Fire Prevention


We live in an area prone to wildfires

Forest fires are a consistent threat in the Mount Hood area and have become more likely as the fire season lengthens due to climate change. Any resident who has experienced the 2020 fires and the 2023 Camp Creek Fire knows the threat of fire danger, property and livestock loss, and the loss of life is always at hand. In the mountain neighborhoods, residents know fire prevention is something they can do to support our local Hoodland Fire Department by preparing their homes to be fire-safe.

In this section, we will post about how you can help to protect mountain livability by participating in fire prevention.  Today, we are talking about recreational fire pits.

Ownersʻ Responsibility to Create Defensible Space

First, homeowners should prepare the property and create a defensible space around their fire pit, home, structures, and neighboring homes. 

  • Clear pine needle debris and branches from gutters, roof, surrounding area, and exterior attic vents 
  • Clean or screen under decks so debris does not accumulate. Donʻt store anything under decks. 
  • Make sure house windows and screens are operable for escape. Have a fire escape plan and meet-up spot. 
  • To maintain a defensible space around your home, trim tree branches, remove plants that burn quickly, and locate woodpiles away from buildings. 
  • Have fire extinguishing equipment like a working water hose, shovel and fire extinguisher in the immediate vicinity.

Making Fire Pits Safer

You canʻt just dig a hole along the river or in the yard and call it a fire pit. All fire pits must comply with fire code standards. Every resident, STR owner, manager and STR guest with a fire pit must accept responsibility and educate themselves and others about proper usage.

Many people are unaware that weather conditions dictate seasonal and conditional burn bans. Some homeowners donʻt know where to locate a fire pit safely, how to build a safe fire pit, or what can be burned in it. They may have just bought the property with the fire pit and are unaware the location is a bad choice or the pit is not compliant with the fire code. STR guests may not have been informed of a burn ban as no signage was placed on them or in the rental home. Or guests choose to burn anyway. During a complete burn ban, an illegal burning fire pit is of grave concern to residents on the mountain. It is not fun-time to melt your marshmallows; nature is dried out and turning to fuel, just waiting for a spark to fly up out of your illegal fire. (Note to STR owners: print this page and leave it in your STR for guests.)

But we have all of you covered. Before you use the fire pit at your residence or as part of an STR, here are some fire prevention recommendations from the Clackamas County Fire Department concerning fire pits.

Fire Pit Regulations

  • Recreational fire pits are legal on your property for “occasional use,” but they must be 25 feet from structures and combustible material. 
  • All recreational “Open Burning” requires a hose connected to a water supply and a shovel or a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • A person who can operate fire extinguishing equipment must constantly attend to the fire. 
  • Burn dry, seasoned wood, no lumber. No other material is allowed to be burned in a fire pit.
  •  Do not use gasoline, lighter fluid, or other fuels to light the fire.
  • If your smoke generates complaints, you must extinguish the fire. Multiple complaints can result in a fine by the fire department. 
  • It is illegal to use fire pits during a burn ban. 
  • In the pit, stack firewood no wider than three feet in diameter and two feet tall. 
  • Burn pits must be 25 feet from structures and combustible material (check overhanging branches, too)—or 10 feet from structures if contained in an “approved” pit.
  •  Per the Clackamas Fire Department, an approved pit is four feet in diameter and one foot in height, with sides made of non-combustible metal, rock, fireplace block, etc.

If in Doubt – Call the Fire Department

If you see STR guests OR permanent residents burning during a burn ban, always Call 911 to reach *Hoodland Fire District #74 dispatch. Have the address handy.

If you have an immediate threat to life and, or property, call Emergency Dispatch– 911 

If you need Hoodland Fire Department Non-Emergency, call – 503-655-8211

Call Hoodland Fire Burn Line 503-622-3256 to find out if there are any burn bans. 

*The Clackamas County Department of Communications, C-COM  911, provides radio dispatch services to all mountain fire and sheriff departments.