Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hot Weather Drives Up Fire Danger

Prolonged hot weather in southwest Oregon is driving up the fire danger level on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. The fire danger climbs to “extreme” (red) at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 22.
 
Many of the public fire prevention regulations currently in effect will remain unchanged, but people who have been using power-driven equipment until 1:00 p.m. will now have to shut down at 10:00 a.m. The Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s regulations affect state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forests and other wildlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.
 
These restrictions do not affect industrial operations. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will remain at Level 2 (two).
 
People using mowers, weed whackers and brush cutters in areas of tall, dry grass and weeds will need to stop using the equipment between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., and a one-hour fire watch must take place after shut down. This restriction does not apply to people mowing a green lawn, or to the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
 
Chain saw users must also shut down at 10:00 a.m., have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher at the work site, and conduct a one-hour fire watch after the saw is shut off.
 
Cutting, grinding or welding metal must also stop by 10:00 a.m., and these activities may only be conducted in an area cleared of potentially flammable vegetation. Water and fire-fighting tools must be at the job site.
 
The users of other spark-emitting machinery, such as generators, wood splitters and chippers, must also shut down by 10:00 a.m. and perform a one-hour fire watch afterward. In all cases, users need to have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher or a water supply at the site where the machinery is used.
 
Below are the public fire prevention regulations that are currently in effect and will remain unchanged:
  • Tracer ammunition and exploding targets may not be used in wildland areas.
  • All open burning of debris is prohibited. This includes burn barrels.
  • Fireworks and sky lanterns are prohibited on forestlands.
  • Camp fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This includes charcoal-fired barbecues. However, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed in other locations.
  • Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads. This restriction does not include vehicles used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Smoking is allowed only in a vehicle and only while on an improved road.
  • Any electric fence controller in use shall contain a listing from a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be operated in compliance with manufacturer instruction for fire safe operation.
For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:
  • Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
  • Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152