Last day to burn before summer: June 15

Despite – or, due to – the rainy spring, the annual ban on all open and backyard burning will take effect on June 16 in Linn County.

The Oregon Department of Forestry and the fire defense boards of the Linn, Benton and Polk counties announced the ban, which aims to reduce the incidence of open debris burns escaping control. The restrictions will extend through Oct. 15 or later, depending on fire danger.

“We are seeing a lot of green-up occurring with the current weather patterns. This will cause heavy fuel loading for the grass models as temperatures rise and the fuels dry out,” said Mike Beaver, Linn County Fire Defense Board chief.

The open burning restrictions coincide with the current air-quality rules set forth by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Those rules already forbid open burning within three miles of cities over 1,000 in population and six miles from cities over 50,000 in population after June 15. These burn restrictions expand the geographical scope to include areas outside the three- and six-mile limit.

“Along with this ban on residential burning we hope that the public has an increased awareness of wildfires and what they can do to help protect their own property,” said Benton County Fire Defense Board Chief Rick Smith. “The work that a property owner does now keeping a defensible space around their property will make the difference between losing a home or structure, and keeping their valuable investment intact during a wildfire event.”

The fire defense board chief encouraged property owners to explore other options during the burn ban. Alternatives to burning include: chipping, hauling debris to recycling centers, and composting. All of these options are now available to the public year-round.

Rural fire agencies and the Oregon Department of Forestry have the authority to enforce and regulate the burn ban. Under Oregon Revised Statute Chapter 477, the department may issue citations for violation of the burning restrictions.

For more information on the open burning restrictions as well as advice on safe debris disposal, contact the nearest Department of Forestry office or the local fire department. To check on burning restrictions for the Sweet Home area, call (541) 451-1904.