KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Fire Season officially begins Saturday in Klamath and Lake counties, bringing with it the beginning of fire danger restrictions on public and private forestlands.
“Where we are at with fuel conditions, lack of spring rains, extreme and exceptional drought, and continuous fire activity in Klamath County, Lake County, and around the state, Klamath-Lake District will be declaring fire season on Saturday, May 15th at 12:01 AM.” stated Randall Baley, Protection Unit Forester with the Oregon Department of Forestry. “The total package of conditions all adds up to make the public aware of the situation and minimize the potential for human-caused fires.”
The change means outdoor debris burning is now prohibited on ODF-protected lands in both counties, and other restrictions begin. At the outset, Klamath and Lake will be on "Moderate" (blue) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level will be set at level one.
Forest operations that require a permit to operate power-driven machinery are now required to have fire tools, an on-site water supply, and watchman service on private timberlands.
Moderate Fire Danger means:
- Fires can start from most accidental causes, but with the exception of lightning fires in some areas, the number of starts is generally low.
- Fires in open-cured grassland will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Wood fires spread slowly to moderately fast.
- The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel, especially draped fuel, may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent.
- Fires are not likely to become serious, and control is relatively easy.
IFPL I: Closed Season - Fire precaution requirements are in effect. A Fire Watch is required at this and all higher levels unless otherwise waived.
- Fire extinguisher and shovel must be with each chainsaw
- Fire extinguishers must be in all vehicles
- Chainsaws must have a .023-inch mesh screen installed in the exhaust
- Approved spark arresters must be on all internal combustion engines
- Watchmen service must be provided for 1 hour after shutdown of power equipment for the day unless otherwise specified
- No smoking is permitted while working or traveling through any operations area on public land except while in enclosed vehicles
- Permits to burn are required unless waived in advance
Fire officials issued a reminder to the public that abandoned campfires are the primary cause of human-caused wildfires on public lands. While most of these fires stay small and are easy for firefighters to put out, an exception can threaten lives, destroy property, and transfigure forestlands.
"Whether accidental or intentional, people start wildfires every year in south central Oregon," officials said. "These wildfires cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to suppress and endanger lives and our natural resources. Let us all do our part to protect these places we live by being diligent with our ignitions and leaving all fireworks at home."