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Fire-Related News - 2012

Local & regional news releases, articles & ODF bulletins

A chronological listing, with excerpts & links, for 2012

 

NOTE:  Not all regional fire news is included here.  For more, see:

The Oregon Department of Forestry website at: http://www.swofire.oregon.gov/ and their Wildfires page at: http://www.swofire.oregon.gov/ODF/FIRE/fire.shtml, which has links at the top to "Fire Stats, Info and Updates," fires chronologies, and more.

The CAL-FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) website at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/, which has links to a listing of fire incidents.

 


 

2012 FIRE SEASON SUMMARY:  

The ODF declared Wed., June 20th, to be the official start date of the 2012 fire season. The fire danger level moved up to “Moderate” (blue) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) became 1 (one).

The fire danger level rose to High (yellow) on Friday, July 13th. The IFPL-Industrial Fire Precaution Level remained at Level 1 (one). A 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM curfew went into effect for numerous regulated public activities, with other restrictions remaining in effect "24/7."

Fire danger increased to EXTREME (RED) on Thursday, Aug. 16th, with curfew hours for all regulated activities starting earlier, at 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM, and with all other regulations remaining in effect 24/7. The IFPL (industrial) at this time remains at Level 2 (two).

On Sat., October 13th, after light rain (the first rain in over two months), the ODF lowered the posted fire danger level to "HIGH." The IFPL remains at Level Two. Curfew hours for publicly regulated activities begin at 1:00 PM daily instead of 10:00 AM; all other posted fire restrictions remain in effect around the clock 24/7.

Due to recent rainfall, the ODF called fire season on the morning of Tues., October 16th, declaring it officially over, with the posted fire danger level now "LOW" (Green), and all public use regulations and restrictions lifted. The 2012 fire season began June 20 and lasted 127 days. According to the ODF, the average length of fire season is 142 days.

_____________________

All ODF (Southwest Oregon district) fire danger declarations affect state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

 


 

ODF's October 16th, 2012, bulletin declaring the end of fire season:

 

October 16, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock Rd
Medford, OR 97502

ROGUE RIVER-SISKIYOU NATIONAL FOREST
Supervisor’s Office
3040 Biddle Rd.
Medford, OR 97504

Contact: Brian Ballou, ODF, (541) 665-0662 or (541) 621-4156
Virginia Gibbons, USFS, (541) 618-2113


FIRE SEASON IS OVER ON SOUTHWEST OREGON FORESTLANDS

Fire season ended this morning on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The fire danger level is “low” (green).

All public regulated use restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Level regulations have been terminated on ODF-protected lands, which covers state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The same is true on Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest lands, including the wild section of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River.

The fire season began June 20 and lasted 127 days. The average length of fire season is 142 days.

Woody debris pile and barrel burning are now allowed on ODF-protected lands. However, open burning is regulated for air quality. Before lighting your pile or burn barrel, call the open burning advisory number for your county:

• Jackson County, (541) 776-7007
• Josephine County, (541) 476-WOOD

Also, some cities do not allow open burning, and many rural fire protection districts require a burning permit. Contact your local structural fire service provider to obtain any necessary permits before burning.

[Note that while the Colestin Rural Fire District does not require burning permits, it is always a good idea to call and let us know that you are burning debris, as a safety precaution and so that we do not respond to false alarms.]

Fire prevention tips and fuel reduction grant information is available online at www.swofire.oregon.gov and at ODF Southwest Oregon District unit offices:

• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd.; (541) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr.; (541) 474-3152

For fire-related information on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, call the Medford Interagency Communication Center at (800) 267-3126, or online at www.ormic.org.

###

Brian Ballou
Fire Prevention Specialist
ODF Southwest Oregon District
(541) 665-0662
bballou@odf.state.or.us

See ODF's October 16th, 2012, bulletin declaring the end of fire season  (PDF format).

 


 

ODF's bulletin of October 13th announcing the lowering of the posted fire danger level to "HIGH":

October 13, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD
Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Brian Ballou, (541) 621-4156

RAIN DAMPENS FIRE DANGER IN SW OREGON

The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties dropped to “high” this morning, due to light rain across the region. Chain saws, power mowers, brush cutters, and other equipment employing internal combustion engines may now be used until 1:00 p.m. Since Aug. 16, power equipment had to be shut down at 10:00 a.m.

Also, in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial, campers may now use charcoal fires in raised fire pans for cooking.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level remains at level 2 (two).

All current public regulated use fire prevention restrictions are detailed below. These regulations affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

Public regulated use restrictions now in effect:

• Power-driven machinery must be shut down between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. This applies to:

o Chain saws. Users must have an ax, a shovel and an 8-oz or larger fire extinguisher at the job site, and a fire watch is required for one hour after the saw is shut down.

o Mowers and brush cutters. This restriction does not apply to lawn mowers being used on green grass, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

o Cutting, grinding or welding metal. During use hours, the work site must be cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply must be at the job site.

o Any other spark-emitting machinery. This applies to, but is not limited to, generators, firewood splitters and chippers. This equipment should be used only in a cleared area, and a water supply and shovel must be kept close at hand.

 

[The following restrictions remain in effect 24/7:]

• Debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels, is not allowed.

• Fireworks are not allowed in forests and other wildland areas.

• Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed in other locations.

• Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads.

• Smoking while traveling is allowed only in enclosed vehicles on improved roads.

• Tracer ammunition and exploding targets may not be used in wildland areas.

• Electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation.

In the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial, the following fire prevention restrictions are now in effect:

• Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, cooking fires and warming fires. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels, and charcoal fires for cooking and built in raised fire pans, are allowed on sand or gravel bars that lie between water and high water marks which are free of vegetation. Ashes must be hauled out.

• Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in boats on the water, and on sand or gravel bars that lie between water and high water marks that are free of vegetation.

• A shovel and a one-gallon or larger bucket are required of all travelers.

• Fireworks are prohibited

For further information about fire restrictions in other parts of the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River, contact the Smullin Visitor Center located at the Rand National Historic Site at (541) 479-3735, or your local Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest office.

Information about fire season restrictions on ODF-protected lands is available online at www.swofire.oregon.gov and at ODF Southwest Oregon District unit offices:

• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd: (541) 664-3328

• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr: (541) 474-3152

Brian Ballou
Fire Prevention Specialist
ODF Southwest Oregon District
(541) 665-0662
bballou@odf.state.or.us

###


 

REWARD OFFERED:  The Oregon Dept. of Forestry and the Oregon Council Against Arson are offering up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person, or people, who caused the Slate Creek Fire on Labor Day just southwest of Grants Pass. See ODF's 9-26-12 bulletin (PDF format).

 


 

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry issued a reminder to hunters and other users of the outdoors, reiterating the extreme fire danger and current regulations:

September 26, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock Rd
Medford, OR 97502

ROGUE RIVER-SISKIYOU NATIONAL FOREST
Supervisor’s Office
3040 Biddle Rd.
Medford, OR 97504

Contact: Paul Galloway, USFS, (541) 471-6755
Greg Alexander or Ashley Du Brey, ODF, (541) 664-3328

FIRE DANGER EXTREME IN SOUTHWEST OREGON FORESTS

Wildfire danger in southwest Oregon’s forests is extreme and hunters are reminded to be careful while camping, hiking or driving through the woods. September and October are high-risk months because grasses, weeds, fallen needles and leaves are fully dried and will ignite easily. A sudden afternoon breeze can easily turn a smoldering cigarette or abandoned warming fire into a large, potentially destructive wildfire.

Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds, and campfires must always be fully extinguished before leaving a campsite or going to bed. Keep a shovel, ax and a water supply within easy reach of the campfire.

Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads, and smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle, building or designated campsite.

Chain saw use is prohibited on National Forest lands, but allowed on state, private and Bureau of Land Management lands until 10:00 a.m. Users must have an ax, shovel and fire extinguisher on-site, and provide a one-hour fire watch after using the saw.

To report a fire, call 9-1-1.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152


ODF Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is posted on the World Wide Web at www.swofire.oregon.gov.

Many private forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties are closed to public access due to the fire danger. For more information about private land closures, see the following web page:
www.oregon.gov/odf/pages/fire/corporate_closure.aspx

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest encourages hunters to be aware of their location and to know the rules for firearm use in and around recreation areas. Some personal-use restrictions are still in effect that limits campfires, smoking and operating internal combustion engines on National Forest System lands. .

Please contact your local ranger district office for more information and maps prior to travel on National Forest Lands:

• Supervisor’s Office, Medford, (541) 618-2200
• Gold Beach Ranger District, (541) 247-3600
• High Cascades Ranger District
o Prospect, (541) 560-3400
o Butte Falls, (541) 865-2700
• Powers Ranger District, (541) 439-6200
• Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District
o Star, (541) 899-3800
o Ashland, (541) 552-2900
• Wild Rivers Ranger District
o Grants Pass, (541) 471-6500
o Cave Junction, (541) 592-4000

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest fire prevention regulations are posted online at www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou.


###

See ODF's 9-26-2012 bulletin Hunting Season Fire Danger (PDF format).

 


 

On Tues., Aug. 14th, the ODF announced the increase of the fire danger level to EXTREME on Thurs., Aug. 16th:

The ODF's bulletin announcing EXTREME FIRE DANGER starting Aug. 16th:

August 14, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock Rd
Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Greg Alexander, ODF, (541) 664-3328
Rick Dryer, ODF, (541) 474-3152

FIRE DANGER CLIMBS TO EXTREME IN JACKSON AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

The public use fire danger level on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District climbs to “extreme” (red) at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, August 16. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) remains at Level 2 (two).

Fire precaution levels assigned by the Southwest Oregon District, located in Medford, affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The district has unit offices in Medford and Grants Pass.

The following public use restriction changes will be in effect starting Thursday:

• Chain saws may not be used between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. During other hours, users must have an ax, shovel and fire extinguisher on-site, and provide a one-hour fire watch after using the saw.

• The mowing or cutting of dead or dry grass with power-driven equipment will not be allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. This restriction does not include the mowing of green lawns, or when equipment is used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

• Cutting, grinding or welding metal will not be allowed between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. During other hours, a water supply must be present at the work site and work may proceed only in a cleared area.

• Any other spark-emitting machinery may not be used between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. This includes, but is not limited to, generators, firewood splitters and chippers. During other hours, this equipment should be used only in a cleared area, and have a water supply and shovel close at hand.

• Tracer ammunition and exploding targets may not be used in wildland areas.

The following public use restrictions remain in effect:

• All open burning of debris is prohibited. This includes burn barrels.

• Fireworks are prohibited on forestlands.

• Camp fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This restriction includes charcoal-fired barbecues; however, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed in other locations.

• Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads. This restriction does not include vehicles used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

• Smoking is allowed only in a vehicle and only while on an improved road.

• Any electric fence controller in use shall contain a listing from a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be operated in compliance with manufacturer instruction for firesafe operation.

Fire restrictions will also change in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River. The Oregon Department of Forestry protects the section between Grave Creek and Marial, and the following restrictions take effect Thursday:

• Smoking will be prohibited except in boats on the water, and on naturally vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars below the river’s high-water mark.

• Open fires will be prohibited, including camp fires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires. However, portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels will be allowed on naturally vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars below the high-water mark. Ashes must be carried out.

• Travelers must carry a shovel and bucket (one-gallon size).

• Fireworks will be prohibited.

For further information about fire restrictions in all parts of the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River, contact the Smullin Visitor Center located at the Rand National Historic Site at (541) 479-3735.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is also posted on the World Wide Web at www.swofire.oregon.gov.

Brian Ballou
Fire Prevention Specialist
ODF Southwest Oregon District
(541) 665-0662
bballou@odf.state.or.us

###

[No PDF version available of ODF's Aug. 14th, 2012, bulletin announcing the increase of the fire danger level to EXTREME on Aug. 16th.]

 


 

ODF's Bulletin of July 9th announcing the rise of the fire danger level to HIGH:

 

July 9, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD
Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Greg Alexander, Medford Unit Forester, (541) 664-3328
Rick Dryer, Grants Pass Unit Forester, (541) 474-3152

FIRE DANGER LEVEL CLIMBS TO HIGH ON FRIDAY

The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties will increase on Friday, July 13. The public regulated use fire danger level will be raised to “high” (yellow) but the Industrial Fire Precaution Level will remain at level 1 (one).

These regulations affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

Public regulated use restrictions that will remain in effect include:

• No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.

• No fireworks use on forestlands.

These additional fire prevention restrictions go into effect July 13:

• Campfires will be allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels will be allowed in other locations.

• Motorized vehicles will be allowed only on improved roads.

• Chain saws may not be used between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. During other hours, chain saw users must have an ax, a shovel and an 8-oz or larger fire extinguisher at the job site, and a fire watch is required for one hour after the saw is shut down.

• Mowing of dead or dry grass with power-driven equipment will not be allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. This restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or when equipment is used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

• Cutting, grinding or welding metal will not be allowed between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. These activities will be allowed during other hours provided the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site.

• Smoking while traveling will be allowed only in enclosed vehicles on improved roads.

• Electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation.

 

In the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial, the following fire prevention restrictions will remain in effect:

• Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in boats on the water, and on sand or gravel bars that lie between water and high water marks that are free of vegetation.

• A shovel and a one-gallon or larger bucket are required of all travelers.

• Fireworks are prohibited

Beginning July 13, these additional restrictions take effect in the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial:

• Open fires will be prohibited, including campfires, cooking fires and warming fires. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels, and charcoal fires for cooking and built in raised fire pans, will be allowed on sand or gravel bars that lie between water and high water marks which are free of vegetation. Ashes must be hauled out.

For further information about fire restrictions in other parts of the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River, contact the Smullin Visitor Center located at the Rand National Historic Site at (541) 479-3735, or your local Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest office.

 

Information about fire season restrictions on ODF-protected lands is available online at http://www.swofire.oregon.gov/ and at ODF Southwest Oregon District unit offices:

• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd: (541) 664-3328

• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr: (541) 474-3152

###

Brian Ballou
Fire Prevention Specialist
Oregon Department of Forestry
Southwest Oregon District
Office: (541) 665-0662
bballou@odf.state.or.us

See ODF's June 18th bulletin (pdf format) or visit www.swofire.oregon.gov.

 


 

ODF's Bulletin of June 18th announcing the start of the 2012 fire season:

 

June 18, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD
Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Greg Alexander, Medford Unit Forester, (541) 664-3328
Rick Dryer, Grants Pass Unit Forester, (541) 474-3152

FIRE SEASON BEGINS JUNE 20 ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS IN JACKSON AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES


Fire season on forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Southwest District begins June 20. The fire danger level is currently “low” (green) but will move to “moderate” (blue) on Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will be 1 (one). This declaration affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Fire season is determined by the state forester when vegetation becomes dry and fires become harder to control.

Fire season restrictions that will go into effect on June 20 are as follows:

-- Debris burning will be prohibited, except burn barrels for which a burn permit has been obtained from ODF. Burn barrel use will be completely prohibited beginning July 1;

-- The use of fireworks on forestlands will be prohibited;

-- In the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River between Grave creek and Marial:

• Camp fires must be in fire pans or on a fire blanket that is placed on sand or gravel bars between the river and the high water mark, and only in areas which are naturally free of flammable vegetation.;

• Smoking will be permitted on sand and gravel bars between the river and the high water mark, and only in areas naturally free of flammable vegetation, or in boats and rafts while on the river;

• Fireworks will be prohibited;

• Travelers must carry a shovel and a bucket with a capacity of at least one gallon;

-- Commercial operations, such as timber harvesting conducted on forestlands will be required to have fire suppression equipment on the job site at all times. A watchman must also be provided.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, please contact:

Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328

Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152

-Or-

http://www.swofire.oregon.gov/

###

Brian Ballou
Fire Prevention Specialist
Oregon Department of Forestry
Southwest Oregon District
Office: (541) 665-0662
bballou@odf.state.or.us

See ODF's June 18th bulletin (pdf format) or visit www.swofire.oregon.gov.

 


 


Fire-related news and summaries for previous years are available from

our Fire Season News Archives page.


 

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