Friday, September 27, 2013

Burn Ban Lifted in N. California

CAL FIRE has lifted suspension of residential burning, effective as of 6 a.m. Friday September 27, 2013.  CAL FIRE Unit Chief Bernie Paul is formally cancelling the suspension and advises that people possessing current and valid agricultural and residential burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days. Safe “Residential” burning still requires a minimum of 10’ clearance around the 4x4 piles and an adult must be in attendance at all times. Agricultural burning permits will need to be inspected by a CAL FIRE or Forest Service employee prior to burning till the end of fire season.

Burn permits will still be required until the end of fire season. Fire danger is predicted to increase over the next several weeks as a hotter and drier weather system moves in over Siskiyou County. Residents must always use caution when burning, follow all guidelines and maintain control of their fire at all times.

Contact your nearest CAL FIRE facility and/ or local fire department to acquire the proper permit. Residents should call Siskiyou County Air Pollution Board at (530)842-8123 to confirm it’s a permissive burn day and the burn times.

For more information on burning, call CAL FIRE at (530)842-3516. Or visit CAL FIRE website at www.fire.ca.gov.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oregon's Forest Land Base is Stable, But Homes are Increasing

Oregon has lost almost none of its non-federal forest and farmland to other uses in the past four decades, but the number of homes scattered through forestland is increasing, according to a new report from the Oregon Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service.

The report shows that 98 percent of non-federal lands that were in farm and forest use in 1974, when Oregon’s land use planning system went into effect, remained so in 2009. However, the report did find an  increasing number of  homes in private forestland, particularly  near urban or low-density residential areas. Other research has shown that more homes in forestland decreases the chances of those lands remaining in forest uses. That, in turn, can lead to a loss of forest benefits and a rise in challenges such as fire protection.

"With an expected 37 percent population increase in Oregon over the next 30 years, this trend leads to key policy questions," said Gary Lettman, forest economist with the Oregon Department of Forestry.  "These questions range from the amount of private lands that will be converted to residential or urban use, to how those increases will affect the use and management of both public and private forestlands."

Land Use Change on Non-Federal Land in Oregon and Washington describes the changes in rates and types of land use in Oregon and Washington. Although the two states have similar climates and vegetation, they have very dissimilar land use policies – a decentralized approach in Washington, and coordinated, statewide direction in Oregon.

The Oregon Board of Forestry’s strategic plan, the Forestry Program for Oregon, lists “maintaining and increasing Oregon’s forestland base” as a key objective. Forests provide Oregonians with a multitude of economic, environmental, and social benefits. For instance, forests provide cleaner water than land in any other use. And the forest sector employs over 42,000 Oregonians and provides about $5.2 billion in yearly revenues to Oregon.

While this report specifically focuses on Oregon’s land use planning system, a suite of state and federal policies in Oregon helps forest landowners sustainably manage and retain forestlands, and makes it economically viable for them to do so. These policies include the Oregon Forest Practices Act, forestland tax deferral, and a variety of incentive programs, almost all of which are federally funded.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fire Season Ends in Douglas County

The Douglas Forest ProtectiveAssociation has officially called an end to the 2013 fire season on September 25th, at noon.  This is the earliest end to fire season on the Douglas District since 1978.  The end of the 2013 fire season was a result of significant rainfall and an overall cooling trend which returned to the area.

The 2013 fire season, which started on May 15th, was a busy one for DFPA, as they suppressed 142 fires that burned 33,119 acres in Douglas County alone this year; well up from the 10 year average of 76 fires for 644 acres.  An additional 15,297 acres from the Douglas Complex burned onto the Southwest Oregon ODF District in Josephine County, bringing the total acreage of all DFPA fires up to 49,163 acres this year.

With the end of fire season, Industrial Fire Precaution Level restrictions are no longer in effect and backyard debris burning is now allowed without a permit outside incorporated cities.  In addition, campfires are now allowed with landowner permission.  Unattended campfires, a primary cause of wildfires, still have the potential of escaping.  All fires should be fully extinguished before leaving the scene.  Residents should contact their local fire department before conducting any burning as regulations vary between fire districts. 

Fire officials advise residents to exercise caution when burning or using fire in wildland areas. This time of year, several days of sunshine and dry weather can create a fire risk even if a week or more of rainy, cool conditions precedes them. When burning yard debris, make sure to have an adequate fire trail around the pile or incinerator and never leave the burn unattended.  Should a fire escape, the property owner may be financially responsible for damages and suppression costs.  The only type of burning requiring a permit is for logging slash and heavy debris disposal burning, which is required year round.  Any type of commercial tree harvesting that requires excess debris to be burned constitutes logging slash and therefore requires a permit to burn.

The Douglas Forest Protective Association would like to thank everyone for their cooperation in helping us throughout the devastating 2013 fire season.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fire Danger Level Drops on Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

In concert with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s declaration regarding the end of fire season effective today, Tuesday, September 24, 2013, the fire danger level has dropped to “low” on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest effective as of midnight last night.
 
All public use restrictions on the Wild section of the Rogue River have been rescinded, and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level 1 has also been dropped.
 
However, with a warming and drying trend predicted for the weekend and hunting season begun, forest visitors are reminded to be vigilant with all warming and cooking fires. Enjoy your outdoor experience and be thoughtful about your actions when it comes to fire:
  • Be prepared for any trips to the forest with a shovel and extra water for stirring and cooling your campfires, which should be cool to the back of the hand when placed directly above the fire.
  • Ensure all flammable material is cleared away before building a fire.
  • Do not build such a huge blazing campfire that it has the potential to start nearby vegetation on fire.
  • Do not leave fire unattended while you hunt or play. Make sure the fire is dead out prior to leaving your campsite.  The cool nights/warm days combination during hunting season can bring what you think is a “dead” fire back to life fairly quickly.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fire Season Ends Tuesday on ODF-Protected Lands in SW Oregon

Several days of rain across the southwest Oregon region has brought fire season to an end effective Tuesday, Sept. 24, on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The public regulated use fire danger level drops to “low” (green) after midnight tonight, and all public and industrial fire prevention regulations will be lifted.

It was a busy summer for firefighters across southwest Oregon. Crews responded to more than 330 fires, 126 of which were caused by lightning. More than 43,000 acres of forestland burned on the district, much of it in the Big Windy and Douglas complexes in northern Josephine County. People caused more than 200 fires this fire season, which started June 3, and human-caused fires burned nearly 800 acres. Lightning caused the summer’s biggest wildfires.

For more fire season statistics, see the district's Fire Data page.

Southwest Oregon residents are urged to use caution when burning debris this fall. Many structural fire protection districts require a permit to burn piled debris or to use burn barrels, and both counties issue daily air quality advisories. Call your county’s open burning line before burning to find out whether open burning is allowed. In Jackson County, the number to call is (541) 776-7007. In Josephine County, call (541) 476-9663.

For more information about wildland fire prevention, contact your local Oregon Dept. of Forestry unit office:
  • Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd: (541) 664-3328
  • Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr: (541) 474-3152