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Industrial Fire Risk Rises

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PROSPECT, Ore. — With hot days and no rain in sight, the Oregon Department of Forestry is upping the industrial fire precaution risk from a level one to level two. This is an increase that happens almost every year, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson, Caitlin Goins.

Under the level two precaution, commercial and industrial operations are not allowed to use power driven machinery during the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.  Also, they are required to have fire suppression equipment on site and provide a watchman service. A&P Loggings already started taking precautions earlier this year when the weather started heating up.

“Once it gets up above 85…90 degrees, it’s just too hot,” said A&P Logging owner, Bob Plankenhorn. “Equipment gets hot. Everything just gets more dangerous. So basically if it gets warm like this we quit.”

To adjust to the heat, his crews start logging at daybreak and end around noon. Plankenhorn said the restrictions put in place can hurt his business, but “a fire can hurt a lot worse.”

If the hot and dry weather pattern continues, the Oregon Department of Forestry could up the industrial fire precaution level to level three. Level three prohibits logging contractors from working at all during the hours of 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.