The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for northwestern and western regions in Oregon, including the Willamette Valley and Benton County, for Friday and Saturday. The Fire Defense Board of Benton County has restricted all burning and suspended burning permits until further notice, Philomath Fire & Rescue reported.
The NWS issues a red flag warning when the potential for high fire danger and extreme fire behavior exists.
“Our area will be experiencing out-of-season higher temperatures, lower humidity and gusty winds — all of which go into this warning being given,” stated a press release issued through Philomath Fire & Rescue.
According to the NWS, northeast to east winds of 10 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph, are expected late Friday morning and will last through the day. Minimum humidity is projected to be around 15% to 25%.
Under the restrictions, backyard, agricultural and recreational fire — including campfire — permits are suspended while conditions persist. However, there is an exception for gas-fired BBQs or commercial burning apparatus used by restaurants where the fire is contained and no near combustible grasses.
“This is a very early start to what could be a difficult fire season this year,” the press release states. “Normally, we would be experiencing rains through April. We have only received .09 inches so far in April, but current forecasting calls for dry, warmer-than-normal temperatures.”
Philomath Fire & Rescue asks the public to please be extra careful this year with any outdoor burning and consult its website at www.philomathfire.com/burn-information for the latest burning information, or call their office at 541-360-0030.
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