Union County Board of Commissioners voted in an emergency session today to implement the County Wide Burn Ban/Regulated Use restrictions at the recommendation of the Union County Fire Defense Board. As specified in County Ordinance 2016-01, the commissioners may ban all fires outside incorporated cities within Union County. No fires of any kind are allowed except regulated agricultural field burning and gas barbeques.
Fire Defense Board Chief Larry Wooldridge stated that the region is in a prolonged period of hot and dry conditions that have brought burning conditions to an extreme level in the county. Weather forecasts are indicating the possibility of lightning storms later this week increasing the potential for large fires in the area. Recent warm dry weather has cured lower elevation fine fuels and larger fuels. Chief Wooldridge indicated that the Fire Defense Board will continue to monitor the conditions.
In addition to Union County fire restrictions, forest officials will implement Phase C public use restrictions at 12:01 AM on Friday, August 11, 2017 on the Umatilla and Wallowa Whitman National Forests and all Oregon Department of Forestry lands due to high fire danger, the potential for human caused fires, and concern for public safety. The increased restrictions pertain to the use of campfires, smoking, chainsaws, internal combustion engines, all-terrain vehicles and generators. Additional information regarding forest restrictions and fire danger in Northeast Oregon can be found at the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center website.
The Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry are currently engaged on fires in the region including Indian Lake, Clarks Creek, Bear Butte and the Tupper Corral. Concern over forecasted hot and dry weather, availability of dry fuels and a concern for a potential lack of available firefighting resources necessitated the implementation of the Burn Ban/Regulated Use of the Burn Ordinance which will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 11, 2017.
The ordinance may be read in its entirety on the Union County website.