Monday, June 8, 2015

Fire Season News and Notes

Power Equipment Use

Fire season in ODF's Southwest Oregon District went into effect Friday, June 5, at which time open burning season ended. However, many people have called to find out about restrictions on power-driven machinery use (ie chain saws, mowers, brush cutters, etc.). At this time, there are no restrictions on the use of power equipment, so it is OK to use equipment to cut brush, grass and trees.

But it is a good idea to take some precautions when using power-driven equipment.
  • Have water or a fire extinguisher and a shovel at your work site;
  • Frequently check the area you've worked in to make sure a spark hasn't kindled a small fire;
  • Continue to check your work area for at least one hour after you've shut down the equipment;
  • If you do accidentally cause a fire, call 9-1-1 to report the fire and then use your water and shovel to try and extinguish the fire.

Red Dog Fire

The Red Dog Fire (photo above) is located on the Wild Rivers Ranger District of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Josephine County.  Fire activity is currently moderate, burning in brush, slash and timber in steep terrain. The fire is currently 10 acres in size, and started at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 6.

The Red Dog Fire is believed to be a lightning-caused start, possibly a “holdover” from a previous storm.  A Type 3 Incident Commander (Aaron Schuh) has been assigned.

“Due to the unseasonably hot and dry conditions, coupled with low humidity, we quickly assigned local available firefighting resources,” said Deputy Fire & Aviation Staff Officer Rob Budge.

Resources on scene include the Rogue River Interagency Hotshots, the Winema Hotshots, a 5-person hand crew module, two 20-person initial attack contract crews, two Forest Service engines, and two helicopters.  Firefighters have completed a “scratch line” around the fire and will continue to improve the line.  Crews are optimistic the line will hold, although lightning is predicted on Tuesday.

The fire is located approximately five miles SW of Onion Mountain, one mile W of Horse Mountain and two miles E of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness boundary and 9 miles NW of Selma.  Although there are mining claims in the area, no structures are threatened.

Due to the amount of fire traffic in the area, several road closures are anticipated to ensure firefighter and public safety.

Other Fire Activity in Southwest Oregon

A 7-acre fire broke out late Friday afternoon in the Abbott Prairie area (see photo), located 8 miles north of Lost Creek Reservoir. The fire is on private timberland and burned old logging slash. Today, a 10-man crew and two engines are mopping up remaining smokes. The cause is under investigation.

On Saturday, June 6, two fires caused by debris burning were extinguished in the Williams and Sunny Valley areas. The Williams-area fire burn 1/4 acre and the Sunny Valley-area fire burned 1/10th of an acre.

A structure fire near Rogue River on Sunday morning caused a 1/4-acre grass fire that was quickly extinguished. That same day, a 1 1/2-acre fire was extinguished along Pompadour Drive, east of Ashland. The cause of this fire in under investigation.