Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Reminder: Fire Season Remains in Effect, Debris burning is prohibited

As a reminder, last weekend’s rainfall did not lift fire season restrictions. Fire season went into effect on Sunday, June 4. During fire season, debris burning is unsafe; therefore, it is prohibited. Other prohibited actions during fire season include the use of fireworks, tracer ammunition and exploding targets on ODF-protected lands.

             After a wet winter, the high volume of dead grass and hotter conditions is increasing fire danger on the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District.

            “As things continue to dry out, the abundance of dead grass acts as a fuse for fast moving fires,” said ODF Southwest Oregon District Forester, Dave Larson, “this is one of the many reasons that we take violation of debris burning during fire season very seriously.”

           Since January 1, 2017 ODF Southwest firefighters alongside are partnering agencies have already responded to over 35 wildfires in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Fourteen of those were due to debris burning. 

           “We are asking that residents do not fall into a false sense of security when temperatures cool for a couple days. It only takes one warm, dry or windy day to drive down fuel moisture to a point where grass and other fine fuels will readily carry fire. This is why debris burning remains prohibited,” said Lee Winslow, ODF Southwest Assistant District Forester.

            While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, we are asking residents to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every home and building on their property.

           Here are some tips on how to dispose of yard waste without burning:
  • §  Chipping
  • §  Composting/Mulching
  • §  Curbside Pickup
  • §  Greenwaste Facility
  • §  Biomass Energy Facility

            Eliminating debris burning not only reduces the chance of fire spread, but it could also prevent you from receiving a citation, or even a bill for the cost of fire suppression. While a citation ranges from $110 to $435; the cost of fire suppression can quickly become thousands of dollars.

            If you know of someone doing an illegal debris burn in your area, report it. Your awareness and cooperation with us can help prevent the next wildfire.

          For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season restrictions and regulations, or to report a fire, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:
·         Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328
·         Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152

         Fire season information is also available online at our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest and our website: www.swofire.com.