Old burn pile reignites, spreads to nearby grass

MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. - A fire rekindled in an old burn pile Saturday, spreading to adjacent grass and slash piles.

The Douglas Forest Protective Association held the fire to a quarter of an acre on Boomer Hill, about 5 miles west of Myrtle Creek.

Crews arrived on scene shortly before 1 p.m. and remained there until 3:30 p.m.

"Burn piles can hold heat for long periods of time before rekindling weeks or even months after the fire was originally burned," said Kyle Reed, DFPA Fire Prevention Specialist. "We are asking everyone who has burned debris piles this winter or spring to go back and check them for any heat or smoke. If any heat or smoke is detected in old burn piles, add water to the ashes and stir them with a shovel. Continue this process until no heat or smoke is detected anymore."

The outlook for June is for higher than normal fire danger for southern Oregon and the Cascades, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

"When you have those conditions with the state that our fuels are in and our drought, there's a high possibility for an above normal fire season to take place in 2014," Reed said.

That means fire season - and the associated restrictions - are here.

"We're starting to pick up some smaller fires here and there along with the fire departments throughout the county, so we're basically at that point where we have to say fire season is here: no more debris burning," Reed said. "No more backyard debris burning without permits. Burn permits will be available either through DFPA or your local fire department depending on what fire district you're in."

Permits are free through Douglas Forest protective, but do require an on-site inspection.