Fire Prevention During Winter Months

Although fire season is over for southern Oregon and northern California, the threat of wildfires is year-round.

Posted: Dec. 7, 2017 10:30 AM
Updated: Dec. 7, 2017 10:40 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Although fire season is over for southern Oregon and northern California, the threat of wildfires is year-round. The Oregon Department of Forestry is reminding community members that significant wildfires can happen during winter months.

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ODF says the wildfires tearing through southern California right now are a reminder that wildfires can happen at anytime. 

"So a lot of people remember last year we had a pretty wet and heavy snow winter, however the year before that we had I believe over a 70 acre fire and years before that we've had anywhere between 50 to 1,000 acres and it's because sometimes we will get a late season start," said ODF Fire Prevention Specialist Melissa Cano. 

While fire danger remains low, Cano says it only takes one dry spell for a wildfire to get out of hand. 

"Even though the fire danger is low on a lot of the signs you see... it's important to remember that a wildfire can still start," said Cano. "Whether that be a camp fire that someone didn't properly extinguish or sometimes a structure fire that extends to wild land. Things like that under the right weather, the right fuels can take off."

Medford Fire-Rescue says firefighters see a higher response to portable space heater fires and chimney/flue fires as temperatures cool down. Firefighters suggest getting your chimney inspected every year and to follow these tips when it comes to heaters:

Portable heater safety recommendations by Medford Fire Rescue Include:

  1. Keep heaters a minimum of 36" away from combustibles
  2. Plug directly into wall outlet. Don't use an extension cord or power strip.
  3. Use only heaters with built-in high temperature and tip-over shutoff features
  4. Do not use un-vented fuel fired heaters in-doors
  5. Do not hang combustible items to dry over a heater
  6. Turn off portable heaters when family members are sleeping or leave the house
  7. Keep heaters out of high traffic areas and exit paths
You can find other helpful fire prevention tips on oregon.gov.

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