Jackson And Josephine Counties Alerts: Fire Danger Levels Rising And Air Quality Gets Worse

The fire danger level in Jackson and Josephine counties has been raised to reflect a red alert (“extreme”) in an announcement by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). The Wildfires in Eagle Point (Salt Creek fire) and Siskiyou County ( Shelly fire) are also influencing air quality and the Jackson County Public Health Department issued an air quality alert for the county


Fire Danger Level Raised To “Extreme” In Rogue Valley

The increased fire danger alert came into effect on Tuesday, July 9 at 12:01 a.m. because of the hot weather, dry vegetation, and several active fires burning across the region. It stretches over 1.8 million acres of private, county, city, and state land including land under the Bureau of Land Management protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

While the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will remain at level 2, the following public fire restrictions will be enforced from Tuesday:

  • No mowing of dry or dead grass.
  • No cutting, grinding, and welding of metal.
  • No power saws may be used-excluding electric chainsaws.
  • Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine not mentioned above cannot be operated.


This is over and above current fire prevention regulations that remain in effect and include:

  • No open fires except on designated campgrounds in approved fire rings. Portable cooking stoves with bottled or liquefied fuels may be used in other areas where they are clear of vegetation.
  • No debris burning, including the using burn barrels.
  • No fireworks on BLM land or within 1/8th of a mile of ODF-protected land.
  • No smoking while traveling, except in designated locations, vehicles on improved roads, and boats on the water.
  • Firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways, county roads, and driveways.
  • Motor vehicles, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles can only be used on improved roads free of flammable vegetation, excluding commercial culture and harvest of crops use.
  • Tracer ammunition and exploding targets or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.
  • Electric fence controllers must be operated in compliance with the manufacturer’s fire-safety instructions and comply with nationally recognized testing laboratory standards certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services.


More information about the regulations can be obtained from the nearest District unit office:

  • Grants Pass: (541) 474-3152 or at 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass.
  • Medford: (541) 664-3328 or at 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point.


Jackson County Air Quality Alert

With lower air quality posing a risk of illness, Jackson County residents have been encouraged to avoid exercising and stay indoors.  Jackson County Public Health’s Health Promotion and Preparedness Manager, Tanya Phillips also warned that people with chronic health conditions could feel their conditions worsen.

The people at the highest risk include:

  • People with chronic health conditions especially asthma and diabetes, or other heart or lung diseases
  • Adults over 65 years
  • Pregnant women
  • Children under 18 years
  • Outdoor workers


Jackson County Public Health indicated that the air will be affected by the wildfires for at least the next few days. Impacted by fire activity and weather patterns, the low air quality arises from smoke levels that rise and fall quickly, depending on wind direction and the amount of smoke produced.

Wildfires in neighboring states and counties could also affect Jackson County’s air quality.

NIOSH-approved respirators- if properly used, are more effective and an Oregon Health Authority program that supports people with medical assistance, helping to get air conditions and air filters, can be accessed on their website here.

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