ROGUE VALLEY, Ore — With hot, windy and dry conditions presenting fire danger throughout southern Oregon, the Oregon Department of Forestry is urging people to be extra cautious.
“The lack of rain, the sun and windy conditions are really just prime conditions for fires to start and spread really quickly.” Natalie Weber, ODF Public Information Officer, told NBC5.
The Department says it responded to more than 20 fires within the past two weeks – largely caused by escaped debris burns.
“If people have done debris burns in the last couple of months, I would caution them to check them,” Weber said. “Debris burns can reignite in conditions like this, even months later.”
On Wednesday, multiple agencies including ODF responded to three separate fires in Josephine County. The Tarter Gulch was the largest and burned about 33 acres.
Due to “unfavorable weather conditions,” Klamath and Josephine counties are banning the open burn window starting Saturday April 17th. Klamath is suspending it until Monday April 19th, while Josephine County will be for the next two weeks.
Klamath County is currently under an emergency drought, declared by Governor Kate Brown last month.
To help prevent disastrous fires, ODF encourages homeowners to remove any dead or flammable vegetation. Weber says to make sure people are barbecuing on a patio and away from dry vegetation.
The cause of the Tarter Gulch and Goldbrook fires remain under investigation.