Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fire restrictions lowered for industrial operators in SWO District

September 6, 2016

Oregon Department of Forestry                                                 
Southwest Oregon District                                       
Contact: Brian Ballou, 541-621-4156  Melissa Cano, 541-613-631
Cool temperatures and high relative humidity has prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District to drop the Industrial Fire Precaution Level to 2 today. Cable yarding, blasting, welding or cutting of metal, and powersaws except at loading sites may operate only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.

This does not change the fire danger level for the public. The regulated use closure will remain “extreme” (red). The regulations listed below affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands in Jackson and Josephine counties that are protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.
Fire prevention regulations currently in effect, and which will remain in effect for the public, include:
  • No debris burning in piles or in burn barrels;
  • No fireworks on forestlands;
  • Tracer ammunition and exploding targets may not be used on forestlands or in any other wildland area;
  • Sky lanterns are prohibited.
  • Campfires are 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;
  • Smoking while traveling is allowed only in enclosed vehicles on improved roads;
  • Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one 2-½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher. All-terrain vehicles and motorcycles must be equipped with one 2-½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher;
  • A chainsaw with a spark-emitting internal combustion engine may not be used;
  • Mowing of dead or dry grass with equipment using a spark-emitting internal combustion engine is not allowed. This restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops;
  • The cutting, grinding or welding of metal is not allowed;
  • The use of any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine is not allowed;
  • Electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., 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.
In the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial:

  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in boats on the water, and on sand or gravel bars that lie between water and high water marks that are free of vegetation.
  • All travelers are required to carry one shovel and a one-gallon or larger bucket.
  • The use of fireworks is prohibited.
  • Campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires are prohibited. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s public regulated use regulations, or the 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


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Comments and questions

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:

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick mountain snowpack. It didn't take long for that to melt and vegetation to dry out due to a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather over the summer. As forest fuels dried, fires started and spread, many from lands adjacent to those protected by ODF, such as the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. That one fire accounted for 46% of the 47,537 acres of land protected by ODF which burned in 2017. Of fires originating on ODF-protected land, 95% were put out at less than 10 acres.

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.


About Me

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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.