Current situation

Rain will move across much of the region today, Oct. 5, diminishing over the weekend. Temperatures will remain below average. Winds will vary across the region as weather systems arrive and depart. The potential for large fire initiation over the region is minimal due to the wet and cool weather today and lingering through the weekend. Fire restrictions in different parts of the state began to be lowered last week based on the local fuel conditions. Check with your local district or forest protection association for restrictions on activities linked to fire starts or use ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fire danger level drops to high tomorrow in SW Oregon

Oregon Department of Forestry
Southwest Oregon District

Contact: Melissa Cano, 541-613-6313 or 541-664-3328

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity across southwestern Oregon have made it possible to ease off some of the fire prevention regulations. However, warm and dry weather is expected to return to the region by the weekend.

The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties will be lowered to "high" (yellow) tomorrow, September 22, 2016, at 12 a.m. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will remain at 2.

These regulations affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

Restrictions on the public use of chainsaws, brush cutters and other power-driven or spark-emitting machinery are being slightly relaxed, allowing the use of equipment until 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. Today will be the last day power-driven and/or spark-emitting machinery is completely prohibited.

Other fire prevention regulations that will remain in effect include:

· No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels

· No fireworks use on forestlands

· Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited

· Sky lanterns may not be used in wildland and forestland areas

· Campfires allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used in other locations

· Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads

· Chainsaws may be used until 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. Chainsaw users must have an ax, a shovel and an 8-oz. or larger fire extinguisher at the job site, and a fire watch is required for one hour after the saw is shut down

· Mowing of dead or dry grass with power-driven equipment is allowed until 10 a.m., and may resume after 8 p.m. This restriction does not apply to mowing green lawns, or to equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops

· The cutting, grinding or welding of metal is allowed until 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. These activities may only take place at a site cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and with a water supply at the job site

· Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine not specifically mentioned is permitted during high fire danger before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. as long as it is used in a cleared area and has a charged garden hose or one 2-½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher immediately available

· Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, and other designated locations

· Electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s public regulated use regulations, or Industrial Fire Precaution Levels, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:

· Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328

· Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152

Fire season information is also available online at www.swofire.com.

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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 about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.


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. In total there are about 30.4 million 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.