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DailyTidings.com
  • Fire danger increases to extreme

  • An unusually long string of high temperatures topping 100 degrees has increased the risk of wildfires in Southern Oregon.
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  • An unusually long string of high temperatures topping 100 degrees has increased the risk of wildfires in Southern Oregon.
    The Oregon Department of Forestry reported today that officials are raising the fire danger level in Jackson and Josephine counties to extreme starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
    This affects use of power-driven equipment such as chainsaws and mowers on 1.8 million acres of state, county, private and Bureau of Land Management lands in southwest Oregon.
    Starting Saturday, chainsaw use will be prohibited between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Use is allowed at all other times if users have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher that is eight ounces or larger present.
    Cutting and grinding metal, welding, the mowing of dry or dead grass with power equipment and the operation of any spark-emitting machinery also will be prohibited between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
    Public restrictions on debris burning, campfires, power tools and smoking on ODF lands that were instituted June 16 remain in effect.
    The change in the fire danger level was necessitated by a long period of temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, fire officials said.
    The National Weather Service office in Medford reports that seven of the last 11 days have reached or exceeded the 100-degree mark.
    That's close to twice the average number of days that typically reach that temperature for the whole month, according to data the agency has been collecting since 1916.
    Meteorologists have recorded temperatures of 100 or higher on July 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, and 17. An eighth addition could happen today with a possible 100-degree forecast, according to the weather service's Facebook page.
    It's still not quite into true record-breaking territory, however. Both 1973 and 1990 Julys netted 13 days at or above 100 degrees.
    The current heat wave is expected to taper after Saturday, with temperatures expected to drop to the low 90s-high 80s range Monday through Wednesday or Thursday.
    "They're still going to be near 90 degrees," meteorologist Mike Petrucelli said.
    "Compared to what we've had recently, it's going to feel cooler."
    — Ryan Pfeil
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