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Applegate Valley Fire District says fire season could be severe

The Applegate Valley Fire District is gearing up for what it says could be a "severe" fire season, as fire season officially starts Friday.

Posted: May 1, 2020 4:42 PM

APPLEGATE, Ore--- The Applegate Valley Fire District is gearing up for what it says could be a "severe" fire season, as fire season officially starts Friday.

This is one of the earliest fire seasons for Southwest Oregon in recent memory.

Applegate Fire says it has already responded to 12 wildland fires since March 1, 2020. A lot of those fires have come from open burns that escaped. Today's fire restrictions by the Oregon Department of Forestry include a complete shutdown of open burning. 

Applegate Fire believes the community can help decide how severe the fire season becomes.

"A lot of it is going to depend on the starts. That is where we are asking the community to take it very seriously and be very cautious and mindful of fire safety of practices, because if we can minimize the starts then we can help prevent a severe fire season from being a reality," said Captain Tailese Roeloffs.

Roeloffs also mentioned that Applegate Fire is fully staffed with the standard staffing, and it will staff up more if the fire season gets more severe.

The Oregon Department of Forestry declared May 1 to be the start of the fire season, on Wednesday.

ODF moved the fire danger to low (green). 

ODF says the following is all restricted:

  • Open burning on all lands protected by ODF in Jackson and Josephine Counties;
  • The use of tracer ammunition and exploding targets, which are disallowed on all lands at all times;
  • The use of fireworks;
  • Smoking in areas with dry vegetation;
  • Campfires, except in designated campgrounds and on private lands with the landowner's permission;
  • The use of electric fence controllers must be in accordance with manufacturers' instructions for grounding and vegetation clearance.

ODF says that the district tallied 34 fires that burned 32 acres in the month of April. Also, ODF says in addition to unusual seasonal dryness this year, drought conditions are recurring over much of the West.

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