MEDFORD, Ore. -- Although fire season is over for southern Oregon and northern California, the threat of wildfires is year-round. The Oregon Department of Forestry is reminding community members that significant wildfires can happen during winter months.
ODF says the wildfires tearing through southern California right now are a reminder that wildfires can happen at anytime.
"So a lot of people remember last year we had a pretty wet and heavy snow winter, however the year before that we had I believe over a 70 acre fire and years before that we've had anywhere between 50 to 1,000 acres and it's because sometimes we will get a late season start," said ODF Fire Prevention Specialist Melissa Cano.
While fire danger remains low, Cano says it only takes one dry spell for a wildfire to get out of hand.
"Even though the fire danger is low on a lot of the signs you see... it's important to remember that a wildfire can still start," said Cano. "Whether that be a camp fire that someone didn't properly extinguish or sometimes a structure fire that extends to wild land. Things like that under the right weather, the right fuels can take off."
Medford Fire-Rescue says firefighters see a higher response to portable space heater fires and chimney/flue fires as temperatures cool down. Firefighters suggest getting your chimney inspected every year and to follow these tips when it comes to heaters:
Portable heater safety recommendations by Medford Fire Rescue Include:
- Keep heaters a minimum of 36" away from combustibles
- Plug directly into wall outlet. Don't use an extension cord or power strip.
- Use only heaters with built-in high temperature and tip-over shutoff features
- Do not use un-vented fuel fired heaters in-doors
- Do not hang combustible items to dry over a heater
- Turn off portable heaters when family members are sleeping or leave the house
- Keep heaters out of high traffic areas and exit paths
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