CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — As dry conditions escalate rapidly in Southern Oregon, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has decided to increase the fire danger level for Jackson and Josephine counties to "High" (yellow) beginning on Tuesday.
With the higher danger level comes a list of new restrictions on behavior that could potentially spark wildfires:
• 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.
• Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations;
• Open fires are prohibited which includes campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at locations deemed a designated campground. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are still allowed;
• 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;
• Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, will be allowed only on improved roads free of flammable vegetation. One shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
• 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 new restrictions apply to 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by the ODF's Southwest Oregon District.
Restrictions on the public use of chain saws, brush cutters and other power-driven or spark-emitting machinery will be the biggest change, with a mandatory shutdown time between 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season public restrictions, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:
• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152
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