Tuesday, October 30, 2018

ODF Seeking Volunteers for the Washington Co. Forest Classification Committee for Wildland Fire

ODF is preparing to begin a process to classify lands in Washington County for the purpose of wildland fire protection.  ODF provides fire protection for public and private lands classified as forestland within the protection district boundaries.  Forestland is defined in ORS 477.001 as "any woodland, brushland, timberland, grazing land or clearing that, during any time of the year contains enough forest growth, slashing or vegetation to constitute, in the judgment of the forester, a fire hazard, regardless of how the land is zoned or taxed."  The committee will operate from approximately 2/1/19 until 3/1/20.  It is a six member committee, comprised of three members of the public, one ODF staff, One appointee by the State Fire Marshal, and one from OSU Extension.

Lands classified as forestland are assessed fees for fire protection services.  Fees vary based on costs of fire protection and are currently about $1.25 per acre.  There is a minimum assessment of $18.75 per tax lot.  "Improved lots" with structures or other types of improvements have a surcharge of $47.50.  The General Fund of Oregon also contributes to fire protection costs in an equal match to the private landowner contributions

If you are interested in serving on this committee, contact the Forest Grove District of the Oregon Department of Forestry for more information.

Monday, October 8, 2018


Burning is now allowed in both Washington and Yamhill Counties.

Please review the burning tips in the post below before burning!  Thank you!

With the close of fire season our protection staff have changed their main focus from fighting fire to helping accomplish burning projects within the District.  Remember we stand ready to answer any questions or offer any guidance you may require.  Please feel free to call our office at 503.357.2191.

Sunday, September 30, 2018


Did you know that escaped debris burns are the leading human cause of wildfire in Oregon?  These burns particularly happen in the Fall and Spring when people think it is safe and permissible to burn.  In 2017, backyard debris burns that escaped control resulted in 149 wildfires burning 334 acres at a cost of $183,000 to suppress.

A burn pile is less likely to escape control if you follow these simple safety tips:

CALL BEFORE YOU BURN -  Burning regulations are not the same in all areas and can vary with weather and fuel conditions.  If you're planning to burn, check with your local ODF district (Forest Grove District 503-357-2191), fire protective association, local fire department or air protection authority to learn if there are any current burning restrictions in effect, and whether a permit is required. 

KNOW THE WEATHER FORECAST - Avoid burning on dry or windy days.  These conditions make it easy for an open burn to spread out of control.

CLEAR A 10-FOOT RADIUS AROUND YOUR PILE - also make sure there are no tree branches or power lines above.

KEEP YOUR BURN PILE SMALL - a large burn may cast hot embers long distances.  Small piles, 4 x 4 feet, are recommended.  Add debris in small amounts as existing material is consumed.

ALWAYS HAVE WATER AND FIRE TOOLS ON SITE --When burning, have a charged water hose, bucket of water, and shovel and dirt nearby to extinguish the fire.  Drown the pile with water, stir the coals and drown again, repeating till the fire is cold to the touch. 

STAY WITH THE FIRE UNTIL IT IS COMPLETELY OUT -- Monitoring a debris burn from start to finish until dead out is required by state law.  Go back and recheck old burn piles, as they can retain heat for several weeks and then rekindle when the weather warms and wind begins to blow.

NEVER USE GASOLINE OR OTHER ACCELERANTS --Never use flammable or combustible liquids to start or increase your open fire.  Every year, 10 to 15 percent of all burn injuries treated at the Oregon Burn Center in Portland are the result of backyard debris burning. 

BURN ONLY YARD DEBRIS -- State regulations prohibit the open burning of any material that creates dense smoke or noxious odors. 

ESCAPED DEBRIS BURNS ARE COSTLY -- State law requires the proper clearing, building, attending and extinguishing of open fires any time of year.  If your debris burn spreads out of control, you are responsible for the cost of fire suppression and very likely the damage to neighboring properties.  This can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.

If you are burning logging slash, work with your local ODF office to burn under the smoke management requirements.  We will work to find you the right conditions to achieve your burn goals efficiently. 

Friday, September 21, 2018


Cooler temperatures are bringing a higher call volume of requests to burn those debris piles around the house.   Here's a guideline of the current state of burning availability in Washington and Yamhill Counties as of Fri., Sept. 21:

BACKYARD BURNING IS STILL NOT ALLOWED!  If you have a pile of branches stacking up waiting to be burned, you'll have to wait another week and a half to be able to burn those.  Both Washington and Yamhill Counties don't plan to open up backyard burning until October 1st. 

AGRICULTURAL BURNING IS ALLOWED!  Some people get confused about the difference between backyard burning and agricultural burning.  Agricultural burning is limited to genuine agricultural waste.  Agricultural waste is material generated by an agricultural operation that uses land primarily for the purpose of obtaining a profit in money by raising, harvesting and selling crops or raising and selling animals (including poultry), or the products of animal husbandry. 

MATERIALS THAT CAN NOT BE BURNED - regardless of backyard burning or agricultural burning, the follow items are things are prohibited anytime or anywhere in Oregon:
  • Rubber and plastic products
  • Tires
  • Wet garbage
  • Petroleum and petroleum-treated materials
  • ashphalt or industrial waste
  • any material that creates dense smoke or noxious odors
DO YOU LIVE WITHIN THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY PROTECTION DISTRICT?   If you live within the protection district of the Oregon Department of Forestry, burning during fire season in only allowed by a burn permit.  To obtain a burn permit, call the Forest Grove Oregon Department of Forestry Dispatch Office at 503-359-7424 and ask for your burn pile to be inspected by a forest officer for safe burning precautions before a permit can be issued.

Don't risk a fine!  Always check with your local fire department or protection agency before burning. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018


The Oregon Department of Forestry announces that effective at 01:00am on Thursday, September 20, 2018, the Regulated Use Closure will be terminated in the Northwest Oregon Forest Protection Association, which includes the Forest Grove, Tillamook and Astoria Districts.

When Regulated Use is officially terminated, the public no longer has fire restrictions on smoking, campfires, chainsaws and motorized vehicle use.  However, everyone is encouraged to think about fire prevention all year round.  For example, do not discard burning materials, such as cigarettes, and always ensure campfires are cold before leaving.

FIRE SEASON REMAINS IN EFFECT!  For forest operators, they must have required fire equipment at the site of their operation and are reminded to inspect their fire equipment to ensure it is ready and can pass inspection.  Forest operators must also provide fire watch on each operation after equipment is shut down at the end of operations each day.  Operations can refer to the fire watch waiver in effect for IFPL fire watch requirements.  Fire season rules also prohibit smoking while in or traveling through any "operation area," and prohibits the use of fuse and caps for blasting on forest land.  Zones NW-1, NW-2, and NW-3 IFPL levels and changes may be obtained by calling your local ODF office or at our website:


For the general public, burning permits are required for open pile burning and burn barrels when allowed.  For residents that live within a city fire department district or rural fire protection district,  contact their local fire department for burning and burn permit requirements. 

It is also a good reminder that fire can be a hazard at any time of year if steps are not taken to use fire safely.  Whenever you use fire, whether for debris burning or enjoying a campfire, use these steps to prevent your fire from turning into the next wildfire. 
  • Never leave your fire unattended.
  • When burning debris, always have a hose and shovel at the fire to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • Check with your local fire protection agency prior to burning.  (Most rural fire protection districts require a burn permit year round).
  • If camping, ensure your campfire is in a designated area.
  • Always make sure your campfire is out cold before leaving.
  • On the beach, keep your campfire far from beach grass and drift wood piles.