Saturday, August 1, 2015

New Lightning Maps Available for August 1 Afternoon

There was localized lightning across Jackson and Josephine Counties. So far 2 new fires have been spotted south of the Applegate Valley. Patrols will continue and the largest fire is 1/2 acre so far. Most of the lightning did come with scattered rain. For the latest lightning maps visit SWOFIREDATA.com  

Fire Danger Extreme - New Fire Restrictions Are Now In Effect For Southwest Oregon District

Beginning today public regulated use restrictions now ban the use of all machinery utilizing internal combustion engines on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. This includes the use of chain saws, brush cutters and mowers. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level has also been elevated to Level 3, requiring industrial operations to shut down most equipment by 1:00 p.m. To view details on public regulated use and IFPL currently in effect click on the Fire Season Regulations tab on this page.

New Lightning Maps Available for August 1

There was scattered lightning across Jackson and Josephine Counties. So far no new fires have been spotted yet. Patrols will occur as visibility and conditions change. For the latest lightning maps please visit SWOFIREDATA.com

Friday, July 31, 2015

New Fire Maps Available

With fires in the region popping up frequently stay up to date with the latest fire maps by clicking on the SWOFIREDATA.com map page and selecting Oregon Wildfire Maps. You can navigate to many large incidents in Oregon and get the latest info. These maps are updated regularly, usually twice a day when fire operations are active. 

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

Hot Weather and Thunderstorms Expected Across Much of Oregon

As the heat returns to the region this week, fire managers are once again spreading the word of caution in efforts to prevent human-caused fires. Fire weather meteorologists are anticipating temperatures in the high 90’s and low 100’s midweek with a chance of lightning in southern and eastern Oregon arriving Friday. A Red Flag Warning is also in effect for much of the Willamette Valley and southern Oregon calling for hot and dry unstable conditions combined with low fuel moisture levels.

As fire season hits full stride, the chances of fires starting and spreading rapidly are of grave concern.

“We’re looking at a formidable fire weather forecast,” said Oregon State Forester Doug Decker. “The benefit of any recent moisture we’ve received has now evaporated, and we’re looking straight at record-breaking temperatures, extremely low humidities, and dry lightning: the trifecta of bad wildfire conditions.”

“This is the time for all Oregonians and visitors to be extremely aware of fire danger. One wrong move with power equipment, a cigarette, or any open flame can spell trouble.”

Homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts alike can contribute to the fire prevention campaign by reducing fire prone activities. Campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds on public lands and prohibited entirely on all private lands under ODF’s protection. Outdoor debris burning also remains prohibited throughout much of the state. While logging activity is being curtailed under these extreme conditions, many large industrial landowners have also closed their gates to public access in efforts to reduce possible ignitions from off-road driving, target shooting, smoking and campfires; all of which are illegal during fire season.

Should a fire occur close to communities, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is urging homeowners to be prepared in case an evacuation is necessary. “A serious wildfire can come up in a moment’s notice, so residents need to prepare now in case they have to leave their home, Walker said. “Make sure to put together a “Go Kit” and make a plan where your family will go and how you will stay in contact.” Find out more at www.wildlandfirersg.org .

To date, 621 fires have burned 3,393 acres on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and forest protective associations. Of these, 429 have been caused by people. ODF protects about 16 million acres of private and public forest and grazing land from wildfire in Oregon.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fire Prevention Regulations Increase Tuesday in the Wild & Scenic Section of the Rogue River

As the weather continues to trend towards warming and drying, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and Oregon Department of Forestry are increasing campfire restrictions on those lands located within the boundaries of the Wild section of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River. The Wild section flows from Grave Creek to the mouth of Watson Creek.

Effective 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28, building, maintaining, attending, or use of a fire is only permitted with the use of commercial stoves that use liquid fuel or propane. No campfires or charcoal fires are allowed. Cooking areas need to be naturally cleared of vegetation, and must be below the high water mark. As a preventative measure, groups traveling on the river must have a shovel and bucket.

Additionally, smoking is only permitted while on watercraft on waterways, or in areas that are on vegetation-free sand and gravel bars located between the river and high water mark.

The stretch of the river between Grave Creek and Marial is Bureau of Land Management-administered and protected from fire by the Oregon Department of Forestry. From Marial and downriver to the mouth of Watson Creek is managed by the Forest Service.

For more information and to see the full text of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest order, including a list of designated recreation sites where campfires are permitted, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/rogue-siskiyou/alerts-notices

For information about the Wild & Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at (541) 664-3328.


 

July 27 Fire Statistics and Pocketcard Update

This week will be very hot and dry as we move into extreme fire danger on Tuesday, July 28. Our indices are already showing low fuel moisture with 1000-hour fuels currently at 10% and probably going single digit this week. ERC values are also trending in the extreme category and we will likely set new maximums. Fire load has been light and initial attack resources have been effective so far this season.For the latest fire statistics and pocketcard please visit SWOFIREDATA.com

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26 Evening Lightning Update

There was localized lightning in southern Josephine County this afternoon around Cave Junction. 1 fire has been reported and there is reconnaissance aircraft patrolling. For the latest lightning maps please visit SWOFIREDATA.com