PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hot temperatures paired with “extremely” dry conditions have led the Vancouver Fire Marshal to issue a recreational burn ban starting on Friday.
Campfires, recreational fires and bonfires, along with fire pits and outdoor fire places with a chimney-type device are prohibited. The City of Vancouver said the ban will likely be in place through summer or until the risk for fire danger significantly improves.
“The risk for fire is high and state officials have said that this year’s wildfire season has the potential to be challenging as the fine fuels continue to cure,” said Vancouver Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli. “It is vital that everyone be extra vigilant about fire safety during this time. In addition to not using any recreational fires, we also ask that smokers never put out their cigarettes in bark mulch or planters or toss lit cigarettes out car windows.”
Fire officials warn those that violate the order may be cited and fined $500.
Residents can continue using propane or charcoal barbecues, but all other types of fires will be illegal within city limits.
Earlier this week, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory for heavy levels of ozone pollution, otherwise known as smog. A wood-burning ban was issued in Multnomah County Wednesday due to the extreme heat and poor air quality.
The DEQ said ozone forms when hot temperatures and low winds combine with pollution from cars, gas-powered engines and chemicals in paints and aerosols. These pollutants then react with sunlight and heat to produce ozone and haze.
Air with high levels of ozone pollution is unhealthy to breathe, and officials hope to reduce it by keeping residents from adding to the emissions by burning wood, driving, mowing the lawn and using aerosol sprays.