Late Start to Wildfire Season Must Not Stop Oregonians from Fireproofing Their Properties

MEDFORD, Ore. —  A wet winter has contributed to a late start to the fire season but that must not stop Oregonians from fireproofing their homes and yards.

Climate changes are responsible for the late start to this year’s wildfire season which, by now, is usually underway.


June 1 Marks the Official Start of the Wildfire Season

The fire season will officially begin on June 1, but wildfires are not expected to pose a threat until later this summer.

The official start of the fire season in Jackson and Josephine counties is declared each season by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Southwest.

Jackson County Fire District 5 Fire Battalion Chief Brian Bolstad says they follow the fire season date set by the ODF and, although the danger of wildfires is not expected to pose a threat until later in the summer months, he encourages residents to fireproof their properties.

Bolstad says residents have become accustomed to the fire season starting on May 1, but because of then wetter weather conditions, it was sensible to have a late start to the season.

He says the late start has not deterred firefighting agencies from preparing for the fire season.

Firefighters have been practicing since spring by training with the rigs and the tools used more frequently during the fire season.

But east of the Cascades, a different picture is emerging. While snow is srtill visible on mountain peaks, the Public Information Officer of ODF Klamath-Lake District, Jennifer Case, says a hot weekend will quickly melt the icepacks. The Klamath-Lake fire district is expecting the season to begin earlier than that of Jackson and Josephine counties.

Case explained that the ODF Klamath-Lake District tests the moisture content of vegetation and soil to determine susceptibility to wildfires. Apart from testing energy release components, like vegetation and soil, Case says daily temperatures are also studied to determine the start of the fire season.

See also: Oregonians Should Defend Homes From Wildfires With Or Without Defensible Spaces Program Aid


Fireproofing Your Property

According to the Oregon Garden Fire Safety House website, properties have three distinct fire zones.

Zone 1 stretches from the home outwards about 30 feet. This area must be kept clean and green. Plant fire-resistant plants that are well spaced to reduce fire hazards. Ensure that plants, shrubs, and trees are watered regularly.

Zone 2 is the fire break that extends 100 feet from the perimeter of the house. Plant low-growing water-resistant plants. Limb up flammable tree branches well above the ground.

Zone 3 is the first line of defense extending beyond the 100-foot perimeter. Ensure to trim back and thin trees and clear out brush that can fuel fires.



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