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Controlled campfires allowed, debris and burn barrels still prohibited amid fire season

SCAPPOOSE FIRE DISTRICT PHOTO - Firefighters in Scappoose repsond to a hay fire Tuesday, Aug. 28, that ignited on property off Honeyman Road. Throughout the month of August, fire districts imposed bans on all burning due to high fire danger.After weeks of burn bans, the Columbia County Fire Defense Board announced Wednesday that recreational camp fires are now allowed in all fire protection districts.

That means recreational fires are allowed within a landscaped area of a residence, but all fires must be in appropriate fire pits no bigger than three feet in diameter, with flames that don't exceed two feet. Fires must also be at least 25 feet from any combustible materials.

The ease in burning restrictions comes on the heels of weeks of burn bans as a thick haze of smoke polluted the air from several wildfires throughout Oregon and neighboring states.

Additionally, county fire fighting resources were diverted to California last month to aid with firefighting efforts in the deadly Mendocino Complex Fire.

Despite a countywide burn ban, Columbia River Fire and Rescue and Scappoose Fire District responded to more than a dozen calls to extinguish illegal burns in August, records show.

After cooler weather and a long-awaited improvement in air quality over the past week, county fire agencies decided to allow certain recreational fires.

Bonfires, debris burns and burn barrel fires are still off limits.

"The burn ban for debris burning remains in effect until significant rains return this coming fall to lessen the fire hazard," a press release from the fire defense board states. "Should summer weather conditions result in a more significant fire hazard, burning may once again be banned completely throughout the county."

For burn restrictions and information, residents should contact their fire district to inquire about burn permits.

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