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Escaped Debris Burns Keep Fire Crews Busy

An escaped debris burn scorched a half-acre of brush east of Sutherlin, Friday afternoon. Crews from the Douglas Forest Protective Association, Sutherlin Fire Department, Oakland Rural Fire Department, and Fair Oaks Rural Fire Department responded to the fire around 2:15 PM that was located near Plat I Reservoir. Crews quickly contained the blaze and remained on scene of the Plat I Fire for about two hours, mopping up hot spots and securing control lines.

The Plat I Fire comes a day after firefighters suppressed a natural cover fire located 9 miles southwest of Winston, near Byron Creek Road. Crews from DFPA, Tenmile Rural Fire Department, and Winston – Dillard Fire Department responded to the Byron Creek Fire Thursday morning around 8:00 AM. Upon arrival, firefighters reported that the fire was an acre in size and located in an area that was inaccessible by fire apparatus. Crews hiked into the fire and used hand tools to stop the spread of the fire. The Byron Creek Fire burned one and a half acres of grass and brush and firefighters remained on scene until 3:00 PM, mopping up and securing the fire. A fire investigation determined that the Byron Creek Fire was caused by a debris pile that was left smoldering from the night before.

Fire officials remind that debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires this time of year and provide the following tips that should be considered before conducting a burn.

  • Check with your local fire department to see if debris burning is allowed in your area as fire restrictions may vary from one fire district or town to another.

  • Consider alternatives to burning yard debris, such as chipping, composting, or taking the material to the landfill.

  • Do not burn prohibited materials. Prohibited materials include rubber and plastic products, tires, garbage, petroleum products, asphalt or industrial waste, and any material that creates dense smoke or noxious odors.

  • Divide large debris piles into smaller piles. Smaller piles burn quicker and are easier to control.

  • Debris piles should be surrounded by a fire trail that is scraped to mineral soil before ignition begins.

  • Have a shovel and charged garden hose at the burn site.

  • Avoid burning during windy conditions.

  • Stay with the fire while it is burning and ensure that the pile is fully extinguished before leaving the area.

  • Call 911 immediately if your debris burn escapes containment.

Residents are also reminded that those who choose to burn yard debris are liable for fire suppression cost and damages to neighboring properties if their burn escapes containment. These costs can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars, to potentially, millions of dollars.

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