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Fire season starts Monday; fire danger moderate

 Posted: 9:25 AM May 30, 2014

A dry winter and expected warm weather has prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to announced that fire season will begin Monday for southwestern Oregon.

The fire danger level will be moderate and the industrial fire precaution level will be level 1. The declaration affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Fire season is determined by the state forester when vegetation becomes dry, making fires harder to control.

According to a release from ODF, the dry winter has left dead vegetation unusually low on moisture content. The extended forecast for summer in southwestern Oregon predicts hotter and drier than normal conditions, increasing the likelihood of wildfires starting easily and increasing in size more rapidly.

The fire precaution regulations prohibit activities, such as debris burning, that commonly cause wildfires in late spring and early summer.

Fire season restrictions that will go into effect on June 2 are as follows:

  • Debris burning will be prohibited, except burn barrels for which a burn permit has been obtained from ODF or local structural fire protection districts. Burn barrel use will be completely prohibited beginning July 1.
  • The use of fireworks on forestlands will be prohibited; exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, also will be prohibited.

In the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial:

  • Campfires must be in fire pans or on a fire blanket that is placed on sand or gravel bars between the river and the high water mark, and only in areas which are naturally free of flammable vegetation.
  • Smoking will be permitted on sand and gravel bars between the river and the high water mark, and only in areas naturally free of flammable vegetation, or in boats and rafts while on the river.
  • Travelers must carry a shovel and a bucket with a capacity of at least one gallon.

Commercial operations, such as timber harvesting conducted on forestlands, will be required to have fire suppression equipment on the job site at all times. A watchman must also be provided.

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