Fire season ends on ODF land

In this Aug. 24 file photo provided by inciweb.nwcg.gov, a plane drops fire retardant near the northwest side of Owyhee Canyon south of Vale.

As of Thursday morning, fire season has come to an end on the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northeast Oregon District.

The district includes roughly 2 million acres of private, state, county, municipal and tribal forestland in Umatilla, Union, Baker, and Wallowa counties, as well as small portions of Grant, Morrow and Malhuer counties.

ODF declared fire season June 28 in the district, which saw a total of 38 fires that burned 871 acres — well below the district’s 10-year average of 7,500 acres. Fourteen fires were started by lightning, which is the lowest number since 1960.

Cooler, wetter weather is now in the forecast, though Mitch Williams, wildland fire supervisor in La Grande, cautioned that conditions can change quickly. Williams urged landowners to remain vigilant, especially when burning slash piles.

“If we have periods of warming and drying later in the fall, it’s essential for landowners to go out and check slash piles for remaining heat that could cause a problem,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for us to be fighting escaped slash fires in late October and November.”

Slash burns must be registered with the local ODF office at least seven days prior to burning. Landowners should also check with their rural, city or tribal fire departments for further burning restrictions.

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