On the Union County Fire Defense Board’s recommendation, the Union County Commissioners voted Wednesday to place the county under a full burn ban.

At the Union County Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, JB Brock, emergency services manager, recommended the commissioners enact a full ban, which prohibits any kind of fire except for regulated agriculture field burning and gas or pellet barbecues.

In a Union County Emergency Services press release, Fire Defense Board Chief Larry Wooldridge said the possibility of a wildfire is at a dangerous level due to the prolonged period of hot and dry conditions.

Brock told the commissioners the drought monitor puts Union County at an abnormally dry level. And outside firefighting resources are not available due to the other major wildfires in Oregon.

“Fuel moistures in the area are very low,” Wooldridge said in the press release. “The Haines Index is at medium to high levels for the foreseeable future, which can be an indicator of explosive fire growth.”

The burn ban approved by the Union County Commissioners places restrictions on all land outside of incorporated cities in the county.

At Wednesday’s meeting, County Commissioner Jack Howard expressed displeasure that the towns in Union County have not implemented their own burn bans yet, and the other commissioners agreed.

However, most of the towns automatically follow suit after the county has enacted a burn ban. And the Fire Defense Board is made up of all the fire chiefs in the county, which generally means the chiefs will recommend the same or automatically make the move for their own town.

In the City of Elgin, Ordinance Officer Alex Duffy said the city passed an ordinance that automatically enacts a burn ban when the county does.

See more in Friday's edition of The Observer.

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