Despite cooler weather, fire season’s far from over

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — With fall-like weather in the forecast, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District has changed the fire danger level from extreme to high.

“There’s just a lot of factors that go into that decision,” said ODF Public Information Officer Natalie Weber, “and it’s mainly the weather,” she said. “Just the shift that we’ve seen recently with those cooler temperatures, the rain, it really helped us to make that decision to lower it down to high, and let people use some of their yard maintenance tools again.”

While warmer temps are expected, ODF said it doesn’t think it’ll be enough to go back to extreme this year.

“It could get up into the 90s later this week and we’re prepared for that,” Weber said, “but we’re just not seeing the consistent heat that we have been.”

“We never did go to extreme fire danger this summer,” said Rob Budge with the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest, who said most of their lands are at a higher elevation than ODF’s state lands. “We’re planning to stay at high fire danger for the next few days to mainly see when the moisture’s gonna come in and when fire season’s gonna end for us,” Budge said.

As we head into perfect camping weather and hunting season, Budge said that awareness shouldn’t change. “For the forest service that means we have campfires that are only allowed in designated campgrounds,” he said.

Both agencies agreed that even though we’re in the latter half of fire season, it’s far from over.

“Remember burning’s not allowed in fire season at all, no matter what,” said Weber.

“Be careful, if you have a campfire have it in a designated area, be sure to put it cold out,” Budge said. “We get enough fires as it is, and we don’t need additional fires by people being careless.”

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