Spring open burn window opens in Klamath County

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. — The annual air quality zone spring open burn window started Saturday morning in Klamath County.

Residents within the air quality zone are allowed to burn yard waste with the window shutting Sunday, April 25.

Governor Kate Brown declared a drought emergency in Klamath County on March 31 with recent lack of rain in the area.

Residents are urged to use caution when burning, but it’s not only a fire danger posing a threat, people’s lungs and overall health are at risk.

“Our lungs are sensitive mechanisms and when we expose them to smoke, whether it’s cigarette smoke or yard debris smoke, that can cause some inflammation within our lungs,” Klamath County Public Health Public Information Officer, Valeree Lane, said. 

Lane said drinking water can do a lot to help people’s lungs.

The open burn window may be canceled at any time due to air quality or fire hazard conditions.

People should check with their local fire district to see if they’re allowed to burn that day.

Public health officials have set the following guidelines for the open burning window:

1.       The air quality advisory must be green. The daily advisory is available at 541-882-burn (2876).

2.       Only residential yard waste, such as tree limbs, brush, and leaves may be burned.

3.       All burning must occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

4.       No trash, plastic, rubber, tar, petroleum products, treated or painted wood may be burned.

5.       The use of burn barrels is prohibited.

6.       The burning of commercial, construction, demolition or industrial waste is not included in this burn window. Burning for these purposes requires a special permit from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality; contact the DEQ office in Bend at 541-633-2016.

7.       Agricultural burning inside the air quality zone is prohibited without a certificate of variance issued by Klamath County Public Health.

Fire district guidelines for public safety are:

1.       The wind must be between four and 10 mph. For wind speed call 541-883-8127.

2.       There must be a pressurized water hose at the fire site at all times.

3.       A responsible adult must be present at the fire from the first flame until the fire is extinguished.

4.       The burn pile shall be no larger than six feet in diameter and four feet high.

5.       There must be a six-foot clear area surrounding the base of the pile and the pile must be at least 20 feet from combustible fences and buildings.

6.       The person conducting any burning is responsible for damage and the cost of an out of control burn as well as traffic problems and other hazards caused by the smoke.

Other options instead of burn piles for the community, include creating a compost pile or taking the material to the dump instead of burning.

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Aaron Nilsson
NBC5 News reporter/weather forecaster Aaron Nilsson is a Southern California native, but most recently lived in Seattle. He's also lived in Sweden and Utah. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Scandinavian Studies. While at BYU, he covered sports for BYUtv. Aaron is not new to the Medford/Klamath Falls market. He was a local TV journalist from 2013-2017. Outside the station, Aaron enjoys music, traveling, sports, movies, and cooking. His favorite sport is soccer.