Drought conditions and scorching temperatures that set a record on Monday are prompting the Oregon Department of Forestry to increase restrictions for logging sites and other commercial operations in Jackson and Josephine counties.
The restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. July 14. Under the guidelines, the use of fire in any form is prohibited. The restrictions extend to 1.8 million acres of state, county, private and Bureau of Land Management lands.
Monday's temperature of 102 degrees in Medford broke the old record for July 7, set in 2010, by 1 degree. Ashland's high was 97 degrees, two degrees below its record, set in 1905.
Cloud cover gave Rogue Valley residents some relief on Tuesday, when the temperature dropped by about 10 degrees, but triple-digit highs were expected the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service. Nighttime lows are not expected to drop below the mid-60s.
Starting Monday, power saws will be prohibited between 1 and 8 p.m., except at loading sites. The use of cable yarders, blasting, welding and metal cutting also will be prohibited.
Commercial operators on forestlands will be required to have fire suppression equipment at the ready.
"It's a normal trend. We're ahead of schedule," said ODF spokesman Brian Ballou. "We normally wouldn't go into this level of industrial precaution until later in July or even early August."
Public restrictions on debris burning, campfires, power tools and smoking on ODF lands were instituted June 16 and remain in effect.
Jackson County Health & Human Services encouraged area residents to drink plenty of fluids, wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that is light-colored, and avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade or air-conditioned areas.
Anyone working or recreating outdoors should scale back their activity level and take short rest breaks. Physical activity should be scheduled during the morning or evening hours, when it is cooler.
The department also encouraged residents to check on elderly relatives or neighbors at least once a day and make sure their living environment remains cool.
Children and pets should not be left in cars, even with the windows cracked.