Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Union County Eases Restrictions on County Wide Burn Ban

Union County Board of Commissioners voted in a regular county commission session today to release the County Wide Burn Ban/Regulated Use restrictions effective immediately at the recommendation of the Union County Fire Defense Board. Fire Defense Board Chief Larry Wooldridge stated that with the cooler temperatures and the return of resources to the area, the county’s exposure to extreme fire behavior has decreased enough to return to the annual regulated use closure.  Chief Wooldridge indicated that the Fire Defense Board will continue to monitor conditions.

As specified in County Ordinance 2018-01, the county will remain in regulated fire season through September 30 with a ban on open burning. The open burning ban states that during regulated fire season, no open burning will be allowed with the exception of regulated agricultural field burning. Incinerators and burn barrels are allowed between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., but must comply with requirements in the ordinance.  Improved fire pits and fire appliances are allowed.  Recreational guidelines for campfires must be followed including rock-lined fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock or commercial rings.  All combustible materials are to be a minimum of three feet beyond the fire ring, and fires shall be attended at all times. The county ordinance may be read in its entirety on the county website at

In addition to Union County easing fire restrictions, forest officials on the Umatilla National Forest have reduced public use restrictions to Phase A which pertains to recreational chainsaw use limited to the hours of 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.; smoking only in enclosed vehicles, buildings or cleared areas; no off-road/off-trail travel or travel on roads not cleared of standing grass or other flammable material; seasonal campfire restrictions and requirements including fires only in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread. Lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) have also eased some public use restrictions.  Details regarding all area forest Public Use Restrictions can be found by visiting the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at

The public’s awareness of fire danger and cooperation is essential to minimizing wildfire in Union County. Recreationists, firewood cutters, hunters, and other forest users can all help by closely adhering to restrictions, operating safely and cautiously, and keeping up-to-date on the latest orders and regulations.