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Friday, March 20, 2020

Oregon Department of Forestry Urges Caution With Spring Debris Burning

[Prineville, Ore.] Spring is often the time when landowners work to clean up vegetation and yard debris from around their homes.  However, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District reminds landowners to be cautious if they plan to burn that material.  Weather in the spring can often be erratic and winds can pick up suddenly, fanning flames and dispersing embers into dry fuels nearby.  Cleaning gutters, removing leaves and needles from roofs, and clearing dead vegetation from around structures helps reduce risk of wildfire damage to homes and outbuildings.  Many communities have programs which allow for chipping and disposal of these types of materials at low or no cost to landowners.  ODF encourages landowners to take advantage of these opportunities.
While it is still early spring on the calendar, fuel conditions across the areas ODF’s Central Oregon District protects are experiencing warmer and drier weather patterns than normal.  Lower snowpack and warmer temperatures have resulted in a decrease in fuel moisture and increased flammability.   ODF personnel have assisted rural fire district and federal partners responding to numerous fires from escaped debris burns as well as campfires which have been left unattended.  “We’ve been seeing spring-like weather for the last month, and with it we’ve seen an increase in responses to uncontrolled fires,” explains Rob Pentzer, Assistant District Forester with ODF’s Central Oregon District.  “We want to see fuel reduction work done, and folks burning their winter yard debris, we just want to see it done safely and without risk to neighbor’s properties and homes.”
Below are some tips to reduce the risk of a fire getting out of control. 
·        Check with local fire department and county restrictions to be certain burning is allowed and what restrictions should be followed.
·        Check weather forecasts.  Avoid burning on windy days or when wind is forecast to be erratic or increasing.
·        Never leave a fire unattended.  Be certain the fire is completely out prior to leaving.
·        Have a water source and shovel available while burning.
·        Keep debris piles small.  Add material gradually as the pile burns down.
·        Contact 911 immediately if the fire gets out of control.
Landowners can be held financially responsible for the costs of putting the fire out and any damage caused by a fire if they are found to be negligent while burning.  The responsible party can also be cited for an uncontrolled fire.  Debris burning includes field/pastures and irrigation ditch burning intended to reduce thatch as well as other agricultural type burning.
For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit

Thursday, March 19, 2020


News Release from Oregon Dept. of Forestry
Posted on FlashAlert: March 19th, 2020 1:16 PM

Contact information for Central Oregon District offices can be found here.

SALEM, Ore. -- In an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon and protect employees and the public, the Oregon Department of Forestry will be changing the way it provides services at its main office in Salem and field offices statewide starting Monday, March 23. Offices will remain open and can be reached by phone during regular business hours, but in-person interactions between staff and the public will be by appointment only.

ODF is committed to providing important services to Oregonians while reducing the risk of exposure for customers and employees. Because many ODF offices are not configured in a manner to allow for social distancing, this approach will help mitigate that risk without substantively affecting service delivery. We appreciate the public’s patience as we strive to continue providing important services during this unprecedented disruption to daily life.

Some services, such as filing notifications through the Forest Activity Electronic Reporting and Notification System (FERNS), can be completed online by visiting and clicking “E-Notification.” For services that require interaction with an ODF office, staff will try to help by phone. If in-person discussion or assistance is necessary, please set up an appointment by calling your local office.  A map of local offices can be found at