Rural Fire Protection Districts

ORS 478.960
Burning of certain materials permitted only with permission of fire chief

  • damage or injury
  • burning schedules and restrictions


No one, within the boundaries of a district, shall cause or permit to be initiated or maintained on one’s own property, or cause to be initiated or maintained on the property of another, any open burning of commercial waste, demolition material, domestic waste, industrial waste, land clearing debris or field burning without first securing permission from the fire chief of the district and complying with the direction of the fire chief. A deputy of a fire chief has the power to perform any act or duty of the fire chief under this section.


The fire chief shall prescribe conditions upon which permission is granted and which are necessary to be observed in setting the fire and preventing it from spreading and endangering life or property or endangering the air resources of this state. The Environmental Quality Commission shall notify the State Fire Marshal of the type of and time for burning to be allowed on each day under schedules adopted pursuant to ORS 468A.570 (Classification of atmospheric conditions) and ORS 468A.595 (Commission rules to regulate burning pursuant to ORS 468A). The State Fire Marshal shall cause all fire chiefs and their deputies in the affected area to be notified of the type and time for burning to be allowed on each day with updating messages each day as required. A fire chief or deputy shall grant permission only in accordance with the schedule of the Environmental Quality Commission but may reduce hours to be allowed for burning if necessary to prevent danger to life or property from fire. The State Fire Marshal may refuse, revoke or postpone permission when necessary in the judgment of the State Fire Marshal to prevent danger to life or property from fire, notwithstanding any determination by the fire chief.


Nothing in this section relieves a person starting a fire from responsibility for providing adequate protection to prevent injury or damage to the person or property of another. If such burning results in the escape of fire and injury or damage to the person or property of another, such escape and damage or injury constitutes prima facie evidence that the burning was not safe.


Within a district, no person shall, during the fire season declared under ORS 477.505 (State Forester may declare fire season in district), operate any equipment in forest harvesting or agricultural operations powered by an internal combustion engine on or within one-eighth of one mile of forestland unless each piece of equipment is provided with a fire extinguisher of sufficient size and capacity and with such other tools and fire-fighting equipment as may be reasonably required by the fire chief of the district. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to machinery regulated by ORS chapter 477.


No person shall dispose of any building or building wreckage within a district by fire without having first secured permission therefor from the fire chief. No person shall refuse to comply with any reasonable requirements of the fire chief as to the safeguarding of such fire from spreading.


This section is not intended to limit the authority of a district to adopt a fire prevention code as provided in ORS 478.910 (Adoption of fire prevention code) to 478.940 (Filing and posting of fire prevention code) or to issue permits when the burning is done by mechanical burners fired by liquefied petroleum gas.


The fire chief shall maintain records of all permits and the conditions thereof, if any, that are issued for field burning under this section and shall submit at such times, as the Environmental Quality Commission shall require such records or summaries thereof to the commission. The Environmental Quality Commission shall provide forms for the reports required under this subsection.


Notwithstanding any other provision of this section:


A permit is required for field burning authorized pursuant to ORS 468A.550 (Definitions for ORS 468A) to 468A.620 (Experimental field sanitization) and 468A.992 (Civil penalties for open field burning violations).


For a permit for the propane flaming of mint stubble, the fire chief may only prescribe conditions necessary to prevent the spread of fire or to prevent endangering life or property and may refuse, revoke or postpone permission to conduct the propane flaming only when necessary to prevent danger to life or property from fire. [1955 c.469 §§1,2; 1959 c.363 §16; 1967 c.420 §1; 1967 c.438 §1; 1969 c.613 §3; 1969 c.667 §57; 1971 c.563 §9; 1973 c.832 §7b; 1975 c.635 §4; 1979 c.321 §1; 1989 c.615 §2; 1991 c.920 §22; 1997 c.274 §40; 1997 c.473 §6; 2009 c.790 §2]

Attorney General Opinions

Regulatory power of Department of Environmental Quality, (1972) Vol 35, p 1100

Law Review Citations

5 EL 339-353 (1975); 19 WLR 781 (1983)


Last accessed
Mar. 11, 2023