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.