Union County Extends Regulated Use Fire Season

Union County Board of Commissioners voted in an emergency session today to extend the annual Regulated Use Fire Season to October 15, 2020 at the recommendation of the Union County Fire Defense Board.  As specified in County Ordinance 2018-01, the commissioners may extend the season based on current conditions and at the recommendation of the Union County Fire Defense Board, which consists of all Fire Chiefs within Union County. The ordinance may be read in its entirety at www.union-county.org/emergency-services.

During regulated use fire season, no open burning is allowed on private lands within rural fire protection districts as well as outside of city limits and on all private lands in Union County. The provision does not include regulated agricultural field burning or the use of gas or pellet barbecues at residences.  Burn barrels from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and recreational fires are also allowed under regulated use as long as they meet provisions within the ordinance.

Assistant Fire Defense Board Chief Craig Kretschmer stated that the region is in a prolonged period of hot and dry conditions that have continued to keep burning conditions at a heightened level in the county. Temperatures are predicted to be above 80 degrees with no wetting rains in the forecast for the next several days. The continued warm dry weather has cured lower elevation fine fuels and heavy fuels. Assistant Fire Defense Board Chief Kretschmer indicated that the Fire Defense Board will continue to monitor the conditions.

In addition to the extension of the regulated use fire season in Union County, public use restrictions remain in effect for the Umatilla and Wallowa Whitman National Forests and all Oregon Department of Forestry lands due to high fire danger, the potential for human caused fires, and concern for public safety.  Forest visitors are encouraged to stay up to date on the latest orders and regulations in Northeast Oregon by visiting the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center website at www.bmidc.org/restrictions.shtml.