High fire danger still a concern - KPTV - FOX 12

High fire danger still a concern

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Windy, dry conditions have firefighters on edge.  A red flag warning remained in effect through Thursday evening, as well as a burn ban across the region.

Portland Fire and Rescue has wildland trucks strategically positioned across the city, where fire danger is the greatest.  Those areas include Mt Tabor, Mt Scott, Rocky Butte and Forest Park, according to firefighters.

"Everything is dry right now," said Lt. Damon Simmons with Portland Fire and Rescue.  "There's low humidity.  Also, these plants have had the whole summer to dry out. They're just kindling, waiting to burn."

It's been a busy 24 hours for fire crews around the region.  A small grass fire broke out in Lake Oswego early Thursday morning.  Firefighters believe it was sparked by someone sleeping near the train tracks.

Meanwhile, another fire broke out late Wednesday night in southeast Portland, along Harney Street.  Witnesses called 911 immediately, so firefighters were able to get a handle on the flames before they spread to a nearby neighborhood.

With the extreme fire danger conditions and summer weather lasting longer than usual this year, firefighters say one wrong move could mean disaster.

"It's a matter of seconds," said Simmons. "You improperly discard a cigarette, and next thing you know there's a roaring brush fire."

A burn ban remains in effect which means no outdoor fires. The only fires allowed in Portland are charcoal and propane barbecues. 

According to Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, the burn ban includes the following situations:

1.     Recreational burning (e.g., small cooking fires, small backyard pits)

2.     Ceremonial type fires

3.     Backyard burning

4.     Agricultural burning

5.     Land clearing or slash burning (not associated with Oregon Department of Forestry jurisdiction)

The burn ban does not include the following situations:

1.     Outdoor cooking with charcoal briquettes or natural gas/propane in barbeque grills or similar appliances designed for such purpose.

Individuals found to be in violation of these requirements during the burn ban may be held liable for the cost of extinguishment and for any property damage resulting from an illegal fire.

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