LA GRANDE — The Oregon Department of Forestry is terminating fire season on lands protected by the Northeast Oregon District, according to an agency press release.

At of 12:01 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 17, fire season will end on more than 2 million acres of private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry. The Northeast Oregon District includes lands in Union, Baker, Umatilla, Wallowa and small portions of Grant, Morrow and Malheur counties.

“The last few days have brought quite a bit of precipitation across the region. While the district is comfortable with removing the general fire season restrictions, it is important to remember that weather patterns could change and conditions could return to dry and windy, said Matt Howard, Wallowa unit forester. “This probably isn’t the right time to burn slash or large debris piles. Waiting for more moisture and a sustained fall weather pattern is key.”

The Northeast Oregon District has responded to a total of 66 fires burning on ODF protected lands in 2020. There have been 40 lightning fires for a total of 127.5 acres. Another 26 fires were human caused and burned a total of 126 acres.

With the termination of fire season, landowners can begin burning in burn barrels or yard debris piles. Terminating fire season does not relieve landowners or forest operators of lawful responsibilities concerning the safe burning of debris or slash piles.

“With the exposure to wildfire smoke for an extended period this summer, as well as the COVID-19 concerns, following smoke management forecasts is very important,” Howard said. “Landowners are encouraged to follow the forecast and burn in a manner that keeps smoke out of the Smoke Sensitive Receptor Areas, which in the Northeast Oregon District are Pendleton, La Grande, Baker City and Enterprise.”

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