Lebanon Fire District issues fire warnings

Early Thursday morning, Governor Kate Brown declared a statewide fire emergency, including a ban on campfires and open flames within state park properties until further notice. Within the Lebanon area this ban would apply to Cascadia State Park and the Thompson’s Mill State Heritage Site.

Fire officials from LFD say that it’s important for the community to recognize that different parks and recreational areas will have different restrictions in place at any given time, and the best course of action is to contact the responsible agency for the area you are traveling to with questions about specific restrictions.

“We have so many different agencies within our fire district that it can become confusing as to what the rules are and who sets those rules.” says Lebanon Fire District Division Chief Jason Bolen. “The Oregon Department of Forestry, Linn County Parks Department, the US Forest Service, the Department of Ag, the DEQ and BLM; all of these jurisdictions exist within the boundaries of the Lebanon Fire District and at times each agency will have different restrictions in place.”

The Lebanon Fire District encompasses 134 square miles of territory and is bordered by a number of neighboring fire agencies. Following this morning’s announcement from Governor Brown, Lebanon fire officials reached out to other local agencies to verify their restriction levels. The restrictions listed below are current as of 11:00 am on 7/19/18 and are in effect until lifted by the issuing agency. Contact the agency listed for more details or for information on when restrictions will be lifted.

Oregon State Campgrounds – No campfires or open flames until further notice. Contact: www.oregonstateparks.org

Lebanon Fire District – No backyard burning. Recreational fires burning only seasoned firewood are allowed in a designated fire pit with a water source at hand. Recreational fire pits shall not be closer than 25 feet to a structure. Portable outdoor fireplaces shall not be closer than 15 feet to a structure. There are NO mowing restrictions to residential lawns currently in place. Extreme caution should be taken when mowing brown or dead grass as it poses a significant fire hazard. Contact: Lebanon Fire District, 541-451-1901.

City of Lebanon – No campfires or open flames in city parks, including Gills Landing Campground. Contact: Maintenance Operations Department, 541-258-4918.

Linn County Parks & Campgrounds – Campfires allowed in permanent campfire rings only. Contact: Linn County Parks Department, 541-967-3917.

Oregon Department of Forestry – Campfires allowed in ODF protected land ONLY in an approved site and following an inspection by an ODF staff member; Contact ODF at 541-367-6108 to schedule an inspection. Industrial Fire Protection Level information can be found at www.oregon.gov/ODF Contact: ODF South Cascade District Office, 541-367-6108.

The potential for a devastating fire within the Lebanon Fire District increases with every day, as high temperatures reduce fuel moisture levels and increase the ignition potential. This fire season has already shown itself to be a potential record setter for fire damage, and with Linn County crews currently fighting the Substation Fire near The Dalles, department staffing and resources are already being stretched thin. “Our hope is that the public stays aware of the local fire danger and uses good judgement when working with fire.” Bolen said. “We’ll try to share as much information as possible so that our community stays well informed and up to date on local fire conditions throughout the summer.” Should a large-scale fire event occur in Lebanon, similar to last year’s Mt. Hope fire, Bolen says Lebanon firefighters are prepared to handle it. “We begin preparing for fire season months in advance, so our crews and equipment are ready to go at a moment’s notice. We also have mutual aid agreements in place with our neighboring municipal departments and the support of ODF and the state, if needed.”

For more information on fire season conditions contact any of the agencies listed above or the Lebanon Fire District at 541-451-1901.