Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fire Danger Level Changes to Moderate Saturday, Please Know the Fire Restrictions in Place


The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties will increase to “moderate” (blue) on Saturday, June 23 at 12:01 a.m. Please be aware that this level change means that additional fire restrictions for the public will be in effect. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will remain at Level I (one).
These regulations impact 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.
Public fire restrictions currently in effect, 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.
Beginning Saturday at 12:01 a.m., the following public fire restrictions will take effect:
·         Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations;
·         Open fires are prohibited which includes campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at locations deemed a designated campground. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are still allowed;
·         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;
·         Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, will be allowed only on improved roads free of flammable vegetation. One shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
·         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 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher. As noted above, all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles must be equipped with one 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher.
·         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 Southwest Oregon District’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 and our website: www.swofire.com.
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Monday, June 4, 2018

Abbott Prairie Fire 100 Percent Lined

A report of smoke was called into our ODF Southwest Medford headquarters yesterday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. When our first dispatched engine arrived to the area, it was confirmed to be a wildfire.
The #AbbottPrairieFire was first estimated to be 5-10 acres, burning in a combination of light and heavy fuels roughly ten miles north of Lost Creek Lake. Seven engines, a water tender, and dozer from ODF, as well as a hand crew from the U.S. Forest Service- Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest battled the wind-driven fire. By 6:00 p.m., it was 100 percent lined at a final fire size of 12.5 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


The footprint of the fire will continue to be mopped up today and tomorrow. Smoke may be present during mop up operations.
As always, if you see smoke in your area, or suspect that someone may be illegally burning, please do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 or our Medford and Grants Pass unit offices at (541) 664-3328 and (541) 474-3152.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Questions about #FireSeason2018 public use restrictions?
Here is a little cheat sheet to get you through the summer months!
You can monitor our fire danger level as it changes both here on our website, on our Facebook Page: @ODFSouthwest, and on Twitter: @swofire.



Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fire Season Begins June 1


Fire season begins Friday, June 1, at 12:01 a.m. on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. Lands affected by this declaration include state, private, county, city, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

“Rainfall across southwest Oregon is below average, and the above normal temperatures this May are causing our grasses to cure rapidly in the lower elevations,” said Dave Larson, Southwest Oregon District Forester, “In order to help curb the number of human-caused fires, especially escaped backyard debris burns, the conditions are ripe to declare fire season.”

The fire danger level for the public will be “low” (green) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level will be I (one).

This means beginning June 1, the following public restrictions will be taking effect on ODF-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties:
o   No burning of debris piles, or burning debris in burn barrels
o   No fireworks
o   No tracer ammunition
o   No exploding targets

Last year, fire season started on June 4 and ended October 20 lasting a total of 138 days. A total of 350 fires blackened just over 1,000 acres. According to the 10-year average of fires on the District, 230 fires may burn more than 5,600 acres during fire season. Therefore, last year was quite successful for the District. We will continue to keep a safe, yet aggressive initial attack as one of our top priorities entering this season.

Under Industrial Fire Precaution Level I on ODF-protected lands, commercial operations, such as timber harvesting conducted on forestlands, will be required to have fire suppression equipment on the job site at all times. A Firewatch must also be provided.

For additional information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, 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 and our website: www.swofire.com.
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Friday, October 20, 2017

Fire Season Ends Today, but Fire Prevention Continues

After 138 days of being ramped up and ready to fight wildland fires, the 2017 fire season ends today, Friday, October 20, 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, county, city, and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.
Fire season proved to be particularly challenging throughout the District due to the abundance of abutted lightning storms. The preliminary totals for the season show ODF firefighters tackling 335 wildland fires totaling roughly 930 acres. Of those fires, 127 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. Overall, 97 percent of all ODF Southwest fires were held at ten acres or less. We accredit this not only to our aggressive initial attack and well-trained team, but our countless partners throughout our region that have helped to make this season a success.
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. While there is precipitation throughout our region today, fall weather in southern Oregon varies greatly. Regardless, we are here to help.
Fire prevention tips and additional information is available online at www.swofire.com, 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

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Firefighters stop Little Applegate Fire at 9.5 Acres

Firefighters halted the Little Applegate Fire at 9.5 acres around 1:30 p.m. today. The initial report came in just after 12:30 p.m. with an estimated size of one-acre. Within minutes, the fire began spreading and spotting upslope near two homes off the intersection of Upper Applegate and Little Applegate Roads near the Applegate. While the two homes were initially threatened by the fire, no homes were lost or damaged by this incident; however, an outbuilding has been deemed a total loss.

There are still several firefighters on site investigating the cause of the fire, as well as mopping up hot spots along the hillside. At this time, the fire is 100 percent lined and 40 percent mopped up. Please use caution when driving through this area for the remainder of the afternoon as fire traffic will still be present.

Crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District, Applegate Valley Fire District, Jacksonville Fire, U.S. Forest Service Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and the Rogue Valley 2 Strike Team assisted in the suppression of this fire. A special thanks to the Forest Service for lending their two Type 2 helicopters that were on-hand at the Miller Complex. As always, we would like to thank our partners for the continued quick and efficient responses to wildfires throughout our region. For video of our firefighting efforts in action, visit our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest.

This is a great reminder; fire season is not over yet. Please know the fire restrictions in your area before recreating outdoors this weekend. For additional information about the Oregon Department of Forestry, please visit us at www.swofire.com or 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

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Public and Industrial Fire Restrictions Lower Tomorrow, 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) tomorrow, Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 12:01 a.m.

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 reevaluate the upcoming conditions after the weekend 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 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.
·         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.
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

Fire season information is also available online at our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest and our website: www.swofire.com.

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