So. Oregon fire agencies increasing fire danger levels ahead of 4th of July


MEDFORD, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Forestry announcing an increase to the fire danger level in Jackson and Josephine counties from ‘moderate’ to ‘high’, starting Friday at midnight.

But that’s just one of the changes in our region.

Just this week, fire agencies have increased fire danger levels across southern Oregon.

Jackson, Josephine and Douglas are all at ‘high’ this weekend.

On the coast, Coos and Curry county are at moderate, while Klamath and Lake counties have increased to moderate as well.

“We’re hitting the 90s and early 100s in the forecast,” ODF Southwest spokesperson Natalie Weber said. “That really kind of the turning point when we start seeing that warm actually hot consistent. What it really comes down to is just the heat that we’re seeing and just the increased risk for fires at this point.”

ODF Southwest said in Jackson and Josephine counties, the change to ‘high’ goes into affect Saturday.

Although the Klamath-Lake district is at moderate, ODF said Fourth of July celebrations could increase the chance of fires, despite fireworks not being allowed on or within 1/8th of a mile of ODF protected lands.

“Going into the holiday weekend more folks are going to be out in about and so we just want to make sure if folks do go out and recreate or whatever it may be, that they’re just being safe, making sure if they have a campfire if they’re camping make sure those are in designated camp sites,” ODF Klamath-Lake District spokesperson Jennifer Case said.

As far as fireworks go for the Fourth of July, Medford allows for fireworks within city limits, but if your in the hills of east Medford,  that is a different story.

“Fireworks are restricted in the east side of town, so the foothills and north Phoenix road fireworks are not allowed at anytime up there,” Medford deputy fire marshal Tanner Fairrington said.

Fairrington said fireworks are allowed from July 1st to July 6th, except in ‘wildfire zones’ such as the hills of east Medford, the Bear Creek Greenway and parks and schools in the city.

He said it’s important to have tools and water at the ready while using fireworks.

Compared to last year at this time, it’s been dryer and warmer leading up to America’s birthday, which is a concern for Medford Fire.

“Just depending on time of day, we’re probably a little bit more likely to see fire this year especially with it being warmer and dryer little bit of wind, it’s going to be easier for fires to start and with the wind for them to travel faster,” Fairrington said.

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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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