Thursday, October 15, 2015

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Decreases Public Use Restrictions in Most Forest Areas

At 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, October 17, campfire restrictions will be lifted for most lands administered by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. While conditions are still dry, fire danger has decreased enough for Forest visitors to resume having campfires. Additionally, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level will decrease to a Level 1.

IFPL 1 (one) will also go into effect Oct. 17 on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Some Rogue River-Siskiyou NF fire restrictions on campfires remain in effect year-round: fires along the Illinois River Road are permitted only in Forest Service-constructed fire rings, and no camping or campfires are allowed in the Ashland Watershed.

Fire managers on the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF would like to remind the public that conditions across the forest continue to be dry, and the threat of wildfires will continue until significant rain arrives in the area. Please continue to be cautious with any activity that may ignite a wildfire. Always extinguish campfires completely, and only use campfires in areas void of flammable vegetation. Avoid driving and smoking in or near dry grasses and fuels.

The 2015 fire season provided significant firefighting challenges across the western United States. In order to meet future challenges in the most effective way possible, the U.S. Forest Service will continue to use prescribed burning as a tool to reduce build-up of hazardous fuels, restore forest ecosystems, and improve resiliency and safety of communities within the wildland urban interface. The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest would like our cooperators and public to know preparations are beginning for Fall prescribed burning.

Planned projects for this Fall include burning piles of stacked materials, and low-to-moderate intensity understory burns of vegetation on the forest floor. The primary goals of these projects are to reduce the severity of future wildfires, and to provide added protection for communities in the wildland urban interface. In addition, the burns will promote a diverse and more resilient forest, and improve habitat for wildlife. The burns will take place on all Ranger Districts, between now and late Spring of 2016. Specific dates of and location of ignitions will depend on local weather and fuel conditions.

All prescribed fire projects will be conducted in accordance with an approved burn plan to ensure the safety of people and property in the area. Burn plans describe the specific conditions under which burns will be conducted including the weather, number of personnel, and opportunities to minimize smoke impacts.