Residential and private burning will no longer be allowed in Central Oregon beginning June 1.

HOLLY M. GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - Burning debris piles on private land in Central Oregon will no longer be allow beginning June 1.The Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association has announced that residential and private lands open debris burning across the tri-county region of Jefferson, Deschutes, and Crook counties will end on Saturday.

Burning debris piles on private lands in much of Central Oregon will not be allowed starting at sunrise on June 1, as the area heads into the summer wildland fire season.

"In order to best serve our residents throughout Central Oregon with fire and EMS protection, Central Oregon fire chiefs each year, jointly select a common closing date to avoid escaped residential debris burns on private lands," said Matt Smith, fire chief for Crook County Fire and Rescue, and chairman of the Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association.

"Many areas in Central Oregon are drying out quickly and local, state and federal wildfire suppression resources can be quickly needed as the conditions continue to dry out," Smith said.

"Even though specific areas in Central Oregon still may receive a bit of rain or even a spring snow shower before or after the closure, the region as a whole is quickly approaching fire season conditions that create unsafe conditions for residential outdoor debris burning," he added.

The Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association strongly urges homeowners to prepare their property for the upcoming fire season now before there is smoke on the horizon. Homeowners and residents who have yet to "Firewise" their properties for the upcoming fire season will have three options for forest debris removal until fall and burn season opens again: chip the debris, haul to a local transfer site, or pile and cover until fall.

Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association's federal partners (the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management) could possibly be executing prescribed burns throughout the region in preparation for fire season, even after burn season closes on private lands.

Those prescribed burns will be conducted under carefully planned conditions such as: with federal fire resources, professional fire managers and firefighters on scene, favorable weather conditions and carefully planned land plots.

Prescribed burns improve forest health and reduce the forest fuels in order to lower the wildfire risk to local communities that is ever present later in the season when the conditions are even more extreme. Creating fire resilient landscapes with prescribed burns is a critical component to implementing the National Wildland Fire Cohesive Strategy.

Residents are strongly encouraged to contact their local fire protection agencies for additional burning information and regulations. All Central Oregon fire departments and rural fire districts will continue to monitor weather and fuel moisture conditions in their districts and may make modifications on a day-to-day basis.

Call the Jefferson County Fire Department's outdoor burning information line at 541-475-1789 for current conditions.

If conditions become dryer, individual agencies may choose to close local burning sooner. Fire agencies will monitor fuels and fire conditions throughout the summer and anticipate the opening of burn season again in late fall.

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