Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Power Equipment Shutdown and IFPL 3 Take Effect Saturday

Chain saws, gasoline-powered brush cutters and mowers, and all other machinery using internal combustion engines are being shut down on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties starting Saturday, August 1. Industrial operations, such as logging, must shut down most equipment by 1:00 p.m. starting Saturday when Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3 (three) takes effect.

These measures are necessary to prevent wildfires as much of the southwest portion of the state enters into a period of hot weather, low humidity and a threat of thunderstorms.

The public regulated use fire danger level climbed to “Extreme” (red) yesterday and will remain at that level for the foreseeable future.

“The fire danger is at its highest point right now,” said District Forester Dan Thorpe, “and there isn’t any relief in sight. On top of this, we’ve just seen a fire to the north of us cross the Umpqua River and quickly burn 270 acres. It’s time to take some additional steps to prevent other fires from starting in southwest Oregon.”

Southwest Oregon residents may continue to mow green lawns, and power equipment may be used for crop production and harvest on agricultural lands, but power machinery use in dry grass, forests and brushlands must end by Saturday morning. Welding and the grinding or cutting of metal – any activity that produces sparks – must also stop on ODF-protected areas starting Saturday.

Other public fire prevention regulations remain unchanged. Campfires may be used in county, state and federal campgrounds, unless otherwise posted. Vehicles are allowed only on improved roads. Smoking while traveling may only take place inside of an enclosed vehicle. Fireworks, tracer ammunition, exploding targets and sky lanterns are not allowed in wildland or forested areas.

Under Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3, the following fire prevention regulations take effect:

  • Cable yarding will not be allowed. However, gravity operated-logging systems employing non-motorized carriages may operate until 1:00 p.m. and after 8:00 p.m. These systems must have all blocks and moving lines suspended 10 feet above the ground, except the line between the carriage and the chokers;
  • Power saw use will not be allowed. However, power saws may be used until 1:00 p.m. and after 8:00 p.m. at loading sites and on tractor or skidder operations;
  • In addition, the following equipment and operations must shut down between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.:
    • Tractor/skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fireline are immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start;
    • Mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material;
    • Blasting;
    • Welding or cutting of metal;
    • Any spark-emitting activity not specifically mentioned above.

The following IFPL regulations are currently in effect and will remain in effect:

  • The use of fire in any form is prohibited;
  • Commercial operations must have fire suppression equipment on the job site;
  • Watchman service must be provided.

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