[Klamath Falls]—Fire officials in Klamath and Lake Counties will officially declare fire season beginning Friday, June 3, 2016, at 12:01 a.m. on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry's Klamath-Lake District. Areas protected by the Walker Range Forest Protective Association, northern Klamath County, have been in a declared fire season since Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. This affects all private, county, state forestlands, and those Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands under contract and agreement west of the Gerber Reservoir area and HWY 97.
“Despite fairly cool and spring like weather for a good portion of May, these current hot and dry conditions look to continue thru the first weeks of June, so it’s time to prohibit all outdoor burning and put normal industrial restrictions in place.” Stated Randall Baley, Protection Unit Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry.
The “Fire Season in effect” declaration puts into place regulations restricting debris burning and forest operations. Wildland and structural fire protection agencies in Klamath County have agreed to prohibit all outdoor debris burning as do the agencies in Lake County unless a permit is first obtained. Forest operations that require a Permit to Operate Power Driven Machinery now are required to have Fire tools, on-site water supply, and watchman service on privately owned forest land.
In addition to the “Declaration of Fire Season,” ODF and the Klamath Resource Area of the Bureau of Land Management will be placing the Klamath River Canyon area from the Keno Dam to the State Line in a “Regulated Closure.” The Closure stipulates the following:
1) Possession of the following fire-fighting equipment is required while traveling in the forest, except on state and county roads: an ax, a shovel, and one gallon of water or one 2-½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher.
· “Ax” means a wood cutting tool having a handle of not less than 26 inches in length and a head weight of not less than 2 pounds.
· “Shovel,” means a digging tool having a handle not less than 26 inches in length and a blade of not less than 8 inches in width.
2) Smoking in wildland areas is permitted only in enclosed vehicles on roads. Smoking is prohibited while working or traveling in an industrial operation area.
3) Open fires, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, are permitted only at posted and designated sites.
4) Non-Industrial Chainsaw usage is prohibited between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
5) Fireworks usage is prohibited within the Closure Area.
The Klamath River Canyon has been placed under this Regulated Closure due to its lower elevation, drier fuels, and steep terrain.
The Lakeview Interagency Fire Center website: http://scofmp.org/lifc.shtml is available to assist in keeping people informed of current and changing conditions for our area. Walker Range Patrol Association can be contacted at 541-433-2451.
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