News, Weather, wildfire

Countywide burn ban to begin Monday morning

All backyard, agricultural, and debris or slash burning will be banned in Washington County starting 7 a.m. Monday, July 25, the member agencies of the Washington County Fire Defense Board announced Thursday afternoon. 

The ban does not include small outdoor cooking, warming, or recreational fires. 

“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 from the fire defense board read.

The ban comes shortly after the Oregon Department of Forestry announced that it was raising fire danger for the general public to “moderate” on and within a 1/8 mile of ODF-protected lands in the region starting Friday morning, and raising Industrial Fire Precaution Levels to 2 in all but the coastal zone of the region starting Monday. 

The member agencies of the Washington County Fire Defense Board include  Banks Fire District 13, Cornelius Fire Department, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Gaston Rural Fire District, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue. 

In enacting the ban, the agencies cited Oregon Revised Statute 478.960 and Oregon Fire Code 307.

Those who start a fire in violation of the ban could be on the hook for firefighting and legal fees if a fire agency responds, and fires started illegally can be extinguished immediately. 

The fire defense board specified which activities were banned and which were allowed starting Monday.


-Backyard or open burning (branches, yard debris, etc.).

-Agricultural burning (agricultural wastes, crops, field burning, etc.).

-Any other land clearing, slash, stump, waste, debris or controlled burning.

The burn ban does not prohibit:

-Small outdoor cooking, warming or recreational fires. These include portable or permanent fire pits, fire tables, and campfires, with a maximum fuel area of three feet in diameter and two feet in height in a safe location away from combustibles or vegetation and are fully extinguished after use.

-Barbeque grills, smokers and similar cooking appliances with clean, dry firewood, briquettes, wood chips, pellets, propane, natural gas, or similar fuels.

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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