ashland.news
July 18, 2024

Fire danger level in Southwest Oregon rises to ‘extreme’ Tuesday

The Salt Creek Fire as seen near mile marker 12 along Highway 140 on Sunday. Lisa Brostad photo via Rogue Valley Times
July 9, 2024

Restrictions on use of potential fire ignition sources go into effect over 1.8 million acres of ODF-protected land

Rogue Valley Times staff report

The lands in Jackson and Josephine counties under Oregon Department of Forestry protection will go into “extreme” (red) fire danger at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, the agency said in a release.

The change in danger level from “high” (yellow) comes as wildfires burn in Southern Oregon, including the roughly 1,500-acre Salt Creek Fire about 10 miles east of Eagle Point, fueled by dry vegetation amid intense summer heat.

The restrictions going into effect Tuesday after midnight “impact 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District,” the release said. Meanwhile, the “Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will remain at two (2).”

Those restrictions, according to the release:

  • “The use of power saws is prohibited, excluding electric chainsaws.
  • “The cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited.
  • “The mowing of dry or dead grass is prohibited.
  • “The operation of any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine not specifically mentioned above is prohibited.”

Meanwhile, here are restrictions and regulations now in effect that will stay that way “until the fire danger drops significantly,” the agency said:

  • “Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, and designated locations.
  • “Debris burning, including the use of burn barrels, is prohibited.
  • “Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in approved fire rings at designated campgrounds. In other locations clear of vegetation, portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
  • “Fireworks on or within 1/8th of a mile of ODF-protected land are prohibited. Fireworks are also prohibited on all BLM lands.
  • “Any electric fence controller in use shall be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and operated in compliance with the manufacturer’s fire-safe instructions.
  • “The use of exploding targets is prohibited.
  • “The use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.
  • “Motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, may only be used on improved roads free of flammable vegetation, except when used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • “Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher. All-terrain vehicles and motorcycles must be equipped with one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher.”

Additional information about fire season restrictions in ODF Southwest Oregon District is available at swofire.com.

This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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