Sunny and dry, but ‘fuels ready to burn’

Dry conditions in Sherwood, Oregon, July 19, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Dry conditions in Sherwood, Oregon, July 19, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

SHERWOOD, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been 23 days and counting since there’s been any measurable rain in the Portland area, and Friday Washington County officials enacted a burn ban.

A handful of brush fires have already blackened the earth and threatened homes this month, including a fire in Sherwood that charred about 60 acres.

Firefighters are concerned the dry conditions will cause the fires to get much worse.

TVF&R Battalion Chief Dan Griffin, July 19, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

TVF&R Battalion Chief Dan Griffin, July 19, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

“The fuels are very ready to burn,” TVF&R Battalion Chief Dan Griffin told KOIN 6 News. “There’s definitely enough fuel there to get a significant fire burning.”

The green grasses turned brown in many spots, and the burn ban enacted Friday prohibits most outdoor burning.

“Essentially the only type of burning you can do is in your back yard as a recreational very small fire used for cooking,” Griffin said.

This is probably going to be a big year for wildfires, he said.

He added there are small things you can do to give your home a better chance of surviving a fire:

  • create 30 feet of defensible space between your house and fire fuels
  • water your lawn regularly and keep it green through the summer months
  • keep trees trimmed 10 feet from the ground up to the limbs to keep a fire from jumping to higher branches
  • clean your roof and gutter of dried leaves and needles

On Friday, the forest service announced restricition will be imposed on firewood cutting on the east side of Mount Hood national forest because of the increasing fire danger. It limits the hours people are permitted to cut down trees.

The forest service is also reminding campers to be extremely careful with campfires.

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