Thursday, September 7, 2017

ODF Firefighters Chasing New Starts across Southern Oregon

Firefighters from the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District have already tackled six wildfires overnight; however, additional new fire starts are expected to pop-up as the temperatures begin to rise throughout the day. ODF’s Southwest Oregon District, which encompasses 1.8 million acres of land in Jackson and Josephine Counties, was pummeled with nearly 200 lightning strikes in a few short hours yesterday evening. Only a quarter of those hits were positive strikes, meaning the strikes are more powerfully charged compared to a negative strike; therefore, more likely to spark a wildfire. Firefighters will be gridding the landscape surrounding those confirmed positive strikes in order to try to catch any new starts while they are small.

 Of the six wildfires located in the past 12 hours, five of them are 100 percent lined and 100 percent mopped up; all five were stopped at less than one acre in size. The sixth fire, being called the East Antelope Fire, was recently mapped at 3 acres. The fire burning six miles east of Roxy Ann Peak on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestland is close to being fully lined. Firefighters will continue making progress on this fire until we reach 100 percent containment.
In addition to firefighters patrolling on the ground, a FLIR-equipped aircraft is lending a helping hand to the District today. This aerial resource will utilize thermal imaging technology to help detect new starts throughout southern Oregon from high above all of the existing smoke. Additionally, ODF Southwest has its air attack platform and helicopters available for initial attack, as visibility allows.
With forecasted thunderstorms anticipated to roll into our region today, ODF firefighters will remain vigilant - knocking down new fires as quickly as possible. However, we need your help in preventing any and all human-caused starts. We would like to remind everyone that the fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties remains at “extreme” (red) today. For a full list of the public restrictions currently in place, visit our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest or our website: www.swofire.com.

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Fire Restrictions Lower for Industrial Operators Today

High relative humidity and slightly improved air quality has prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District to drop the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) to III (three) today, effective immediately.
Please note, this is separate from the general public fire restrictions currently in effect. ODF Southwest’s public restrictions remain in place and unchanged with a fire danger level of “extreme” (red).
The following are prohibited between 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.:
  • Power saws at loading sites;
  • Loading or hauling of any product or material;
  • Blasting;
  • Welding, cutting, or grinding of metal;
  • Any other spark emitting operation not specifically mentioned.
In addition, the following are permitted to operate overnight to the morning, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., where mechanized equipment capable of constructing fire line is immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start:
  • Ground-based operations (tractor/skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations);
  • Power saws on ground-based operations;
  • Rotary head saw feller-bunchers with a continuous Firewatch;
  • Non-rotary head saw feller-bunchers;
  • Tethered logging - winch-assisted, cable-assisted, traction-assisted, etc. systems, which enable ground-based timber harvesting machines to operate on steep slopes.
This is considered a restricted shutdown and the following activities are not permitted at any time, except as noted:
  • Cable yarding systems, except that gravity operated logging systems using non-motorized carriages or approved motorized carriages may operate between 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., when all blocks and moving lines are suspended at least 10 feet above the ground (except the line between the carriage and the chokers).
For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s public or industrial fire season restrictions, visit our Facebook page: ODF Southwest Oregon District, or our website www.swofire.com.

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