ODF, Jackson County Fire District #1, Fire District 3 and Evans Valley Fire District No 6 are on scene of a half-acre fire on the 1300-block of Sardine Creek road, just northwest of Gold Hill. At this time, there is currently no active fire, and resources are finishing up mop-up operations.
The fire was first reported around 4:15 this afternoon by the landowner. It was caused by a debris burn pile that escaped and started to move uphill following a wind direction change. The landowner had a water source at the ready and tried to stop the fire, however, due to the dryness of the vegetation, the wind and topography, it spread beyond control. The landowner called 911 to report it, and then used their excavator to begin lining the fire. When firefighters arrived, they were able to build on that work and quickly stop the forward spread of the fire.
This is a great example of how to handle an escaped debris burn; the landowner had a water source at the ready, did what they could, and reported it by calling 911 right away. With the current lack of substantial rain, fuels are dry and ready to burn. Fire officials say if you have debris burning to do, consider the following:
-Only burn on a burn day. Call your county’s burn line to ensure you’re not breaking the law and starting an illegal burn pile.
-Check the weather. If it’s warm, sunny and windy, consider putting off your debris burn until the next cloudy or rainy day- even if it’s a scheduled burn day.
-Make sure you have any needed permits from your local fire department or district, and know the regulations associated with it.
-Clear the area directly around your pile and make sure there isn’t any dry vegetation nearby that could cause it to spread.
-Keep a water source nearby, such as a charged hose.
-Never leave your burn pile unattended.
-When you’re finished, extinguish your burn pile with water and dirt until you can’t feel any heat in the area. Check for heat with the back of your hand.
-Monitor your prior debris burns. Extinguished piles can reignite months later in warm, windy conditions weeks after your burn.
Authorities say one thinks their debris burn will be the one that starts a fire. Be aware of the current conditions and monitor your piles – it could mean one less wildfire in the valley this spring.
Courtesy of ODF