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Willamette Valley Field Burning

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Emergency Burning Requirements


In 2009 the Oregon Legislature adopted Senate Bill 528, which allowed up to 2,000 acres a year for "emergency" field burning on grass fields affected by serious disease or insect problems. In 2010 DEQ adopted rules to implement this new provision. Grass seed growers in the Willamette Valley interested in conducting emergency burning must apply to DEQ for approval. As described below, a request (or burn petition) can be submitted either in the spring before seed harvest, or later in the summer after harvest. There is an allocation process where half the acreage is made available for the spring registration, and the other half later in the summer. This is to ensure a more equal distribution of acreage under the 2,000 acre limit.

The application process involves three steps:

  1. Complete a standard field burning registration form (available by calling ODA) and required fee and submit to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Smoke Management Program;
  2. Provide DEQ with documentation on the extent and severity of the disease outbreak or insect infestation; and
  3. Submit to DEQ a field specific burn plan that identifies field location, neighboring homes, and other considerations and constraints when burning the field.

After receiving a burn petition, DEQ may request additional information related to Steps 2 and 3. To approve any emergency burning petitions, DEQ must determine that an extreme hardship exists, and that burning can be conducted safely, providing the maximum protection to public health. Approved burning must wait for the appropriate day to conduct the burning, and receive specific burn authorization from ODA Smoke Management Program. ODA will assist in preparing the field specific burn plan, as noted above in Step 3. All emergency burning must comply with all applicable ODA and DEQ field burning rule requirements.

How to apply for Emergency Burning

See Emergency Burning under DEQ rule OAR 340-266-0065. The first step in applying for emergency burning is to register the field (or fields) with the ODA Smoke Management Program. This is the same procedure as for regular field burning in the Willamette Valley. Next, submit a copy of the registration form and an emergency burning petition (Steps 2 and 3 above) to DEQ at:

DEQ Air Quality
811 SW 6th Ave
Portland OR 97204
attention: Emergency Burning

DEQ recognizes some emergency burning requests, especially those submitted during the summer registration period, may need expedited review to have adequate opportunity for burning. Please inform DEQ and ODA if expedited review is needed. For more information and assistance on emergency field burning, call DEQ at 503-229-6278. Specific questions on preparing field specific burn plans or the actual burning of a petition approved by DEQ should be directed to ODA at 503-986-4701 or by e-mail .

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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
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