The Oregon Department of Forestry and other specialists in fire protection advise the general public to use caution this fall when getting rid of yard waste.
Many Oregonians have debris piles that have dried during the summer that are ready to be disposed of as the fire season comes to a close. Composting or recycling is a better removal method compared to burning. For recycling possibilities, ask the disposal provider in your area.
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Fire protection experts advise individuals to use safe burning techniques if burning is their only alternative for getting rid of yard waste right away. The following advice can be used to stop rogue fire piles:
- Call ahead before you burn because circumstances for fuel and weather can affect where you can burn. If you intend to burn, find out about the most recent burning limits or regulations, as well as if you need a permit, from your local Oregon Department of Forestry district, fire protective association, fire department, or air protection authority.
- Know the weather before you burn. Fires can easily go out of control on dry or windy days, so avoid burning during those conditions.
- The pile should have a 10-foot fuel-free zone surrounding it. To keep the fire confined to the pile’s edge, rake a ten-foot track down to the mineral soil. Verify that there are no tree limbs or electricity cables above.
- Keep burn piles at a manageable size because bigger ones can cast hot embers farther. Limit piles to no more than four feet by four feet each. As the pile burns, gradually add more debris to it.
- Always keep water and fire extinguishers close by. When burning, keep a shovel and a charged water hose handy to put out the fire. During the burning process, keep the area around the pile moist. When done, sprinkle water over the pile, mix the coals, and then repeat the process until the fire is completely extinguished.
- Stay with the fire until it is completely gone. According to state law, debris burn piles must be watched from the beginning to the end until it is completely extinguished. This law is designed to guarantee that embers or sparks that jump from the fire can be swiftly extinguished.
Revisit the burn piles.
- When the weather warms up and winds pick up, they can restart and hold onto heat for several weeks.
Never start a fire with gasoline or any other flammable or combustible liquid, or use it to fuel an existing one.
- Burn only yard waste; it is against the law to burn garbage that produces foul aromas or thick smoke.
Costs of burning errant debris All year long, open flames must be cleared, built, tended to, and put out according to state legislation. If your debris burn gets out of hand, you can be responsible for both the suppression costs and the property damage to your neighbors. This can cost a lot of money.
On the Keep Oregon Green website, you may get additional advice on wildfire avoidance, such as how to safely use campfires, use motorized equipment, and design your yard to withstand fire. Before you burn, look up the public use limitations for lands controlled by the Oregon Department of Forestry.
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