It’s already dry, and the heat is on its way. Those two factors prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Western Lane and South Cascade districts to declare wildfire season starting Tuesday, June 16.
“Conditions are setting up for increased fire danger,” South Cascade District Forester Greg Wagenblast said. “We’re in a cool-down period right now, but the hot weather is forecast to return soon.”
A declaration of fire season imposes certain restrictions on recreational and work activities in the forest. Industrial operations are required to have firefighting equipment on site. Since restrictions may vary, it is advisable to check with the nearest ODF office for rules specific to the local area.
The Western Lane and South Cascade districts together encompass all of Lane County as well as eastern Linn County and portions of northern Douglas County.
Though backyard debris burning is still allowed through June 15, he advised extreme caution.
“Have a garden hose and shovel ready near your burn pile, and attend it at all times,” he said.
Escaped debris burns are a common cause of wildfires every year in Oregon. These damaging fires often occur when the homeowner leaves the burn unattended to pursue some other activity. All it takes is a spark from the pile to drop into nearby dry grass, add a little wind, and it’s game on.
The Keep Oregon Green Association offers practical wildfire prevention tips for around the home and in the forest at: keeporegongreen.com.