MEDFORD, Ore. — Dry conditions have improved enough to reduce the Fire Danger Level in southwest Oregon to "High" (yellow) starting at 6 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will remain at Level 3.
Fire Danger Level in southwest Oregon has been "Extreme" (red) since July 20. ODF says that higher relative humidities and cooler temperatures are responsible for the easing of fire restrictions this week.
Lowering the level means that restrictions on the public use of chain saws, brush cutters and other power-driven or spark-emitting machinery are being slightly relaxed, allowing the use of equipment until 10:00 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
Wednesday will be the last day that power-driven and/or spark-emitting machinery is completely prohibited.
However, many other restrictions remain in effect when the danger level is High:
• No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.
• No fireworks on forestlands.
• Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited.
• Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used in other locations.
• Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads; one shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
• Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.
• Chain saws may not be used between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. During hours outside of this time frame, chain saws may be used but require that the operator have one shovel and one 8-oz or larger fire extinguisher at the work site. A fire watch is also required for one hour after each chainsaw use.
• Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is not allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. These activities will be allowed during hours outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.
• The mowing of dead or dried grass with power-driven equipment is not allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. This restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
• Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine-use not specifically mentioned is not allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. Use of any spark-emitting internal combustion engine is allowed outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.
• Any electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation.
These regulations affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District in Jackson and Josephine counties.