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Fire-Related News - 2013

Local & regional news releases, articles & ODF bulletins

A chronological listing, with excerpts & links, for 2013

with 2013 pre-season articles below

 

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.

 


 

2013 FIRE SEASON SUMMARY:  

THE 2013 FIRE SEASON began Mon., June 3rd, declared in effect by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry for the Southwest Oregon District. We went from Moderate (blue) fire danger to High (yellow) on July 4th. The IFPL (Industrial Fire Precaution Level) increased to 2 (two) on July 15th. The fire danger level officially rose to EXTREME (red) on Monday, July 22nd, with the IFPL remaining at Level 2 (two). On Thurs. morning, August 1st, the ODF announcing another increase of fire restrictions with a 24-hour shutdown of all power-driven, spark-emitting equipment, beginning at 12:01 AM, Friday, August 2nd. On August 25th, the ODF lowered fire restrictions due to recent rains, with the public fire danger level still at “extreme” (red), but with a reduction in curfew hours, from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and with the Industrial Fire Precaution Level down to Level 2 (two). Effective September 18th, the ODF further reduced the curfew, with hours between 1:00 PM and 8:00 PM, with other general restrictions remaining in place, and the posted fire danger level reduced to High (yellow) and the IFPL (Industrial) reduced to Level 1 (one). The ODF announced the end of the 2013 fire season on Mon., Sept. 23rd, effective Tues. September 24th, with the fire danger level reduced to low (green) and with all public and industrial fire regulation restrictions lifted. A summary and categorical breakdown with details of the fire season in the Southwest Oregon district is included in ODF's bulletin of Sept. 23rd.

 


 

The ODF announces the end of fire season on Tues. Sept. 24th:

 

September 23, 2013

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) 665-0662 or (541) 621-4156

FIRE SEASON ENDS TUESDAY ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS IN SOUTHWEST OREGON

Several days of rain across the southwest Oregon region has brought fire season to an end effective Tuesday, Sept. 24, on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The public regulated use fire danger level drops to “low” (green) after midnight tonight, and all public and industrial fire prevention regulations will be lifted.

It was a busy summer for firefighters across southwest Oregon. Crews responded to more than 330 fires, 126 of which were caused by lightning. More than 43,000 acres of forestland burned on the district, much of it in the Big Windy and Douglas complexes in northern Josephine County. People caused more than 200 fires this fire season, which started June 3, and human-caused fires burned nearly 800 acres. Lightning caused the summer’s biggest wildfires.

Southwest Oregon residents are urged to use caution when burning debris this fall. Many structural fire protection districts require a permit to burn piled debris or to use burn barrels, and both counties issue daily air quality advisories. Call your county’s open burning line before burning to find out whether open burning is allowed. In Jackson County, the number to call is (541) 776-7007. In Josephine County, call (541) 476-9663.

For more information about wildland fire prevention, contact your local Oregon Dept. of Forestry unit office:
• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd: (541) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr: (541) 474-3152

Fire danger regulations are also posted online at www.swofire.com.

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

###

View ODF's bulletin announcing the end of the 2013 fire season on Tues. Sept. 24th.  (pdf format)

 


 

Effective Fri., Sept. 20th, the ODF lowered the posted fire danger level to 'High' in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River, in the river corridor between Grave Creek and Marial. As of Wed., Sept. 18th, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest also lowered the fire danger level in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River downstream from Marial.

ODF's bulletin of Thurs., September 19th:

 

September 19, 2013

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) 665-0662 or (541) 621-4156

FIRE DANGER DROPS TO HIGH IN WILD & SCENIC SECTION OF ROGUE RIVER

Shorter days, cooler temperatures and some rain have combined to reduce wildfire danger in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River. The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects the segment of the river corridor between Grave Creek and Marial, and will lower the fire danger in this region to “high” (yellow) on Friday, Sept. 20, at 12:01 a.m.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest lowered the fire danger level yesterday in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River downstream from Marial.

Starting tomorrow, charcoal fires for cooking may again be used by recreationists as long as the charcoal fire is contained inside of a raised fire pan. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used. In all cases, these devices may only be used on sand or gravel bars that lie between the water and high water marks that are free of vegetation. Ashes from charcoal fires must be hauled out.

No open fires – including camp fires, cooking fires and warming fires -- are allowed in the Wild and Scenic of the Rogue River until the fire danger level drops further.

Additional fire prevention restrictions in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River include:

• No smoking 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 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 wildland fire prevention regulations on state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management forestlands, contact your local Oregon Dept. of Forestry unit office:

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

Fire danger regulations are also posted online at www.swofire.com.

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

###

View ODF's bulletin of Thurs., Sept. 19th, 2013.  (pdf format)

 


 

The ODF lowered fire restrictions effective Wed., September 18th, due to recent rains.

The posted fire danger level is "HIGH" (YELLOW); the IFPL (Industrial) is Level 1 (one).

Curfew hours: Chain saws and other power-driven equipment may be used until 1:00 PM. Other restrictions remain unchanged.

ODF's Sept. 17th bulletin:



September 17, 2013

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) 665-0662 or (541) 621-4156

RAIN REDUCES FIRE DANGER

The public regulated use fire danger level drops to “high” (yellow) tomorrow on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in Jackson and Josephine counties. Chain saws and other power-driven equipment may be used until 1:00 p.m.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will be 1 (one) as of 12:01 a.m. Sept. 18.

ODF’s Southwest Oregon District protects 1.8 million acres of state, county, city and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Below are the fire prevention regulations that go into effect tomorrow morning:

• Debris burning is prohibited. This includes burn barrels.

• Fireworks cannot be used in forests, public parks, campgrounds and other wildland areas.

• Exploding targets and tracer ammunition may not be used.

• Motorized vehicles are not allowed off of improved roads.

• Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle on an improved road.

• Chain saws may be used until 1:00 p.m., and users must have an axe, shovel and a fire extinguisher (8 oz. or larger) at the work site. A 1-hour fire watch is required after the saw is shut down.

• Cutting, grinding or welding metal is allowed until 1:00 p.m. in areas that are cleared of vegetation. A water supply is required at the job site.

• Tall, dry grass and weeds may be mowed until 1:00 p.m. Mowers used for the commercial culture or harvest of agricultural crops are exempt from this restriction.

• Any spark-emitting power-driven equipment not specifically mentioned above must shut down by 1:00 p.m.

• 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 fire safe operation

For more information about wildland fire prevention, contact your local Oregon Dept. of Forestry unit office:

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

Fire danger regulations are also posted online at www.swofire.com.

###

View ODF's bulletin of Tues. Sept. 17, 2013.  (pdf format)

 


 

On Sunday morning, August 25th, the ODF issued a news release stating that fire restrictions have been lowered due to recent rains.

The public regulated use fire danger level still remains “extreme” (red); the Industrial Fire Precaution Level is now down to Level 2 (two).

ODF's news release is as follows:

 

August 25, 2013

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA
5286 Table Rock RD
Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Caitlin Goins, (541) 664-3328

Rain in Southwest Oregon Lowers Fire Restrictions
For Industrial Operators and General Public

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties dropped to a ‘Level II’ this morning, due to light rain across the region.

The Fire Danger Level for the general public will remain at “Extreme” however chain saws, power mowers, brush cutters, and other equipment employing internal combustion engines may now be used until 11:00 a.m. and again after 8:00 p.m.

Since Aug. 2, power equipment had to be shut down completely due to abnormally dry and hot weather.

The rain has lowered fire prevention measures on industrial operations, such as logging sites and other commercial operations.


Industrial Fire Precaution Level II (two) takes effect at Sunday, August 25, and includes the following restrictions:

• The use of fire in any form will be prohibited

• The use of power saws will be prohibited, except at loading sites, between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

• The use of cable yarders will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

• Blasting will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

• Welding or cutting of metal will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Additionally, commercial operators on forestlands are required to have fire suppression equipment on site and provide watchman service.

These regulations affect all state, county, private and Bureau of Land Management lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The regulated use zones affected by this proclamation include SW-1, SW-2, SW-3, SW-4, SK-3, RR-1, RR-2 and RR-3, and all forestland within one-eighth of a mile of these zones.


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 11:00 a.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.

• 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

###

View/print ODF's Aug. 25th, 2013, news release, "Rain in Southwest Oregon Lowers Fire Restrictions For Industrial Operators and General Public" (pdf file format).

 


 

Effective since Fri., August 2nd, the ODF has declared a 24-hour total closure for all power-driven, spark-emitting equipment:

"Continued hot and dry conditions across southwest Oregon, coupled with a recent oubreak of large wildfires,makes it necessary for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District to shut down power equipment use in forests and other wildland areas. Chain saws, brush cutters and all other power-driven, spark-emitting equipment are affected by increased fire prevention regulations" as of Friday, Aug. 2.

The public regulated use fire danger level remains “extreme” (red); the Industrial Fire Precaution Level has risen to Level 3 (three). Full details for both public use and IFPL below:

 

  • The fire danger level is EXTREME (red) as of Mon., July 22nd.  

  • The IFPL is Level 3 (three).  [See immediately below.]

Regulations affect all state, private, county, city and BLM lands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

 


 

On Thurs. morning, August 1st, the ODF announced another increase of fire restrictions with a 24-hour shutdown of all power-driven, spark-emitting equipment, beginning at 12:01 AM, Friday, August 2nd.:


August 1, 2013

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA
5286 Table Rock Rd
Central Point, OR 97502

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


POWER EQUIPMENT USE PROHIBITED ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

Continued hot and dry conditions across southwest Oregon, coupled with a recent oubreak of large wildfires,makes it necessary for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District to shut down power equipment use in forests and other wildland areas.

Chain saws, brush cutters and all other power-driven, spark-emitting equipment are affected by increased fire prevention regulations starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2.


The public regulated use fire danger level remains “extreme” (red), but the Industrial Fire Precaution Level rises to Level 3 (three) tomorrow. [See immediately below.]

These reguations affect the 1.8 million acres of state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.


Below are the specific regulations that take effect after midnight tonight:

• Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.

• Debris burning is prohibited.

• Burn barrel use is prohibited.

• Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed;

• Chain saw use is prohibited.

• Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads.

• Use of fireworks is prohibited.

• Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited.

• Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

• Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed be a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and 2) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions

• Use of exploding targets is prohibited.

• Use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.

Any other spark-emitting machinery not specifically mentioned is prohibited.

• Use of sky lanterns is prohobited.


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 prevention regulations are also posted on the World Wide Web at www.swofire.oregon.gov.

###

View/print ODF's August 1st, 2013 bulletin announcing a 24-hour shutdown starting at 12:01 AM Friday, August 2nd (pdf format).

 


 

On Thurs., August 1st, the ODF also announced an increase to IFPL 3 (Industrial Level Three) starting at 12:01 AM Friday, August 2nd - "PARTIAL SHUTDOWN OF INDUSTRIAL OPERATIONS ON SW OREGON FORESTLANDS STARTS TOMORROW":


August 1, 2013

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA
5286 Table Rock Rd
Medford, OR 97502

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

Contact: Greg Alexander, ODF Assistant District Forester, Medford Unit, (541) 664-3328
Rick Dryer, ODF Assistant District Forester, Grants Pass Unit, (541) 474-3152
Erica Hupp, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Acting Public Affairs Staff Officer, (541) 891-9013


PARTIAL SHUTDOWN OF INDUSTRIAL OPERATIONS
ON SW OREGON FORESTLANDS STARTS TOMORROW

Extremely dry forests and a recent outbreak of forest fires in southwest Oregon forestlands is driving the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) up tomorrow. Restrictions under IFPL III (three) take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, and apply to state, private, county, Bureau of Land Management and Rogue Ricer-Siskiyou National Forest forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

The IFPL III restrictions apply to all contractors and permit holders, including those with permits to cut firewood for personal use.
Under IFPL III:

• Cable yarding is not allowed. However, gravity operated-logging systems employing non-motorized carriages may operate until 1:00 p.m. and after 8:00 p.m. These systems must have all blocks and moving lines suspended 10 feet above the ground, except the line between the carriage and the chokers.

• Power saw use is not allowed. However, power saws may be used until 1:00 p.m. and after 8:00 p.m. at loading sites and on tractor or skidder operations.

• In addition, the following equipment and operations must shut down between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.:

o Tractor/skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fireline are immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start.

o Mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material

o Blasting

o Welding or cutting of metal

o Any spark-emitting not specifically mentioned above

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 online at www.swofire.com.

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

Personal and commercial woodcutters are reminded of their responsibility to stay informed of current IFPLs and all restrictions that apply to activities conducted on public lands. Failure to comply with fire precautionary requirements may result in the issuance of a Violation Notice.


For current information on IFPL levels, visit the Medford Interagency Communications Center website at ormic.org/fire_danger.shtml
.


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.

###

View/print ODF's Aug. 1st, 2013 bulletin announcing IFPL 3 (pdf format).

 


 

THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS PERTAINING TO THE WILD AND SCENIC SECTION OF THE ROGUE RIVER BETWEEN GRAVE CREEK AND MARIAL HAVE BEEN UPDATED as of Wed. July 24th, 2013:

ODF's bulletin follows:

 

July 22, 2013

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) 665-0662 or (541) 621-4156

FIRE DANGER CLIMBS TO EXTREME IN WILD & SCENIC SECTION OF ROGUE RIVER

The public use fire danger level on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District climbs to “extreme” (red) in the Wild & Scenic Section of the Rogue River at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24. No open fires of any kind will be allowed.

The Oregon Department of Forestry protects the Wild & Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial. The remainder of the Wild & Scenic Section is protected by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Here are the regulations going into effect on Wednesday:

-- 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.

-- 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.com.

###

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


View/print ODF's July 22nd bulletin
"FIRE DANGER CLIMBS TO EXTREME IN WILD & SCENIC SECTION OF ROGUE RIVER" (pdf file).

 


 

ODF's July 20th bulletin announcing the increase to "Extreme" fire danger:

 

July 20, 2013

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

HOT WEATHER DRIVES UP FIRE DANGER

Prolonged hot weather in southwest Oregon is driving up the fire danger level on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. The fire danger climbs to “extreme” (red) at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 22.

Many of the public fire prevention regulations currently in effect will remain unchanged, but people who have been using power-driven equipment until 1:00 p.m. will now have to shut down at 10:00 a.m.

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s regulations affect state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forests and other wildlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

These restrictions do not affect industrial operations. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will remain at Level 2 (two).

People using mowers, weed whackers and brush cutters in areas of tall, dry grass and weeds will need to stop using the equipment between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., [ALERT: NEW REQUIREMENT:] and a one-hour fire watch must take place after shut down. This restriction does not apply to people mowing a green lawn, or to the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

Chain saw users must also shut down at 10:00 a.m., have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher at the work site, and conduct a one-hour fire watch after the saw is shut off.

Cutting, grinding or welding metal must also stop by 10:00 a.m., and these activities may only be conducted in an area cleared of potentially flammable vegetation. Water and fire-fighting tools must be at the job site.

The users of other spark-emitting machinery, such as generators, wood splitters and chippers, must also shut down by 10:00 a.m. and [ALERT: NEW REQUIREMENT:] perform a one-hour fire watch afterward. In all cases, users need to have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher or a water supply at the site where the machinery is used.

Below are the public fire prevention regulations that are currently in effect and will remain unchanged:

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

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

• Fireworks and sky lanterns are prohibited on forestlands.

• Camp fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This 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 fire safe operation.


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 prevention regulations are 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


View/print ODF's Extreme Fire Danger bulletin (pdf file).

 


 

ODF's bulletin announcing the increase to IFPL (Industrial) 2 (two), effective July 15th:

July 11, 2013

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA
5286 Table Rock RD
Central Point, OR 97502
Contact: Greg Alexander, (541) 664-3328; Rick Dryer, (541) 474-3152


INDUSTRIAL FIRE PRECAUTION LEVEL RISES
ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS
IN JACKSON AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Increased fire danger on forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District has made it necessary to increase the fire prevention measures on industrial operations, such as logging sites and other commercial operations.

Industrial Fire Precaution Level II (two) takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 15, and includes the following restrictions:

• The use of fire in any form will be prohibited

• The use of power saws will be prohibited, except at loading sites, between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

• The use of cable yarders will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

• Blasting will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

• Welding or cutting of metal will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Additionally, commercial operators on forestlands are required to have fire suppression equipment on site and provide watchman service.


These regulations affect all state, county, private and Bureau of Land Management lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The regulated use zones affected by this proclamation include SW-1, SW-2, SW-3, SW-4, SK-3, RR-1, RR-2 and RR-3, and all forestland within one-eighth of a mile of these zones.


Also a reminder of the Public Regulated Use restrictions that will remain in effect on Oregon Dept. of Forestry protected lands include:

1. Use of fireworks on forestlands is prohibited.

2. Use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.

3. No debris burning; including piles and debris burned in burn barrels is prohibited.

4. Campfires will be allowed in designated campgrounds only; charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires are prohibited except at designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed in some locations.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present.

8. Blasting is prohibited, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Blasting is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present.

9. Use of motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads.

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

11. Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways and county roads and driveways: one ax, one shovel, and one gallon of water or one 2-½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher.

12. Use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, will be prohibited.

13. Use of sky lanterns is prohibited.

14. Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and 2) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.

[NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS PERTAINING TO THE WILD AND SCENIC SECTION OF THE ROGUE RIVER BETWEEN GRAVE CREEK AND MARIAL HAVE BEEN UPDATED SINCE THIS BULLETIN - SEE BELOW.]

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

These additional restrictions will remain in 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 more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, please call or visit the Southwest District Unit office nearest you or visit www.swofire.com:

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

• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

###

View/print ODF's IFPL 2 bulletin (pdf file).

 


 

ODF's bulletin announcing the increase to HIGH FIRE DANGER beginning July 4th follows:

 

July 2, 2013

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 THURSDAY
IN JOSEPHINE AND JACKSON COUNTIES

Due to a historically dry spring and an abrupt onset of summer weather the fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Josephine and Jackson Counties will increase High Fire Danger on Thursday July 4 at 12:00 a.m. Continued hot and dry weather outlooks have made it necessary to the move the next fire danger level which is High. Wild land fire starts are about 30% higher this year than compared to last year on ODF protected lands. Because of the high fire danger public regulated closures are necessary.

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:

1. Use of fireworks on forestlands is prohibited.

2. Use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.

3. No debris burning; including piles and debris burned in burn barrels is prohibited.

These additional fire prevention restrictions go into effect July 4:
4. Campfires will be allowed in designated campgrounds only; charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires are prohibited except at designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed in some locations.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present.

8. Blasting is prohibited, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Blasting is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present.

9. Use of motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads.

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

11. Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways and county roads and driveways: one ax, one shovel, and one gallon of water or one 2-½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher.

12. Use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, will be prohibited.

13. Use of sky lanterns is prohibited.

14. Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and 2) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.


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 4, 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 www.swofire.com 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

###


Caitlin Goins
Public Information Officer (t)
Oregon Department of Forestry
Southwest District
Medford Unit
Office: (541) 664-3328
Fax: (541) 664-4340

###

View/print ODF's High Fire Danger bulletin (pdf file).

 


 

THE 2013 FIRE SEASON began Mon., June 3rd, declared in effect by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry for the Southwest Oregon District. The fire danger was "low" (green) and the IFPL (Industrial Fire Protection Level) was 1 (one).

The start of fire season followed an extended period of dryness through the later spring months: “Southwest Oregon... has near-historic low levels of snowpack and vegetation fuel moistures. Even though recent rainstorms have helped to forestall the start of fire season, the moisture wasn’t enough to reverse the long-term drying trend” (see 5/30/13, www.swofire.com).

 


 

Articles related to the 2013 pre-season follow:

 

 

Wildland Fire Risk Potential for 2013:

Key indicators show that this is a hotter, drier, and potentially very difficult fire season:  Earlier this season, the ODF attributed the fire danger increase to HIGH to “a historically dry spring and an abrupt onset of summer weather” with “continued hot and dry weather outlooks . . . Wild land fire starts are about 30% higher this year than compared to last year. . .”

 

The US Forest Service has released a map of the Wildland Fire Risk Potential for 2013 with the areas of greatest risk in color-coded format. It can be viewed on the NFPA's (National Fire Protection Assn.) site blog at: http://wildfire.blog.nfpa.org/oregon/.

Extensive portions of California, particularly much of the northern California region, as well as southwestern Oregon, much of Idaho and eastern Nevada, and western Utah are in the 4 percent red "Very High" risk zone, intermingled with the 8 percent "High" risk potential zone. (Scroll down the page about one-third.) This site also has lots of other timely news and useful wildland and other fire safety information, including a graphically depicted "sweet spot" zone for wildland rural-interface residents when taking wildfire risk factors into consideration - well worth checking out.

 

Also of note:

“Southwest Oregon... has near-historic low levels of snowpack and vegetation fuel moistures. Even though recent rainstorms have helped to forestall the start of fire season, the moisture wasn’t enough to reverse the long-term drying trend” (see 5/30/13, www.swofire.com).

 

"State predicts hotter, drier summer than most":

Paul Fattig's article in the Thurs. April 11, 2013, edition of the (Medford) Mail Tribune tells us what we already know or intuit:

ODF's Brian Ballou is quoted: "The forecast is for a much drier summer than we have been in for the last few years... We will likely have an earlier fire season than we have had for a while."

Lightning is expected to be a wild card as far as large fires go, but the potential for fire in general will be greater than normal: "The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, the nation's support center for wildland firefighting, predicts that significant fire potential will increase to above normal for the Northwest and Northern California in June and July."

Locally, despite a good start last fall on the water year since September 1st that has left us with an above-average level to date, early 2013 reflects more of the El Niño pattern anticipated this past winter, with the result that "the first three months of the year were the driest on record," surpassing the record for this period set in 1992.

The ODF and the U.S. Forest Service are already preparing for a potentially active fire season: "ODF will have a fire-retardant bomber stationed at the Medford airport again this fire season, Ballou said. Helicopters will be based also in Medford and Merlin" and other firefighting resources will be available "at the same levels as last year."

However, lightning notwithstanding, the ODF is emphasizing prevention before these resources become necessary. In particular, "residents in rural areas" need to take action now, ahead of fire season, to "reduce grass, weeds and brush around structures to decrease the threat should a wildfire come their way this summer."

The article is available in its entirety on the Mail Tribune's website at:

State predicts hotter, drier summer than most (MT 4-11-13)

or copy & paste the following link into your browser:

http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130411/NEWS/304110313

(The Mail Tribune's website allows non-subscribers access to 3 articles per month.)

 

Late February 2013 readings at Mt. Ashland sites show below-normal snowpack and water content levels:

Paul Fattig's February 28th, 2013, article headline in the Mail Tribune states that "February snowpack readings show drop at upper elevations: But some mid-elevation sites are above normal":

"U.S. Forest Service snow ranger Steve Johnson's snow-survey trek up Mount Ashland on Wednesday revealed above-normal snow at the lower elevation site but below-normal amounts for the three higher-elevation snow survey areas for the end of February.

"...the snow level at the Siskiyou Summit site, 4,600 feet above sea level, was 143 percent of normal with the snow at 27 inches. The all-important water content, reflecting how much moisture is available in the snowpack for summer stream flows and irrigation, is 8.7 inches, or 161 percent of normal.

However, "Johnson found only 48 inches of snow at the Ski Bowl Road site, at 6,000 feet elevation on Mount Ashland, for 75 percent of normal. The snow water content was 16 inches, or 76 percent of normal.

"At the 6,500-foot level, the Mount Ashland Switchback site had 64 inches of snow, which is 80 percent of average. The water content was 23.8 inches, making it 86 percent of normal.

"The Caliban II site, also at 6,500 feet, contained 64 inches of snow for 86 percent of normal. The water content at that site was 23.8 inches, or 94 percent of normal."

For the full article, see February snowpack readings show drop at upper elevations. (The Mail Tribune's website allows non-subscribers access to 3 articles per month.)

 


 


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

our Fire Season News Archives page.

 


 

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