MALHEUR COUNTY — Extremely dry conditions this year caused fire officials to put a burn ban into effect on Saturday. The ban includes all lands in Malheur County, whether in city or rural fire districts, according to a Tuesday news release from Ontario Fire Chief Terry Leighton.

“There will be no open burning or burn barrels allowed, until further notice,” reads the release.

The only exception will be agricultural burning, which does not include ditch banks or trash piles. For ag burning, however, a permit must first be obtained from a local fire department and it must meet the following four guidelines.

1. Burn must be continuously attended;

2. Field burning shall stop if winds exceed 15 mph and/or the air temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit;

3. Field burn area shall have a fire line disked totally enclosing the burn area prior to ignition;

4. A water supply, such as a sprayer, shall be on sight until burning is completed.

Those with permits still need to contact the fire department before beginning any burns, so that fire crews can be aware of a controlled burn taking place.

Burns that go out of control can be costly, according to the release.

“Special Note: A person may be held liable for any costs of suppression and/or damages to other property caused from an out of control burn,” it reads.

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