Due to the extremely dry weather, fire danger levels in Jackson and Josephine counties will be going up yet again, and several restrictions are going into place.
Open burning and debris burning will be prohibited. Campfires will only be allowed in designated areas. Mowing of dead or dry grass will not be allowed between 1 – 8 p.m., and chainsaw use will also be restricted during that same time frame.
The increased fire danger will affect 1.8 million acres across southern Oregon. Fire officials also want to remind people as the Fourth of July nears, fireworks are prohibited inside of the city limits of both Ashland and Medford.
“The city has done that because of the high risk of fire transmitting into the watershed from a fire that started somewhere in the city,” said Scott Hollingsworth, Battalion Chief with Ashland Fire and Rescue.
Fire officials said every year, 18,000 fires nationwide start from fireworks. Of those, 3,000 are house fires, 4,000 are car fires, and the rest are grass fires.
Hollingsworth said the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to go to a public display where safety mechanisms are in place.
Even though consumer fireworks are prohibited in Ashland and Medford, other patriotic celebration items are legal including smoke bombs, snaps, and snakes. Fire managers said even though they are hot enough to start a fire, they do not move as much as normal fireworks and tend to be safer.
Firework stands across the Rogue Valley are setting up for the Fourth of July, and many plan to open this week.
According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, fire danger levels are climbing quicker this year than years past. Last year fire danger did not jump to high until the beginning of July.