Don’t be fooled by the cool mornings and shorter days of September. Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) fire officials say that they average more than 200 fires that burn in excess of 1,000 acres across the state each fall. In fact, in the early fall of 2014, the 36 Pit, Yellow Point and Scoggins Creek fires combined burned about 6,500 acres. More than 90 percent of the fires are caused by people during this time of year. To date in 2015, about 900 fires have burned more than 93,500 acres on ODF protected lands.
“People are genuinely surprised when their thought-to-be safe actions result in a fire,” said ODF Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields.
Fields says that fire season remains in effect and generally lasts well into October. Weather forecasts are calling for temperatures in the 90s throughout much of Oregon for the next several days. Open fires remain prohibited on lands protected by ODF including campfires outside of approved campgrounds and the burning of debris. Forest fuels are at their driest after an entire summer of limited rainfall. A season ending event of several days of substantial rainfall, usually well into the fall, will be needed to erase fire danger and lift restrictions.
Other activities restricted during fire season include off road driving where hot exhaust and sparks from mufflers can ignite dry grass; the use of tracer ammunition and exploding targets; and the use of power equipment such as chain saws and lawn mowers cutting dry grass. Check with your local ODF or fire protection association office for specific restrictions or log on to www.oregon.gov/odf. Violators will be cited and fined and, should a fire result, held liable for fire suppression costs.
While many corporate private lands remain closed due to the continued fire danger, hunting season is still open. Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts must have landowner permission before entering and follow all public fire use restrictions listed above.