MEDFORD, Ore. — The 2018 Fire Season has come to an official end for state-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties, according to a statement issued on Monday from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Southwest District.
"After 151 days of being ramped up and ready to fight wildland fires, the 2018 fire season ends today," ODF said.
A hot, dry summer made for a particularly challenging Fire Season in the area — due in large part to the lightning storm of July 15, which sparked a flurry of starts, several of which would grow into major wildfires. The Garner Complex, Taylor Creek Fire, Klondike Fire, Miles Fire, Natchez Fire and Hendrix Fire all stemmed from the same storm, burning hundreds of thousands of acres in southwest Oregon.
ODF said that their crews worked on 348 wildfires, totalling about 50,000 acres of burned land. Of those fires, ODF said, 106 were directly linked to lightning.
"This total fire count does not even include the number of alarms firefighters responded to related to fire restriction violations, assisting our local partners, and smoke chases throughout Jackson and Josephine Counties," ODF said.
The end of Fire Season represents a total lifting of fire prevention regulations for equipment use and debris burning for both public and industrial uses. That said, many local fire agencies require permits for debris burning, so ODF recommends checking with the local fire department before burning.
"This is a great reminder; while fire season is over, fire prevention must continue. Please be vigilant while burning debris making sure that a burn pile is never left unattended. Also, please use caution while using machinery that could produce a spark. Fall weather in Southern Oregon can vary greatly," ODF said.
In addition to the 106 lightning-caused fires, there were 80 due to equipment use, 50 due to debris burning, 39 due to recreation, 35 due "miscellaneous," 22 due to smoking, 11 due to arson and five caused by juveniles throughout the 2018 Fire Season according to Natalie Weber with ODF Southwest.