Safe burning practices key to fire protection
■ May is Wildfire Awareness Month, which is a great time to trim trees, bushes, and tidy up plants around your home that could catch fire. This is what we call creating a “defensible space” around your home and property. As you begin your spring clean-up, The Oregon Department of Forestry and other fire prevention experts urge the public to exercise caution when disposing of yard debris or creating a campfire this season. “We expect this year to be another dry fire season, so the more we can reduce human-caused fires the better,” said Mike Shaw, Fire Protection Division Chief. “Fire prevention is something that all Oregonians should have at the forefront of their mind. Humans cause the majority of Oregon’s fires, but they can also prevent them.” Seventy percent of wildfires in Oregon are human-caused fires, with debris burning being the number one cause. By waiting to burn or taking extra steps to control a fire, Oregon can significantly reduce the risk of creating a large wildfire. Fire prevention specialists ask people to follow safe burning practices if they create a campfire or need to burn yard debris. The following tips can help stop run-away burn piles:
• Call before you burn – Burning regulations vary by location depending on the weather and fuel conditions. If you are planning to burn, check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry district, fire protective association, fire department, or air protection authority to learn about current burning restrictions or regulations, and if you need a permit.
• Know the weather – Burn early in the day and never burn on dry or windy days, because fires can spread out of control more easily.
• Clear a 10-foot fuel-free buffer around the pile – Make sure there are no tree branches or power lines above
• Keep burn piles small – Large burn piles can cast hot embers long distances. Keep piles small, maximum of four feet by four feet. Add debris to the pile in small amounts as the pile burns.
Always have water and fire tools nearby – When burning, have a charged water hose or a bucket of water, and shovel on hand to put out the fire. Drown the pile with water, stir the coals, and drown again, repeating until the fire is out cold.
• Stay with the fire until it is out cold – State laws requires monitoring of debris burn piles from start to finish until it is out cold. This law is intended to ensure sparks or embers that jump from the fire can be put out quickly.
• Recheck burn piles. They can retain heat for several weeks and restart when the weather warms up and winds blow.
• Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids to start or speed up your fire.
• Burn only yard debris – State laws prohibit burning materials or trash that create dense smoke or noxious odors.
• Costs of run-away debris burns– State law requires the proper clearing, building, attending and extinguishing of open fires all year. If your debris burn spreads out of control, you may have to pay for suppression costs, as well as the damage to your neighbors’ properties. This can be extremely expensive.
More tips on wildfire prevention, including more campfire safety, motorized equipment use, and fire-resistant landscaping can be found on the Keep Oregon Green website. Find public use restrictions for Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands before your burn.
LTD part of free Covid vaccinations efforts
■ Beginning June 8, Lane County Public Health (LCPH) will offer free COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots to community members who need them at Lane Transit District’s (LTD) Eugene Station on Wednesdays and Springfield Station on Thursdays throughout June from 5-7 p.m. Area residents are encouraged to take advantage of this health-first initiative made available to all by LCPH at no cost. Ride aboard an LTD bus from one of many bus stops, Park & Ride locations, and transit stations throughout the area to get a free COVID-19 vaccination or booster shot at LTD’s Eugene Station and Springfield Station. Vaccinations and Booster shots are available at the Eugene Station every Wednesday in June from 5-7 p.m. and at the Springfield Station every Thursday in June from 5-7 p.m. For information about LCPH and COVID-19 vaccine clinics, visit LaneCounty.org.
Refugee relief kits for World Refugee Day
■ In honor of World Refugee Day, the community will have an opportunity to bring help and hope to refugees around the world who are waiting to begin their lives anew, by making a personal relief kit for a refugee family. The event will take place on Thursday June 16, 4-6:30 p.m., in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, Eugene. The kits will include towels, toothbrushes, soap and other hygiene products and other essential items which are virtually impossible to come by in the difficult conditions under which so many refugees around the world are living. Those who can’t attend the event but would like to donate may send a check made out to the Eugene Mennonite Church, with “relief kits” in the memo line, to Eugene Mennonite Church, 3590 W. 18th, Eugene OR 97402. Receipts for tax-deductible donations will be provided on request. Visit our website, rrclc.org, and our Facebook page at facebook.com/rrclc.
Creswell Food Pantry needs volunteers
Thursday morning volunteers are needed at Creswell Food Pantry. Just three hours a week helps to provide food to nearly 400 families per month.
Teens and seniors are welcome. Most positions involve lifting up to 30 pounds.
Call or text Susan at 541-870-2252.