2015 another severe fire season

A cool, wet winter and heavy snowpack delayed the start of fire season in much of western and northeastern Oregon. However, the onset of hotter, drier weather is quickly drying out forests and rangeland, making it easier for fires to start. More than half of ODF-protected lands are in districts that have declared the start of fire season this month. It's especially important as summer approaches to avoid or be extra careful with any potential source of fire in wooded areas. Fire season means the end of most outdoor activities that are high risk for starting a fire, such as debris burning, campfires outside of designated areas, and using tracer ammunition and exploding targets.







Friday, August 22, 2014

Cooler weather, high fire danger

With cooler weather forecasted, fire officials with the Douglas Forest Protective Association are reminding the public that the fire danger is still high throughout Douglas County.

 “The prolonged drought conditions throughout the area, along with the above normal temperatures for much of the summer have made our forests very dry” says DFPA Fire Prevention Specialist Kyle Reed.  “Even with the cooler weather that we are expecting, wildfires can easily start and spread quickly.”

Reed reminds that DFPA’s Regulated Use Closure remains in effect for the general public.  The Regulated Use Closure restricts or prohibits certain high fire risk activities on all private, county, state, and BLM land protected by DFPA.  Restrictions include:
  • Open fires, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires are prohibited except at designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed. 
  • Chain saw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. in areas subject to Industrial Fire Precaution Level I and II. Non-industrial chainsaw use is prohibited during IFPL III or IV. When chainsaws are being used, an 8-oz. fire extinguisher and shovel must be on site and a fire watch is required when the chainsaw use is done.
  • The use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads.
  • A shovel AND one gallon of water or one operational 2½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher is required in each vehicle when traveling in wildland areas.  All-terrain vehicles and motorcycles must be equipped with one operational 2½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher.
  • The use of fireworks, tracer ammunition, exploding targets, and sky lanterns are prohibited.
  • The cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited. 
  • The mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and 2) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Due to the fire danger, many large landowners in Douglas County have imposed additional fire restrictions or closures on their lands.  These restrictions and closures are in addition to DFPA’s Regulated Use Closure.  Reed suggests that residents check with the landowner for the location they plan to recreate on, before they head to the woods.


DFPA has suppressed 92 fires this year which have burned about 31 acres.  63 of those fires have been human caused.

 

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Kyle Reed

Fire Prevention Specialist

Douglas Forest Protective Association

Office: (541) 672-6507 ext. 136

Cell: (541) 580-2789

 

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The purpose of this blog is to provide breaking news about wildfire activity on the forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. We invite you to post questions or comments you have about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity. You are also welcome to contact us by email at: information@odf.state.or.us.

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, even in non-drought years Oregon's warm, dry summers create conditions that allow for fire to start and spread. In an average summer firefighters still see almost a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.



What we do

Protection jurisdiction

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects 16 million acres of private and public forestlands from wildfire. This includes all private forestlands in Oregon as well as state- and local government-owned forests, along with 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands in the western part of the state. There are about 30.4 million total acres of forest in Oregon.



Fire suppression policy

The department fights fire aggressively, seeking to put out most fires at 10 acres or smaller. This approach minimizes damage to the timber resource and fish and wildlife habitat, and protects lives and property. It also saves money. While suppressing large fires can cost millions of dollars, economic and environmental damage from wildfires can be many times greater.




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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers in Salem, Ore., maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.