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Burning ban starts June 16 in Linn, Benton and Marion counties
For immediate release
June 5, 2008
 
Contact: Kevin Crowell, 541-367-6108
Ted Erdmann, 541-929-9156
Craig Pettinger, 503-859-4331
 
A ban on all open and backyard burning will take effect on June 16 in Linn, Benton and Marion counties. The Oregon Department of Forestry and the fire defense boards of the three counties announced the ban, which aims to reduce the incidence of open debris burns escaping control.
 
The restrictions will extend through Oct. 15 or later, depending on fire danger. The one exception to the blanket burn ban is the Scio Rural Fire District.
 
While the wet weather is currently limiting wildfires, it could lead to heightened fire activity later as the lush grass growth matures.
 
"We’re already noticing that some of our south-slope grass hillsides are browning up," said Kevin Crowell of the department’s South Cascade District. "The seedheads have developed, and with the onset of warm weather it will not take long for curing to occur."
 
The open burning restrictions coincide with the current air-quality rules set forth by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Those rules already forbid open burning within three miles of cities over 1,000 in population and six miles from cities over 50,000 in population after June 15. These burn restrictions expand the geographical scope to include areas outside the three- and six-mile limit.
 
Kevin Kreitman, Linn County Fire Defense Board Chief, advised residents that across the three-counties, firefighters are spread thin.
 
"A lot of the areas are protected by volunteer departments with limited resources," he said, "so we ask people to exercise caution."
 
Benton County Fire Defense Board Chief Rick Smith encouraged residents to contact their local fire department for advice on burning as well as alternatives for disposal of yard waste.
 
"Most of our departments have non-emergency or burn advisory phone numbers you can call with questions about burning," he said. "Also, chipping woody waste for compost is good way to avoid burning."
 
Rural fire agencies and the Oregon Department of Forestry have the authority to enforce and regulate the burn ban. Under Oregon Revised Statute Chapter 477, the department may issue citations for violation of the burning restrictions.
 
For more information on the open burning restrictions as well as advice on safe debris disposal, contact the nearest Department of Forestry office or the local fire department.
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