Thursday, June 2, 2016

News Release: Fire Managers Encourage Checking Slash Piles

Warm and dry  weather  is  on its way  to Northeast  Oregon.   Fire  conditions  are  moderate  at this time, however this weekend’s forecast is calling  for a  Red  Flag  warning  for  windy  conditions with low relative humidity  in the Columbia Basin.  A Red  Flag  warning  is issued when weather conditions are  ideal for wildland fire  combustion and rapid rates of spread.

Landowners that burned  slash piles over the  winter and spring  are  encouraged to check those  piles  for heat  and smoke.  Slash burning  is a  common way  to dispose of  residue left  from forest management operations.  Slash piles can burn deep in the  soil and return to life  when  weather  conditions are  favorable for ignition.  As warm and dry conditions persist, this issue can be a cause of concern for fire managers.  

“The  weather  conditions that are  headed our way  are  exactly  the kind of  conditions where  smoke  and heat will present itself from old slash burns.”   Matt  Howard, Unit  Forester,  Wallowa.   “If  you burned slash this winter or  spring, it’s a  good idea  to check  your piles and make  sure  you aren’t  going  to have  a problem as the weather turns to the summer pattern.”

Fire  managers  are  also encouraging  landowners to  use  caution while conducting  spring  cleaning activities around  their  property.   Each  year, several fires throughout the  state are  started by  wellintentioned landowners.   Improper use  of power driven equipment ranks number  2 as the cause  of wildfires on ODF  protected lands.  Check the  current fire  restrictions  with your local Oregon Department of Forestry office to learn if there are any current restrictions or regulations.  is  your  spot  for  current  fire  information in the Blue Mountains.  

To report a fire, call Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch at (541)963-7171 or dial 9-1-1.  

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