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Dry winds cause slash fires to spread


November 21, 2018

East winds dried out local forests last week, causing five slash burns to rekindle and burn six-tenths of an acre outside of the authorized area.

The slash burns were on Nov. 6 and 7, and they rekindled on Nov. 11 in the Wiley, Calapooia and Moose Mountain areas, said Valerie Oakleaf of the Oregon Department of Forestry Sweet Home Unit.

The land owners fought the fire for four days with advice and assistance from the ODF and some ODF apparatus.

“There’s not been a lot of rain,” said ODF Forest Protection Supervisor Neil Miller, and humidity has been low. The ridges outside Sweet home haven’t seen the same recovery as the lower elevations.

Precipitation in Sweet Home is 30.23 inches so far for the year. At the same point last year, Sweet Home had 53.89 inches of rain.

Temperatures were ranging around the 40s and 50s around town, but up in the hills, they’ve been reaching as high as 72, Oakleaf said.

Winds were about 15 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph, Miller said.

“I’ve seen this happen in January too,” Miller said. “We are probably not going to allow any burning as far as industrial until well past Thanksgiving. Maybe the last week of November.”

Two major landowners, Weyerhaeuser and Cascade Timber Consulting, won’t even try until December, Miller said.

Backyard burning remains allowed only on burn days as authorized by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Check the burn message at (541) 451-1904 before burning.


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