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With prescribed burns and ordinances, cities prepare for fire season

Grass can't be taller than ten inches.

Posted: Apr 26, 2019 6:41 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The city of Medford is moving up the deadline to have grass and weeds cut to a certain height in preparation for fire season. 

The deadline is usually June 1. It's now May 1. Mark Shay, deputy fire marshal with Medford Fire - Rescue says this is to create an extra buffer from when restrictions are put in place on gasoline-run machinery -- like lawn mowers -- that can start fires.

Those restrictions usually go into effect mid-June.

Grass can't be taller than ten inches. There are some exceptions. These include:

  • Ornamental shrubs, bushes, or other vegetation maintained and kept in a landscaped yard,
  • Any crop grown and maintained for agricultural purposes, or vegetation grown and maintained for pasturage,
  • Any "natural area" within a public park in the City of Medford

If you violate these rules, you could face a fine. 

Ashland's weed and grass ordinance goes into effect June 15. Ashland Fire - Rescue is also working on a series of controlled burns to prepare for fire season.

It's part of an Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship project. They burned about 15 acres Friday, and plan to do more Saturday. They have to wait for ideal conditions to burn. They've been rained out in the past. 

"We've got 100 plus years of fire suppression and field build-up to make up for, so it's not a problem that we're going to solve tomorrow," Chris Chambers, the fire divisions chief of Ashland Fire - Rescue, said. 

He added he thinks this fire season could be better than the past several years, but weather could easily change that.

"It's predicted to be more like the average fire season whereas the past couple years have been way above average fire seasons."

CLICK HERE to see details about the Ashland grass and weed ordinance.

CLICK HERE to see details about the Medford grass and weed ordinance.

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