Fire danger level decreases to ‘moderate’ on ODF protected lands in Jackson, Josephine Counties

MEDFORD. Ore — The Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest District has decreased the fire danger level to “moderate,” on its lands following the rain across the region over the weekend.

The new level, currently in effect as of Sunday, allows for restrictions to slightly loosen on a few activities. ODF says chain saws, brush cutters and other power-driven/spark-emitting machinery, can be used before 1:00pm and after 8:00pm. 

So far this year, ODF says it responded to about 300 hundred fires across both counties, and only 375 acres were burned.

“We just appreciate people continuing to follow the restrictions,” Natalie Weber, public information officer for ODF SW, told NBC5 Monday. “Just because we got some rain, doesn’t mean that it’s time to let our guard down. We want to finish the season without having a fire bigger than 60 acres.”

The list of current restrictions from ODF are below:

Other fire prevention regulations which will remain in effect, include:

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

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

  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited.
  • Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used in other locations.
  • Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads; one shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
  • Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.
  • Chain saws may not be used between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. During hours outside of this time frame, chain saws may be used but require that the operator have one shovel and one 8-oz or larger fire extinguisher at the work site. A fire watch is also required for one hour after each chainsaw use.
  • Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. These activities will be allowed during hours outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.
  • The mowing of dead or dried grass with power-driven equipment is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. This restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine-use not specifically mentioned is not allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. Use of any spark-emitting internal combustion engine is allowed outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.
  • 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.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Season regulations, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:

·       Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point – (541) 664-3328

·       Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass – (541) 474-3152

Anthony Carter is a reporter for NBC5 News. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2019. Anthony started his career as a print journalist, covering New York sports and the NBA Draft. He then started his own sports podcast and website covering the Arena Football League. Anthony moved to the Rogue Valley in 2019 as a news producer before joining the NBC5 News family. Anthony likes to workout at the gym, play basketball, and root for his Atlanta Hawks and New York Jets. Want to connect with Anthony? send him an email: [email protected]
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