runs until June 15, but local and state officials are concerned about “unseasonably high fire danger” this week and beyond. Saturday and Sunday are both expected to reach temperatures of low to mid 80’s, according to the Portland National Weather Service.
The decision, made by the Washington County Fire Defense Board, was announced late Wednesday morning. Washington County agencies included in the ban include Banks Fire District #13, Cornelius Fire & Rescue, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Gaston Rural Fire District, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.
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“Conditions are ripe right now for a HIGH FIRE DANGER,” wrote Banks Fire District spokesperson Scott Adams in a post on the Banks Fire District Facebook page.
The ban applies to all forms of outdoor burning, including backyard or open burning, agricultural or commercial burning, land clearing, slash, waste, or and debris burning.
According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, the state has already seen nearly three times the average number of fires that have usually occurred by this time of the year.
A press release from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue warned that all outdoor fires in violation of the burn ban could be immediately extinguished.
Those who start a fire in violation of the ban could also be on the hook for legal and firefighting costs if a fire agency has to respond to extinguish a fire started or allowed to spread during the burn ban under the laws set forth in ORS 478.965.