Rain predicted to end burn ban

If rain materializes this week, fire season, the burn ban and regulated use will end this week.

The prohibition on fires and the required presence of firefighting equipment at work sites is scheduled to end on Thursday.

“It looks like we’re going to get rain starting Tuesday,” said Ed Keith, Oregon Department of Forestry Sweet Home Unit forester.

Awaiting rain, area fire chiefs and officials extended the burn ban at the end of September.

“I can’t say for sure that fire season ends on that date,” Keith said. “We want to see the rain first.”

If the rain falls in “inches,” fire season will end, probably along with regulated use, Keith said. Once fire season is over,

industrial operators will no longer need to have fire gear on their work sites, and most of the rest of the fire crew is laid off.

The Sweet Home Unit still had a limited fire crew working, Keith said Friday. Many members of the crew have gone back to their winter jobs or school.

A couple of firefighters will remain on staff to wrap up the summer work and winterize equipment.

The Sweet Home Unit, which protects private and public forestlands in east Linn County, didn’t have any fires larger than an acre in the protection area this year, Keith said. Firefighters from Sweet Home assisted on several fires around the state.

Among those fires were the 3,500-acre Guiness Creek Fire, the Microwave Fire in the Columbia Gorge, the 12,000-acre Tumblebug Fire south of Oakridge in Lane County and the 10,000-acre Williams Creek Fire in Douglas County.

“It’s been a pretty good season,” Keith said. The Sweet Home Unit wrote about 30 tickets this year for illegal burning.

The area had good compliance during the hot, dry periods, he said, but during rainy days, sometimes people decided to burn even though burning was banned.

To check on whether it is a burn day, call the burn number at 451-1904.