Heat Impacts Fuels, Not Danger Level

7-1 rob webCENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Tuesday, temperatures hit triple digits, but the fire danger level remains at high. Despite no change to the fire danger level, Oregon Department of Forestry officials said days like Tuesday have an impact on the plants that have hung on until now.

O.D.F. officials said July is typically troublesome because of an increase in dry lightning. They said everything with this fire season seems to be coming early or ahead of schedule, dry lightning included. However, in these conditions, dry lightning isn’t the only concern. Officials said fires can be sparked by unusual things like a horse shoe striking a rock. Officials said hundred degree temperatures begin to impact the vegetation that has survived until now.

“Once we get to where they’re starting to show some stress from not being able to re-hydrate themselves, so to speak, then we’re going to see much more active fire behavior,” said Fire Prevention Specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry, Brian Ballou.

Power equipment can still be used until 1p.m. but officials said it’s important to do a “fire watch” both while working and for about an hour after you shut down. Also, with the fourth of July just a few days away, officials also urge the public to be careful with fireworks and to make sure they are set off away from dry grass and have a bucket of water nearby.

As far as raising the fire danger level, another factor considered is the availability of resources. If multiple fires are being fought, the availability of crews, bulldozers and helicopters goes own and the fire danger will go up.