Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, May 23 2012 at 3:17 PM, Updated: Wed, May 23 2012 at 3:30 PM
Fire season is getting an early start in Klamath and Lake counties this year, with additional restrictions going into effect on Friday.
Dennis Lee of the Oregon Department of Forestry reports that dry conditions and warmer temperatures in Klamath and Lake counties have sparked an early start to fire season...
"Normally, we try to do it around the first of June, so this is a little bit earlier. We've been seeing some activity, some escaped debris burns."
An escaped debris burn ignited a 17 acre fire northeast of Chiloquin last week. On Tuesday, fire crews managed to get full containment of the 460 acre 'Hickey Fire' burning eight miles east of Lakeview.
"And that's telling us that it's dry enough, that we need to get fire season declared." Says Lee.
The fire season declaration puts a strict ban on all outdoor debris burning. Additional restrictions will also go into effect for commercial operations in the woods. Lee adds that the Oregon Department of Forestry will soon be getting a lot busier...
"We're going to be bringing our full staffing on here fairly soon. And, I think we'll be sitting very good here in the Klamath Basin for resources, engines, hand crews."
Lee notes that fire prevention efforts, and quick responses have helped to keep costs down. "You never really know how these things are going to play out. If we get a really horrendous fire season, that of course, costs money."
Fire season has already been declared for the Walker Range District in northern Klamath County.
Friday's fire season declaration for Lake and Klamath counties coincides with the start of Memorial Day weekend...
Those headed out into the woods are reminded that campfires will only be allowed in designated areas.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.