With most of the state having gone five to six weeks without significant rain, many ODF districts have increased the fire danger level to high. When fire danger is high, outdoor activities that are high risk for starting a fire are typically banned in or near forestland, such as debris burning, campfires outside of designated areas, and using tracer ammunition and exploding targets.














Friday, July 31, 2015

Fire danger prompts Western Lane, So. Cascade districts to tighten restrictions

July 31, 2015

Contacts:

Greg Wagenblast, South Cascade District

Phil Hunter, Western Lane District
(541) 935-2283 x225, phil.m.hunter@oregon.gov

High temperatures and low humidity have set the stage for any new wildfires to burn hot and spread fast. In response, the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s South Cascade and Western Lane districts today further tightened fire safety restrictions in the forest. The changes include:

§  Campfires are now banned completely in the two districts. Previously they were allowed in designated campgrounds but no longer. Campstove that use bottled fuels are allowed.

§  Mowing of dry, cured grasses is prohibited at any time.

§  Some other fire safety rules already in place include: bans on smoking except in a closed vehicle or building, grinding and welding of metal, driving/riding motorized vehicles off of established roads.

Firefighting personnel and equipment have become scarce due to the Cable Crossing and Stouts fires in Douglas County, and local fire managers are concerned that any new fires in South Cascade or Western Lane would stretch resources thin.

“Given the rapid growth of those fires south of us and the resulting drawdown of resources, we decided to increase restrictions here,” said Phil Hunter, protection unit forester with the Western Lane District.

South Cascade District Forester Greg Wagenblast concurred, noting that all industrial activity in the forest has been shut down due to the extreme fire danger.

“These stepped-up rules for recreational activity aim for the same result: Reduce the chance of human-caused fire starts,” he said.

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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.



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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.