GOLD HILL, Ore. – Oregon Department of Transportation is working to finish up mowing some of the tall dry grass surrounded the roadways around the Rogue Valley as fire season gets worse.
On Wendesday afternoon, though they took extra precautions and had water and fire officials on scene it was not enough to prevent a small fire.
The grass fire was started by the lawn mower around 2:30 p.m. near exit ramp 40 from Northbound I-5. With a small breeze, the fire quickly spread up the hill toward the road.
Fire officials were able to put the fire out quickly, but not before it consumed a quarter of an acre.
Oregon Department of Forestry officials say small fires like this that escalate quickly could be an indication of fire season getting worse.
“The way the ship is sailing now, looking out ahead, there’s not going to be much change in the weather patterns, so fire danger is going to remain high, probably edging onto extreme before very much longer,” said ODF Fire Prevention Specialist Brian Ballou.
ODF officials say that people should continue to mow the tall dry grass in order to prevent future fires, but also advise that people pay close attention to restrictions. Currently, community members are permitted to operate machinery like lawn mowers until 1 p.m.
If fire conditions continue to get worse, officials say they will soon put new restrictions in place that call off machinery at 10 in the morning.