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Burning ban still in effect in Linn, Benton, Marion counties
For immediate release Local media distribution
September 28, 2009 Contacts: Ted Erdmann, Philomath, 541-929-9156
Chad Calderwood, Sweet Home, 541-367-6108
Craig Pettinger, Santiam, 503-859-4331
Even though the calendar says summer has passed, residents of Linn, Benton and Marion counties are reminded that the ban on backyard debris burning that began June 15 remains in effect till further notice.
"We have seen our lowest humidity levels of the summer this past week with extreme fire danger and behavior," Linn County Fire Defense Board Chief Mike Beaver said. "The fires in southern Oregon in the Medford and Ashland communities earlier this week are a true testament to just how volatile and dry our fuels remain."
The annual three-county burn ban was scheduled to end on Oct. 15 with the provision "until further notice" in the event that fire danger has not abated significantly by that date. State and local fire officials have opted for the extension, he said.
The fire chief noted that the small amount of rain the weekend before last had no enduring effect on wildfire risk.
Beaver’s neighbor to the west, Benton County Fire Defense Board Chief Rick Smith, said that a slight change in the weather over the next few weeks would probably not alter the situation, either.
"The weather patterns need to change to a winter weather model before open outdoor burning can be done safely," Smith said.
Firefighting resources also figured into the decision to extend the ban this year, Oregon Department of Forestry’s Ted Erdmann said.
"The personnel we hire to perform initial attack on wildfires during the summer are released in the fall," Erdmann said. "This reduces our firefighting capacity at this time of year."
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.