Widespread rain brings end to fire season in Northeast Oregon
The fire season is officially over in Northeast Oregon.
As of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, fire season was terminated for forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northeast Oregon District. This termination includes private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands in seven counties — Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla and small portions of Grant, Malheur, and Morrow. “Widespread rain throughout the region has reduced the fire danger significantly in the last few days,” said Northeast Oregon District Forester, John Buckman. “With the moisture, ODF is terminating fire season much earlier than normal, so we still want to remind people to implement safe practices when using fire in the fall months.”
With the termination of fire season, requirements such as providing firefighting equipment at logging sites or obtaining a burning permit for burn barrels are no longer in effect. However, terminating fire season does not relieve landowners or forest operators of lawful responsibilities concerning the safe burning of debris or slash. Windy conditions combined with warm weather could cause unpredictable fire behavior.
Despite a record fire season on lands protected the Oregon Department of Forestry throughout Oregon, the Northeast Oregon district suppressed 96 fires that burned only 270 acres. Additional resources such as helicopters and single engine air tankers, partially paid for with new General Fund monies from the State of Oregon, helped significantly to check fire spread quickly in a year with fire-starts up by 20 percent. These additional resources were a part of the coordinated effort used by ODF which also included rural fire departments, local contractors and a long standing relationship with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Human caused fires within the district were significantly reduced, with 17 fires burning just 81 acres.