CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Fire season is nearly upon Southern Oregon, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry's (ODF) Southwest Oregon District. They have set the date for Friday, June 1, beginning just after midnight.
“Rainfall across southwest Oregon is below average, and the above normal temperatures this May are causing our grasses to cure rapidly in the lower elevations,” said Dave Larson, Southwest Oregon District Forester. “In order to help curb the number of human-caused fires, especially escaped backyard debris burns, the conditions are ripe to declare fire season.”
The declaration means that all state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties will be subject to restrictions intended to prevent the risk of fire outbreak:
- No burning of debris piles, or burning debris in burn barrels
- No fireworks
- No tracer ammunition
- No exploding targets
For now, the fire danger level for the public will be set at "low" (green) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level will be I (one).
Last year, fire season started on June 4 and ended October 20—lasting a total of 138 days. A total of 350 fires blackened just over 1,000 acres over the course of the season.
According to the 10-year average of fires on the District, 230 fires may burn more than 5,600 acres during fire season. Having kept statistics well below those projections, ODF Southwest Oregon considers last year to have been a successful one, and they say that they hope to make a safe and aggressive initial attack on fire season this year.