Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Take Care Not to Cause a Wildfire When Hunting

Hunting season kicks into high gear Saturday, Oct. 3, when centerfire rifles may be used in southwest Oregon for deer hunting. Hunters are cautioned to be careful with activities that could spark a wildfire. Oregon remains in one of the driest fire seasons on record, and many fire prevention regulations continue to be in effect.

Campfires are allowed only in state and county campgrounds. Always monitor a campfire while it is burning and completely extinguish the flames and all embers before leaving camp. Have a bucket of water and a shovel near to the fire pit.

Camp stoves using gasoline or propane fuels are allowed outside of campgrounds. Keep a fire extinguisher handy whenever a camp stove is being used. It’s also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher inside of every vehicle. A 2½-lb A-B-C fire extinguisher is adequate for most camp kitchen and vehicle fire emergencies.

Smoking is never allowed while walking through the woods, or when riding on horseback, on a bicycle or on an ATV or motorcycle. Smoke only inside an enclosed vehicle and use an ashtray or other fire-safe container.

Never drive motorized vehicles off improved roads. An improved road has adequate width for a four-wheeled car or truck, and has fire-resistant surface comprised of gravel or asphalt. An unimproved road typically has vegetation growing in the median or other parts of the driving surface, and has brush and tree branches hanging over the roadway. If branches scrape along the side of a vehicle, or grass is flattened by a vehicle when driving over it, then the road is unimproved and shouldn’t be driven.

Motorcycles and other motorized all-terrain vehicles are not allowed on trails.

Chain saws, generators and other equipment using an internal combustion engine must be shut down by 1:00 p.m. Have a water supply and fire-fighting tools, such as a shovel and an axe, at the site where the equipment is being used. Perform a one-hour fire watch after the equipment is shut down.

Target shooting has become a significant cause of wildfires. Tracer ammunition and exploding targets are banned in all wildland and forested areas. Target shooting with conventional ammunition and targets is allowed, but use care not to create sparks with metal-on-metal contact. Remove brass and other debris when finished with target shooting.

Many private forestlands remain closed due to the high fire danger. A complete list of land closures is available online.

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