Burn bans spread throughout Oregon, Washington

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Many counties in Oregon and Washington are taking precautions due to the warm and dry conditions.

The dry conditions began extremely early this year. On March 20, a 40-acre fire started in a backyard burn pile near Kelso. In La Pine on Wednesday night, a brush fire destroyed at least one home. Another fire broke out Thursday afternoon near Hockinson in Clark County.

Clark County Fire Marshal Johnathan Dunaway said it may be early but the fire season is definitely on.

Multnomah, Marion, Polk, Linn and Yamhill counties have imposed temporary bans for outdoor burning, including recreational campfires, fire pits, yard debris, agricultural burning and permits issued for open burning. TVF&R and Clackamas Fire also issued burn bans in their jurisdictions. 

People can still use their outdoor barbecues, but are urged to use extreme caution.

  • When using charcoal briquettes, properly dispose of ashes in a covered metal container away from combustibles

  • Keep the ashes wet for a few days before disposing of them

  • Maintain at least 10 feet between outdoor cooking and anything combustible like fences, shrubbery

In Washington, Cowlitz, Skamania and Clark counties have burn bans in place until Monday. 

The burn bans don’t apply to BLM or U.S. Forest Service land.

There’s a red flag warning for most of western and central Oregon. According to the National Weather Service, the conditions are ripe for fire to spread as high winds are expected. On Wednesday night, a brush fire erupted in La Pine — destroying at least one home.

Sen. Jeff Merkley said that 230 National Guard members are trained and ready to help fight wildfires in Oregon. Another 125 members will be trained by July 1.

Questions about the bans can be directed to local fire departments. 

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