Washington County to enact high fire danger burn ban
As temperatures soar across Washington County and much of the rest of Oregon and the West Coast, local fire districts gave notice Thursday, July 21, that they will instate a ban on most forms of outdoor burning, effective next week.
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, the largest of the fire districts, made the announcement on behalf of itself, the Banks Fire District, the Cornelius Fire Department, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, the Gaston Rural Fire District, and Hillsboro Fire & Rescue.
The burn ban is being declared due to high fire risk, according to TVF&R, on the recommendation of the Washington County Fire Defense Board. The ban will take effect as of 7 a.m. Monday, July 25.
The ban prohibits:
• Backyard and open burning
• Agricultural burning
• Other forms of burning, such as land clearing
A few types of small-scale burning are exempt from the ban, specifically:
• Small outdoor cooking, warming and recreational fires, with a maximum fuel area of 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height
• Barbecue grills, smokers and other outdoor cooking appliances
Any and all burning near combustible materials or vegetation is strictly prohibited. Fire officials also remind users to ensure that all fires are completely extinguished after use.
Even allowed fires should be supervised at all times, and those attending them should have the means to quickly extinguish them in case they grow or spread.
Additionally, stricter prohibitions may apply in some areas, including on land protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and within one-eighth of a mile of ODF-protected land.
Large swaths of rural Washington County are under the protection of ODF, including the Tillamook State Forest west of Forest Grove.
The ban comes in response to an extended period of high temperatures and dry weather.
Daytime high temperatures in Washington County this week have been in the 80s and 90s. Next week, high temperatures are forecasted to approach triple digits.
Last year, Washington County issued one of the earliest burn bans on record in mid-April.
But with northwest Oregon experiencing heavy rainfall well into June this year, forecasters and fire agencies noted that fire season would have an atypically late start this summer.
"But climate change is impacting us, and even with this rainy, wet spring, I'm not really willing to say this is going to be a quiet fire season here," Forest Grove Fire Marshal Dave Nemeyer told Pamplin Media Group in May. "All of this green brush is going to dry out by August, and through October, of course it could be bad."
Dillon Mullan contributed to this report.
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