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Yamhill County Fire Defense Board initiates fire season, but firepits and barbecues allowed

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Yamhill County Fire Defense Board, which represents fire departments and districts in the county, is following a directive from the Oregon Department of Forestry in commencing the summer fire season.

If you were planning on ridding your back yard of debris via a burn pile, think again as a county agency has enacted a burn ban starting immediately.

The Yamhill County Fire Defense Board, which represents fire departments and districts in the county, is following a directive from the Oregon Department of Forestry in commencing the summer fire season.

The move effectively bans open burning and came about due to anticipated higher temperatures and an increase in fire damage as summer forges on.

The edict also was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with ODF officials requesting that the public voluntarily refrain from burning "as the added smoke in the air could intensify COVID-19 symptoms," according to a release from the Yamhill County Fire Defense Board.

Ultimately, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality regulates open burning in the Willamette Valley, but cities, counties and fire districts may impose additional restrictions, the release said.

Typically, the state establishes two permanent fire seasons: in the spring from March 1 to June 15 and in the fall from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15. However, those are only suggested dates and may be modified by the state in response to conditions on the ground, such as the ongoing drought in many Oregon counties, as well as weather and air quality issues.

Fortunately for aspiring outdoor chefs, firepits and barbecues are generally allowed year-round, except during fire weather watches and during red flag warnings. To determine whether either is in place, those outside of Newberg and Dundee can call the burn line at 503-472-3344 or visit smkmgt.com/burn.php. Residents within Dundee can call 503-538-4182; Newberg residents can call the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue burn line at 503-259-1789.

The release added that fire agencies that are forced to extinguish illegal backyard burns or fires that get out of control due to negligence, can bill the residents for the service.

For more information, there is a brochure online from the Oregon Department of Agriculture that can help. It is located at HYPERLINK www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/NaturalResources/BurningQuestionsSmokeBrochure.pdf


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