News, Weather, wildfire

County burn ban begins

A county-wide burn ban began Monday morning, just hours after lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in far west Washington County entered fire season.

The move, at the advisement of the Washington County Fire Defense Board applies to the jurisdictions of all Washington County-based fire agencies, including Banks Fire District, Cornelius Fire Department, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue (which provides service to the Forest Grove Rural Fire Protection District), Gaston Fire District, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

The ban is authorized under Oregon Revised Statute 478.960 and Oregon Fire Code 307.

“Fire chiefs in Washington County encourage the public to use extreme caution with activities that could start a fire. It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent and be prepared for wildfires,” a press release issued jointly read.

What’s banned

As of July 1 at 7 a.m.:

Backyard or open burning of yard debris and branches

Agricultural burning of agricultural waste, crops, or field burning

Slash, stump, debris or controlled land clearing-type burning of any kind

What’s allowed

Small outdoor cooking, warming, and recreational fires, barbecue grills, smokers, and other cooking appliances.

Fires that have a maximum fuel area of three feet in diameter and two feet in height, must be located safely away from vegetation or material it could ignite, and be fully put out after use.

Cooking appliances must burn clean, dry fuels such as dry firewood, briquettes, wood chips, pellets, propane, and natural gas.

“Outdoor fires in violation of this burn ban may be immediately extinguished,” the press release noted. “If a fire agency responds to a fire that has been started in willful violation of this burn ban, the person responsible may be liable for all costs incurred, as well as legal fees per ORS 478.965.”

Other areas

Those within lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and within one eighth of a mile of their borders may have further restrictions on burning, and should consult the state agency’s fire restrictions website.

The ban does not apply to fireworks, but those within ODF-protected lands should be aware that fireworks were banned Monday morning under the ODF’s regulated closure proclamation. That includes the entirety of Timber, Glenwood, Hayward, Tophill, and many areas around Gales Creek, Buxton, and Manning. You can select a location on this map to see what is and is not allowed under current fire restrictions.

Excessive Heat Watch issued

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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