The Bend Fire Department (BFD) has recently responded to a variety of fires that remind us of our vulnerability to the threat of wildfire. Persistent hot and dry conditions have made all fuels more receptive to ignition, with no weather changes in sight.
Here are three common causes of fires:
Sparks from equipment igniting dry vegetation and materials – Two small grass fires and a home being razed were ignited by sparks from equipment. Both grass fires were caused by sparks from lawn mowers striking rocks, igniting the grass. The home fire was caused by sparks from metal cutting igniting wood chips. Spark-generating work should be completed by mid-morning, before the heat of the day dries out grasses and other combustibles. If you are operating equipment that may produce sparks, watch the area for at least an hour afterwards for ignitions, and have a hose or fire extinguisher handy to extinguish any ignitions. In many areas, the use of mowers, weed whackers and chainsaws are prohibited due to the dryness: check with your local fire agency for specific restrictions.
Debris burning – Outdoor debris burning is exceptionally hazardous under the current conditions. ALL backyard debris burning, commercial burning or agricultural burning is PROHIBITED within City limits of Bend and Deschutes County Rural Fire District #2, and will be strictly enforced. A violation for open burning is a Class B civil infraction citation, punishable by a fine amount of $400 in the city, and a Class A Infraction of $500 in the fire district. Warming fires, campfires, cooking fires and commercially manufactured burn pits are allowed in the Bend area when used within the guidelines set forth in the BFD Burning Regulations. Before lighting any such fires, please check with your local fire department or forest protection office to determine specific fire-related closures and regulations. In many areas these types of fires are banned. In Bend, you can call 541-322-6335 for information on what is allowed or not allowed each day. Written burning regulations are available at any Bend fire station or at www.bendoregon.gov/burninginfo
Juveniles misusing fire – Since summer is a peak season for juvenile setting fires, be sure to discuss fire safety with your kids, and ensure they do not have access to matches or lighters. Bend Fire Department has specially trained educators who work with children who misuse fire. Find out more at www.bendoregon.gov/fire, under fire and life safety information.
As a reminder to all Central Oregon residents, regulations may vary between fire protection jurisdictions. Please contact your local, state or federal fire agency for specific requirements and closures. Your cooperation during this extremely dangerous fire season is needed and we ask everyone to be very careful, especially now, as conditions are extremely dry.