Once burn season is declared to be open for the season, people who have been building piles of leftover branches, brush, grass, tree stumps, and other vegetation begin burning in what’s locally known as ‘backyard burning.’ Technically, these piles are called "yard" or "ranch debris". This includes wood, needles or leaf materials from trees, shrubs or plants. If can also be a result of storm damage over the winter.
Backyard burning is only permitted from end of fire season, generally October 1st, through December 15th and March 1st through June 15th, or the start of fire season, whichever happens first.
In addition, during these ‘burn days’, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issues the start and stop times that these burns can take place. Some days, burning cannot take place at all due to barometric inversions, high winds, low humidity, etc. The burn times are updated each day during burn season and can be checked from the Daily Burn Announcement at http://smkmgt.com/burn.php or through our burn advisory line at 541-929-5903. Call the Burn Line after 8:30 AM for the times burning is allowed for that day.
For backyard burning for the following types of material, you must first obtain a permit from the fire department and then apply for a letter permit with the DEQ:
- Industrial waste
- Commercial waste
For backyard burning for the following types of material that will take place within 3 miles of Philomath or 6 miles of Corvallis city limits (Special Control Area), you must first obtain a permit from the fire department and then apply for a letter permit with the DEQ:
- Construction waste (must be clean lumber or paper products only)
- Demolition waste (including land clearing, clean wood from tearing down buildings)
- Domestic waste - Includes household waste material such as paper, cardboard, and clean non-synthetic cloth.
NOTE: Per the DEQ, obtaining a letter permit for the above items is only under extremely rare circumstances. Generally, the DEQ will not issue a permit and you must haul away the material rather than burn it. The fines can be heavy; the fire department does not control DEQ permits. If a complaint is sent to the DEQ, they will investigate directly. For more information, see the DEQ website at https://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/openburning/regulations.asp.
For backyard burning outside of the Special Control Area, these items may be burned after obtaining a fire department permit: Commercial, Demolition, and Domestic waste as defined in the previous page.
For backyard burning for the following types of material you do not need a letter permit from the DEQ but must obtain a permit from the fire department:
- Yard Debris - Includes wood, needle or leaf materials from trees, shrubs or plants from the real property immediately adjacent to a dwelling of not more than four family living units.
Some tips for burning your debris includes:
- Cover the pile of debris during wet weather so that there is less smoke when attempting to burn - wet wood produces more smoke.
- Watch the way the smoke lays down – start off with a small pile to see if your smoke blows towards people’s houses. Keep in mind that low barometric pressure will keep the smoke lower to the ground potentially causing a nuisance or health hazard.
- Smaller piles are easier to manage, 3 ft diameter and 3 ft high is a good-sized pile to comfortably manage.
- Do NOT use accelerants (diesel fuel, gas/diesel mix, etc.). These produce toxic smoke which can be a hazard to your health or safety or the health or safety of others.
- Only ignite the number of piles that can be easily and effectively controlled. Space the piles out and watch for flying embers. Do not ignite burn piles in high wind or extreme heat conditions.
Backyard Burns may be subject to further restrictions in extreme fire danger conditions (including no burn days). If you are going to have a backyard burn on your property, you must complete a Burn Permit Request and follow the above listed tips for safe burning. If you have questions about this, please call us at 541-360-0029.