Fire season on ODF-protected lands starts Wednesday

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Fire season is about to begin on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in southwest Oregon.

ODF said the agency’s 2022 fire season starts on Wednesday, June 1. The fire danger level starts at “Low” and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level will be 1.

The lands affected include 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city, and Bureau of Land Management forestland in Jackson and Josephine Counties.

ODF’s Southwest Oregon District provided the following list of activities that are prohibited starting Wednesday:

·       No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.

·       No fireworks on or within 1/8 of a mile of forestland.

·       Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited.

·       Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds, and on private land with the landowner’s permission. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used as well.

·       Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.

·       Any electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation.

Under IFPL I (one) – fire season requirements are in effect. In addition to the following:

·       A Firewatch is required at this and all higher levels unless otherwise waived.

“A lot of times when we go into fire season and we have that declaration we still see people lighting off debris piles and at that point, it’s illegal its not only a fire hazard its also illegal, we just ask people to be aware of those restrictions,” said ODF Spokeswoman Natalie Weber.

According to the government drought monitor, Jackson County, and almost all of southern Oregon, is still in extreme drought. A group of Oregon State University experts even discussed our dire snowpack earlier this month.

“In the Rogue Basin specifically, it usually gets peak snow water equivalent usually around April 1st and this year it was well below average there,” said Larry O’Neill State Climatologist & OSU professor.

ODF says in the next 3 weeks it will bring on 130 seasonal staff. That includes firefighters, detection specialists, and dispatchers. It’s now asking you to do your part as we enter fire season. ODf says about 80% of the fires it responds to, are human-caused.

“Think about little ways you can mitigate fire just in your every day, whether you’re out doing yard work or if you’re driving down the road on vacation there are so many things that just take a minute to pay attention to that can mean one less fire this season,” said Weber.

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