ODF asking people to be cautious outside with uptick in human-caused fires

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Forestry is investigating numerous human-caused fires in southern Oregon.

They’re asking people to be extra cautious, especially in the middle of fire season.

ODF wants people to know that a human-caused fire does not always mean it’s arson, in fact, most of the time, they say fires are caused accidentally.

ODF tells us in the last 10 days, there’s been numerous human-caused fires in Jackson and Josephine counties, but most of them are still under investigation.

The only exception to that is last week’s 65-acre grass fire in Central Point.

Fire District 3 revealed it was caused by sparks at a construction site.

ODF said it’s critical people look at the fire restrictions in their area, before using outdoor equipment that could create sparks.

“We get a lot of equipment use fires this time of year,” ODF fire prevention coordinator Tom Fields said. “And people need to be cognizant of that and do what they can to make sure they’re vehicles are in good working order, if they’re using any type of equipment that have spark arresters to make sure those are working.”

ODF said anything that is not caused by lightning qualifies as human-caused.

Vehicles dragging chains, hot car exhausts near vegetation, mowing on dry grass and leaving a campfire site unattended are some of the most common ways fires are started.

ODF tells us 90% of fires started in Oregon this year have been human-caused.

Typically, it’s 70% to 80%.

However, they say less lightning-caused fires could be the reason for the uptick.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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