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Spring backyard burning season starts Saturday

The 10-day period during spring in which residents of Gresham, Fairview and Wood Village can burn yard debris without a permit begins Saturday, April 20.

People with specialized burn permits, for example a permit for agricultural burning, have been allowed to burn since March 1, when the Department of Environmental Quality’s spring burn season began. That season ends June 15 and applies to Gresham, Fairview, Wood Village, Troutdale and Fire District 10.

But this Saturday is the first day of the 10-day spring backyard burn season when anyone east of 181st Avenue is allowed to burn yard debris.

Authorized burn days will be held each Saturday and Wednesday for 10 days if the DEQ allows burning for each particular day. Authorization is determined day-by-day based on a variety of factors such as wind conditions.

If the DEQ approves burning for all five of the next Saturdays and Wednesdays, that would put the last day of the season at Wednesday, May 22.

Another popular type of burning, called recreation burning — think campfires and fire pits — is allowed year round, unless unusually dry conditions result in a temporary summer burn ban, typically in August or September.

Before burning, call the Gresham burn line at 503-618-3083 to see if the Department of Environmental Quality is allowing burning and if so, during what hours. Questions about what policies apply to the city you live in also can be called in to the fire department at 503-618-2355.

Here’s what else you should know.

Yard debris

There are 10 burn days in the spring and 10 in the fall.

Burn piles must be no larger than 6 feet in diameter and 3 feet high.

Burn piles must be 25 feet from any combustible materials, such as a house or fence.

Burn piles must be attended at all times.

You must have a means to extinguish the fire if needed, such as a garden hose, fire extinguisher or shovel.

Burn piles must contain only yard debris from your yard; no other material is allowed to be burned.

Burn piles must be extinguished if wind gusts reach 15 mph.

Backyard burn piles are for residential locations only. No burning is allowed at commercial properties.

It is against the law to conduct any open burning that unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life or property, creates a public nuisance or is a hazard to public safety.

Fire pits

Fire pits are for recreational use only.

Fire pits can accommodate fires no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high.

Fire pits must be attended at all times.

You must have a means of extinguishing the fire if needed.

The fire must be 15 feet from flammable material (house, fence, etc.).

Burn only hardwood or fireplace logs — no garbage, yard or construction debris, tires.

Fires must be extinguished if wind gusts reach 15 mph.

If the fire causes excessive smoke and complaints are made by neighbors, the fire must be extinguished.

Barbecues at apartment

complexes

Local fire code prohibits the use of charcoal or propane barbecues on apartment balconies or porches, unless the area is protected by a fire sprinkler system or all adjacent surfaces are non-combustible.

An exception to this requirement is electric or hibachi-style barbecues that use 1-pound propane cylinders. These are allowed when kept well away from combustible building surfaces and are unplugged, or the cylinder removed, when not in use.

Check with your apartment manager to learn about rules specific to your building.

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