BEND, Ore. - The Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association announced Tuesday that outdoor burning season across Deschutes County will end on Sunday, June 2 -- or sooner, if the warming, drying weather calls for it.
Fire Chiefs from all Deschutes County municipal and rural fire departments have agreed that each jurisdiction will no longer allow outdoor burning of debris and agricultural burns as of midnight Sunday, June 2.
"In order to best serve our residents county-wide with fire and EMS protection, Central Oregon Fire Chiefs jointly select one closing date to partner with our communities and avoid escape debris and agricultural burns" says Doug Koellermeier, Bend deputy fire chief and chairman of the Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association.
"With the warmer weather, fuels are drying out, and the potential for escaped debris burns is greatly increased," Koellermeier said. "Many agencies have already responded to these types of incidents. A fire incident in one area may draw resources from multiple agencies across the county to extinguish."
All Deschutes County fire departments and rural fire districts will continue to monitor weather and fuel moisture conditions and may make modifications on a day-to-day basis. If conditions become dryer, individual agencies may choose to close sooner.
"There is always a chance that we may get rain on or following our closure date," added Koellermeier.
Weather patterns often provide wet conditions in some parts of the county, while others remain dry. These conditions change quickly, and depending on the weather can revert back to hazardous conditions again in a matter of hours.
Fire agencies will monitor fuels and fire conditions throughout the summer and anticipate the opening of burn season again in late fall.
COFCA reminds residents in Deschutes County to be aware of the increased risk of potential wildfire, especially when operating tools and equipment that can throw sparks and ignite nearby brush and grass.
"Keeping grass and weeds cut low and preparing your home for wildfire will also help prevent losses from fires this summer," Koellermeier added.
Residents are strongly encouraged to contact their local fire protection agencies for additional burning information and specifics regarding any regulations on the use of chain saws, warming fires, BBQs or ATVs.