Oregon declares start of fire season two weeks early as warm dry weather causes early drying of dead fuel; logging, industrial operations, must meet fire prevention requirements including water supply, watchman service

BAKER CITY, Oregon , June 12, 2014 () – The official start of fire season in Northeastern Oregon will be at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, two weeks or so earlier than usual.

"The drying of the larger dead fuel is two to three weeks ahead of schedule, a similar situation to what firefighters are experiencing on the Two Bulls Fire near Bend," said Dennis Perilli, Pendleton Unit forester for the Oregon Department of Forestry. "This year's grass crop is tall and abundant and although it is still green in most places, the warm dry weather that we are having will allow that grass to start curing soon."

The fire season declaration places restrictions on landowners and the public. Land affected includes private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in Union, Baker, Wallowa, and Umatilla counties along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow, and Grant counties within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District.

"I think we should be prepared for a busy fire season and ask that all those who live, work or recreate in the forest practice good fire prevention," Perilli said in a press release.

During fire season, burn permits for burn barrels and all open burning except camp fires are required on all private forest and range lands within the Northeast Forest Protection District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). Contact your local ODF office in La Grande, Baker City, Wallowa, or Pendleton to acquire a burn permit.

Landowners who conducted burning of slash piles last fall and this past spring are encouraged to check the piles to ensure that they are completely out and all heat is gone. It is not uncommon for recently burned slash piles to retain heat in them for several months after the actual burning of the piles.

Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF. Contact your local Stewardship Forester at any ODF office for more information.

More information:

--Baker City: 541-523-5831

--La Grande: 541-963-3168


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