Oroville Mayor declares burning ban

OROVILLE – Due to tinder-dry conditions Oroville’s Fire Chief requested and received a declaration of a city-wide burning ban from Mayor Chuck Spieth.

“The current conditions make having fires get out of hand a real possibility… I’d like to follow the county’s lead and request you declare a burning ban,” said Fire Chief Rod Noel at the Tuesday, July 15 council meeting.

“You’re the fire chief, I’d think you would just have to declare it,” said the mayor.

Noel explained that it was up to the mayor to make the declaration and that the chief could only make the recommendation.

On hearing this the mayor agreed that conditions warranted the declaration and all outdoor fires, with the exception of certain recreational fires such as those at campgrounds, will be prohibited until the ban is lifted.

The county enacted their fire ban for those areas outside the incorporated cities, on July 8. In the commissioners resolution it stated the county is “experiencing weather conditions that are contributing to unusual fire conditions and the potential for large and catastrophic fires exists that may be a threat to life and property.”

That resolution declares a ban on outdoor burning of combustible materials in the county. Combustible materials may include, but are not limited to agricultural burning and outdoor burning of yard waste. The use of gas or charcoal fired barbeques is still allowed under the bans

Noel told the council that other types of recreational fires in approved fire pits were still allowed in places like the state park, but other recreational burning may only be done within the city when a permit is issued.

Allene Halliday appeared before the council requesting the city’s support for a request that the county appoint Wendy Steever of Howling Ridge Animal Rescue as the county’s Animal Control Officer.

“Wendy Steever has been handling the county’s strays and rescue animals for several years now. I’d like to see her appointed as Animal Control officer for the county,” said Halliday, who informed the council that once the county reached a population of 40,000 or more such an officer would be a state requirement.

Halliday, who said Okanogan County’s population was fast approaching that number, told the council she had been to the Howling Ridge facility and was “very impressed.”

“Everyone I’ve spoken with has been greatly pleased. I’ve talked with the sheriff, Tonasket and Oroville Police Departments and Commissioner Peterson who suggested a grass roots movement requesting Steever for the position,” she said.

“I think this is a great proposal,” said Councilman Walt Hart III.

“I do too,” added Councilwoman Neysa Roley.

The council voted to give the city’s support to the county appointing Steever as their Animal Control Officer.