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Residents still urged to use caution on permitted burn days; always call burn lines to check conditions

COURTESY PHOTO: COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE AND RESCUE - While cooler temperatures and rainfall have prompted fire officials to lift a countywide burn ban, residents are still urged to use caution when conducting open burns. Last week, prior to the ban being lifted, crews were dispatched to a brush fire in Warren where flames from a propane torch used on weeds spread to a row of trees that quickly burned.A bout of cooler weather and significant rainfall prompted fire officials to terminate a burn ban that had been in effect for Columbia County.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Columbia County Fire officials lifted the ban, which means that residents can burn yard debris on permitted days.

In order to take part in open burning, residents must have an active burn permit from a local fire district. Permits are valid for a year and can be completed online.

Fire officials note, however, that conditions can change at any time and fire season is still active.

"We are still in fire season," Columbia County Fire Marshall Jeff Pricher said.

With recent rainfall, many fuels absorbed enough moisture to lessen the risk of wildfires, so the burn ban was lifted this week, Pricher explained. Still, there is always a possibility that burning could again be prohibited if the weather shifts.

"Northwest Oregon is notorious for experiencing fall rains before turning to 'indian summer' where dry east winds and warm days quickly dry out vegetation greatly increasing the fire danger. Should the fire danger increase again a burn ban will be reinstituted," a social media post from Scappoose Fire and Rescue and Columbia River Fire and Rescue stated this week.

Pricher noted that while he is not expecting the region to experience an "Indian Summer," weather conditions can always change and constantly need to be reevaluated throughout fire season.

Pricher also noted that if residents are burning in their yards and feel their fuels may be out of control, residents should call for help early on.

"If you wait until it's out of control, it's a greater risk and liability," Pricher said.

Last week on Sept. 4, while the burn ban was in effect, fire crews were dispatched to a brush fire where the homeowner had been using a propane torch to burn weeds when flames spread to a row of arborvitae and grass in the front yard.

As a reminder, burn piles should be no wider than 3 feet by 3 feet and should be constantly monitored. Lumber and any chemically treated materials should not be burned. Residents should always call the local fire department burn line to check current conditions.

Further details about open burning or backyard burn-

ing is available on the Columbia County Fire Marshal's website, www.ccfiremarshal.com.


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