SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Forestry said Tuesday the number of small wildfires has tripled this spring partly because of dry conditions across Oregon.
The agency said Tuesday they’ve already doused 70 fires, almost half of which resulted from escaped backyard debris burn piles, the Statesman Journal reported.
In a normal season, usually 24 fires occur by April 13. In response, the City of Salem issued a ban on all open burning within the city, including recreational fires.
The Dallas Fire Department was called to a grass fire Tuesday threatening homes in an area where a resident had been burning over a couple days, Dallas Fire Department officials said. With the high winds and dry conditions, the fire grew beyond the control of the property owner, officials said. No homes were burned and no one was injured, fire officials said.
With limited rain since March and dry conditions expected for the next week, fire danger is only expected to increase, officials said.
In many places, the spring window to burn may have already passed, Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields said.
“The window of opportunity to clean up around homes and dispose of woody debris in a safe manner is narrowing each year,” he said.