Fire danger level jumps to 'High' day before 4th of July for southwest Oregon

Both public and industrial fire danger levels are going up on Wednesday for Jackson and Josephine counties, bringing new restrictions.

Posted: Jul 2, 2019 10:34 AM
Updated: Jul 2, 2019 10:42 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Just in time for Independence Day, the fire danger level across Jackson and Josephine counties will rise, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).

Starting just after midnight on the morning of Wednesday, July 3, the public fire danger level increases to "High" (yellow). Meanwhile, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level II takes effect after midnight on Monday morning, July 8.

Restrictions started at the beginning of Fire Season on June 1, and went up to "Moderate" (blue) on June 19.

"Increased fire danger on forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District has made it necessary to increase the fire prevention measures for the public, as well as on industrial operations, such as logging sites and other commercial operations. The industrial fire restrictions are separate from the general public," ODF said.

The public regulations in effect on Wednesday include the following:

  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels;
  • No fireworks on or within 1/8 of a mile of 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.

For industrial operators, the following activities are banned beginning on Monday:

  • The use of power saws, except at loading sites.
  • Feller-bunchers with rotary head saws.
  • Cable Yarding
  • Blasting
  • Cutting, grinding, or welding of metal.

"Additionally, commercial operators on forestlands are required to have fire suppression equipment on site and provide watchman service," ODF said.

For more information on Fire Season you can visit the ODF Southwest website here.

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