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Molalla Fire Chief Vince Stafford warns even with rain in forecast, the burn ban is still in place

The sky has been boasting some clouds and sprinkles, and there's rain in the forecast, but don't start up those burn piles just yet.

According to Molalla Fire Chief Vince Stafford, even though it was predicted the Willamette Valley would see a busy fire season, this year's season has actually been a bit slower than usual.

"Statewide, we haven't had a single conflagration, which is really unusual," Stafford said. "So that part's been good. I believe in the state, they've been catching all of them. And typically, they catch 95-97 percent of them. It's the other ones that get big."

COURTESY PHOTO: MOLALLA FIRE - Molalla Fire, along with helping agencies, responded to a brush fire Aug. 4.

Of course, Stafford would like to keep it that way, which is why he warns that it's not time to start burning yet.

Burning has been banned for most of the summer, with some exceptions for agricultural and other burns with permits. And even with rain in the forecast, crews don't expect to immediately lift the ban.

"We still are in burn season, and we're going to get a little bit of rain coming up," Stafford said. "It's just probably not going to be enough to light your piles on fire. We just need to wait to get a significant amount of rain to get the moisture content up."

Fire season can extend into October or later, depending on temperature, moisture level, the Haines Index (a rating of the stability of the atmosphere) and other factors.

Residents interested in burning should call Molalla Fire at 503-829-2217 before doing so. See for more details on burning regulations.

Kristen Wohlers
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