ODF warns fire season isn’t over after several fires started in four days

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – It might be October, but after several small fires the past few days and a warm week in the forecast, firefighters are preaching caution.

With temperatures expected to reach the upper 80’s this week, the Oregon Department of Forestry wants people to be careful outdoors.

The agency said fire season is far from over with fire danger risk at moderate.

“There are still a fair amount of regulations that are in effect right now,” ODF spokesperson Natalie Weber said. “Really what we look for in that sense is the rain, which we just haven’t had recently.”

Even though it’s fall, the Rogue Valley has seen little rain, dry conditions and now temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80’s this week.

ODF Southwest said although the highest risk of fire danger is coming to a close, there can be fires at any time.

“We really can have fires here all year round,” Weber said. “We actually responded to fires and been fighting fires out in the snow in December before. We live in a very fire prone area, it doesn’t matter the season, we’re still going to see fires on the landscape.”

In the past four days, ODF has responded to three fires.

The most recent, the Anderson Butte Fire, burning seven miles south of Jacksonville on Sunday, mapping out at 25 acres before the perimeter was completely lined.

On Saturday, Illinois Valley Fire and ODF responded to a fast-moving vegetation fire in cave junction that threatened several structures, burning just over an acre.

As fires continue to pop-up, ODF wants people to be cautious while doing daily activities. 

“We really need to partner with the community on this front,” Weber said. “Because we’re going to be here to put out the fires, but as much as we can prevent them from starting, that’s going to be the key to success.”

During moderate conditions, there is no debris burning allowed, campfires can only be done on designated campgrounds and any spark-emitting machinery can be used before 1 p.m. and after 8 p.m. daily.

Despite a wet spring and rain a few weeks ago, we’ll have to see much more before fire season can come to a close.

“The effects of that are long gone,” Weber said. “Everything is completely dried out. Even from the rain we saw a couple weeks ago, so we need more rain in the forecast and more consistent rain, not just a quick storm here or there, to be able to make any changes.”

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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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