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.
For backyard burning that will take place within 3 miles of Philomath or 6 miles of Corvallis, you must first obtain a permit from the fire department before applying for a permit with the DEQ.
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.
Smoke complaints are handled by the Department of Environmental Quality. Their hotline is 1-888-997-7888. If you have a complaint about smoke, please call the DEQ hotline. It is left to individuals and their neighbors to work out any issues. People should seek out legal advice in the cases where a nuisance is created, or through their landlord in the case of community property. The Fire Department does not get involved in local legal matters or neighbor complaints. 9-1-1 should never be called unless there is an emergency: fire spread, people burned or injured – in other words, an imminent danger to life and property.
Backyard Burns may be subject to burn bans in extreme fire danger conditions. If you are going to have a backyard burn on your property, you must complete the Burn Permit Request below and follow the above listed tips for safe burning. If you have questions about this, please call us at 541.360.0029.