After an increase in outdoor fires and debris burning in recent weeks, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s Fire Marshal is advising residents of the district that a High-Fire Danger Burn Ban originally enacted on June 14, 2023, will remain in effect as fire risk remains elevated. The ban remains in effect throughout TVF&R’s jurisdiction, including areas served in Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, and Yamhill Counties.
The burn ban, which was enacted based on recommendations from the Washington County Fire Defense Board, is intended to prevent the start of outside fires that may grow out of control and become destructive. Recently, investigators within the Fire Marshal’s Office have reported an uptick in calls for unlawful debris burning. As a reminder, burning restrictions are authorized under Oregon Revised Statute 478.960 and Oregon Fire Code 307.
The burn ban prohibits all the following:
- Backyard or open burning (branches, yard debris, etc.).
- Agricultural burning (agricultural wastes, crops, field burning, etc.).
- Any other land clearing, slash, stump, waste, debris or controlled burning.
The burn ban does not prohibit:
- Small outdoor cooking, warming or recreational fires. These include portable or permanent fire pits, fire tables, and campfires, with a maximum fuel area of three feet in diameter and two feet in height in a safe location away from combustibles or vegetation and are fully extinguished after use.
- Barbeque grills, smokers and similar cooking appliances with clean, dry firewood, briquettes, wood chips, pellets, propane, natural gas, or similar fuels.
There may be more restrictive fire safety rules on and within a 1/8 mile of Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF)-protected land, which exists throughout much of rural Washington County. ODF restrictions may include prohibitions on campfires, smoking, target shooting, powered equipment, motorized vehicles, and other public/private landowner and industrial fire restrictions. More details about ODF fire restrictions are available at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/PFR.html.
Outdoor fires in violation of this burn ban may be immediately extinguished. If a fire agency responds to a fire that has been started in willful violation of this burn ban, the person responsible may be liable for all costs incurred, as well as legal fees per ORS 478.965.
Fire chiefs in Washington County encourage the public to use extreme caution with activities that could start a fire. It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent and be prepared for wildfires.