Monday, October 29, 2018

Fire Season Ends Today, but Fire Prevention Continues

After 151 days of being ramped up and ready to fight wildland fires, the 2018 fire season ends today, Monday, October 29, at 9:00 a.m. on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. Lands affected by this declaration include state, private, city and county forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Fire season proved to be challenging throughout the District due to high temperatures and, and in particular, a lightning storm that rolled through the area on July 15. The preliminary totals for the season show ODF firefighters tackling 348 wildland fires totaling roughly 50,000 acres. Of those fires, 106 are directly linked to lightning. This total fire count does not even include the number of alarms firefighters responded to related to fire restriction violations, assisting our local partners, and smoke chases throughout Jackson and Josephine Counties.

The termination of fire season removes fire prevention regulations on equipment use and the use of fire for debris burning. This applies to the public and industrial operations on forestlands. However, many structural fire agencies require permits for debris burning; please check with your local fire department to obtain any necessary permits before burning.

This is a great reminder; while fire season is over, fire prevention must continue. Please be vigilant while burning debris making sure that a burn pile is never left unattended. Also, please use caution while using machinery that could produce a spark. Fall weather in Southern Oregon can vary greatly.

While fire season has officially come to a close, we are still here to help. Fire prevention tips and additional information is available on our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest, or you can call/visit the Southwest Oregon District 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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Public Fire Restrictions Lower Today, Fire Season Remains in Effect

Cool temperatures, precipitation and overnight relative humidity recoveries have prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District to drop the public fire danger level to “Low” (green), Wednesday, October 24, 2018, effective immediately.

The District is also suspending regulated use restrictions. Some of the public restriction changes include allowing ‘all-day use’ of power saws, and equipment for mowing dry, dead grass, however at this time, open burning of any kind will remain prohibited. These regulations affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county and city lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

As a reminder, public fire restrictions which will remain in effect, include:

  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.
  • No fireworks on forestlands.
  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited.
  • Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds, and on private property with the landowner’s permission. 


Precipitation and the continued forecast has lent a helping hand in reducing the chance for difficult wildfires; however, the uncertainty of consistent rainfall could still pose a risk. Fire managers will continue to evaluate the upcoming conditions in order to determine if fire season can be terminated soon.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season public restrictions, 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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Public Fire Restrictions Increase to Moderate

The recent shift back to higher temperatures in combination with windy conditions are forcing fire restrictions across Southwest Oregon to increase. The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties will raise to “moderate” (blue), effective as of 9 a.m. on October 15, 2018.

These public fire restrictions are now back in effect:

  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.
  • No fireworks on forestlands.
  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, 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; one shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
  • Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.
  • Chain saws may not be used between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during moderate fire danger. During hours outside of this time frame, chain saws may be used but require that the operator have one shovel and one 8-oz or larger fire extinguisher at the work site. A fire watch is also required for one hour after each chainsaw use.
  • Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during moderate fire danger. These activities will be allowed during hours outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.
  • The mowing of dead or dried grass with power-driven equipment is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during moderate fire danger. This restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine-use not specifically mentioned is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during moderate fire danger. Use of any spark-emitting internal combustion engine is allowed outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.
  • Any 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.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season public restrictions, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Public Fire Restrictions Lower Today, Fire Season Remains in Effect

Continued cool temperatures, precipitation and overnight relative humidity recoveries have prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District to drop the public fire danger level to “Low” (green) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) to I (one) today, Thursday, October 4, 2018, effective immediately.

Some of the public restriction changes include allowing ‘all-day use’ of power saws, and equipment for mowing dry, dead grass. 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. 

Precipitation has lent a helping hand in reducing the chance for difficult wildfires; however, the uncertainty of consistent rainfall could still pose a risk. Fire managers will continue to evaluate the upcoming conditions in order to determine if fire season can be terminated soon.
As a reminder, public fire restrictions which will remain in effect, include:

  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.
  • No fireworks on forestlands.
  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited.
  • Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds, and on private land with the landowner’s permission. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used as well.
Under IFPL I (One) – fire season requirements are in effect. In addition to the following:

  • A Firewatch is required at this and all higher levels unless otherwise waived.
For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season public restrictions, 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


Monday, October 1, 2018

Fire Danger Level decreases to “Moderate”


The recent rain and cooler temperatures have made it possible to decrease fire restrictions across Southwest Oregon. The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties will lower to “moderate” (blue), effective as of 9 a.m. on October 1, 2018.

As a reminder, public fire restrictions which will remain in effect, include:

·         No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.
·         No fireworks on forestlands.
·         Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, 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; one shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
·         Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.
·         Chain saws may not be used between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during moderate fire danger. During hours outside of this time frame, chain saws may be used but require that the operator have one shovel and one 8-oz or larger fire extinguisher at the work site. A fire watch is also required for one hour after each chainsaw use.
·         Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during moderate fire danger. These activities will be allowed during hours outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.
·         The mowing of dead or dried grass with power-driven equipment is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during moderate fire danger. This restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
·         Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine-use not specifically mentioned is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during moderate fire danger. Use of any spark-emitting internal combustion engine is allowed outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.
·         Any 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.
For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season public restrictions, 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 our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fire Restrictions Lower for Industrial Operators Today

Recent precipitation and cooler temperatures in the forecast prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District to drop the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) to II (two) today, effective immediately.
Please note, this is separate from the general public fire restrictions currently in effect. 

ODF Southwest’s public restrictions remain in place and unchanged with a fire danger level of “high” (yellow).

The following activities are not permitted between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., except as noted:
·         Power saws, except power saws may operate at loading sites;
·         Feller-bunchers with rotary head saws;
·         Cable yarding
·         Blasting
·         Welding, cutting, or grinding of metal

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s public or industrial fire season restrictions, visit our Facebook page: ODF Southwest Oregon District.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hugo Road Fire FINAL Update 09/06/18

Quick Facts:
Incident Start Date: 09/02/2018
Incident Start Time: Approx. 7:15 p.m.
Incident Type: Wildfire
Cause: Under Investigation
Incident Location: Hugo, which is roughly ten miles north-northwest of Grants Pass in Josephine County, Oregon
Land Threat: Private
Command Agency: ODF
Fire Size: 199 acres
Containment: 86%
Current Situation:
This will be the final update for the Hugo Road Fire unless conditions significantly change.
Firefighters continue to boost containment on the Hugo Road Fire, now reaching 86 percent. The fire remains at 199 acres.
Overnight, crews were able to mop up 300 feet from the fire’s edge, adjacent to roadways, and surrounding the perimeter of homes. Within the mop up area, very few hot spots were found. All residences are at a Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation notice, and will remain at such until Fire Season 2018 comes to a close, per the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.
Local fire personnel will continue gridding the landscape for interior hot spots and conducting suppression repair throughout the next few days. It is normal to see light smoke during this process, but it is now well within the interior of the fire’s footprint which does not pose a threat to our community. There will still be fire apparatus present until the final mop up stages are complete. We encourage everyone to continue to use caution while traveling through the area.
Thank you again to every single partner agency and community member for the assistance and support throughout this firefight. It is an honor to serve and live in this community.
Evacuations:
Due to progress made by firefighters on the Hugo Road Fire all current evacuation levels are being downgraded to a Level 1 “BE READY” notice. Level 1’s will remain in effect until the end of the fire season.
For information regarding information, please contact the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, or follow the Josephine County Emergency Management Facebook page as evacuation levels are anticipated to change shortly.
Assigned Resources:
Engines: 10
Water Tenders: 4
Helicopters: As needed
Hand Crews: 8
Dozers: 4
Total Personnel: 211
Air Tankers: As needed