The fire danger in Jackson and Josephine counties will heat up to the high level beginning Independence Day.
Citing an unusually dry spring and recent broiling temperatures, the Oregon Department of Forestry said the increased restrictions are a necessary precaution, given the explosive potential for wildfires in the region.
"With the high temperatures and the area being drier than normal, we are bumping up the restrictions," said Caitlin Goins, spokeswoman for ODF's Southwest Oregon District, which blankets the two counties.
The local start of high fire danger comes about a week earlier than last year.
With Thursday being the Fourth of July, officials are urging the public to use extreme caution when celebrating the holiday because of the growing fire danger.
"We want to make sure people use fireworks only where they are allowed," she said. "As far as forestland, no fireworks are permitted on any forest."
Residents should check with local authorities if they have any questions regarding the use of fireworks, she said.
Wildland fire starts are running about 30 percent higher this year compared to last year on lands protected by the district, she said. So far this year, there have been 109 fires, compared to 89 last year at this time. Of the 109, 85 were human-caused this year, she said.
The district covers 1.8 million acres of U.S. Bureau of Land Management, state, county and private lands.
"We're looking at the possibility of lightning for the next two days," Goins said. "We will have extra patrols out."
The public can assist firefighters by being cautious when outside and following the increased restrictions, she said.
When the district boosts the fire danger to high on Thursday, the public-use restrictions will include:
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or firstname.lastname@example.org.