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Fire-Related News - 2007

 

Local & regional news releases, articles & Info

A chronological listing, with excerpts & links, for 2007

 

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Mail Tribune article: "Wet end to '07 fire season. Number of acres burned slightly under 10-year average... " (58k - 2007-10-02) - Excerpt follows:

"Weekend rains and the prospect of more wet weather this week prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to end fire restrictions Monday.

"Sunday's rain put the damper on the shortest fire season since 1998. Fire restrictions were in place for just 113 days, 30 days short of the 143-day average for the past 42 years.

" 'It was a pretty mild year, relatively speaking," said Brian Ballou, ODF spokesman. "We had a late start (June 11) and an early end'..."

 

 

ODF BULLETIN - Monday, October 1st, 2007

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,
or Rick Dryer, Grants Pass Unit Forester, (541) 474-3152

FIRE SEASON ENDS ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

The Oregon Department of Forestry's Southwest Oregon District declared an end to the 2007 fire season today. This declaration affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties. Current and predicted rainfall is sufficient to lower the public-use fire danger level to "Low."

All public-use restrictions and fire season-related closures on industrial operations are removed as of 8:00 a.m. today.

Debris pile and barrel burning is now allowed on ODF-protected lands. However, open burning is regulated for air quality in all of Jackson County, and in the Rogue Basin Open Burn Control Area in Josephine County. Before starting a burn, call the open burning advisory number for your county:

-- Jackson County, 776-7007
-- Josephine County, 476-9663

Some city fire departments and rural fire protection districts have additional restrictions, or may require a burning permit. Call your local structural fire service provider before burning.

Fire season on the Southwest Oregon District began June 11 and lasted 113 days - 30 days shorter than average. As of Sept. 24, 259 fires occurred on ODF-protected lands and blackened 720 acres.

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

Information is also available at the Southwest Oregon District 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 BULLETIN - September 28, 2007

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, (541) 664-3328, or Rick Dryer, (541) 474-3152

FIRE SEASON RESTRICTIONS EASED ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

Rain in Jackson and Josephine counties has prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to drop restrictions on power equipment use by the public on most state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by the Southwest Oregon District. However, restrictions on open burning, campfires, off-road vehicle use and fireworks use
remain in effect.

Power equipment such as chain saws, mowers, brush cutters, welders and grinders may now be used all day. Prior to today, use of these types of equipment had to be suspended between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. It is still a good idea to have a shovel and a water supply close at hand when using these pieces of equipment in grassy and forestland areas.

The fire danger level on ODF-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties remains "High" (yellow) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level is 1 (one).

The following public use restrictions are now in effect:

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

-- Fireworks are prohibited, except in cleared areas such as green lawns and driveways.

-- Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This restriction includes charcoal-fired barbecues; however, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.

-- Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads.

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

In the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial:

-- Smoking is prohibited except in boats on the water, and on vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars.

-- 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 vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars.

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

-- Fireworks are prohibited.

Under Industrial Fire Precaution Level 1, commercial operations, such as timber harvesting, conducted on forestlands are required to have fire suppression equipment on the job site at all times, and a watchman must be provided. This affects regulated use areas SW-1, SW-2, SW-3 and SW-4.

For a map of these areas, see your local ODF unit office (addresses below) or view an online map at www.oregon.gov/ODF/FIRE/images/fwz.jpeg <http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/FIRE/images/fwz.jpeg>

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.

###

 

 

ODF BULLETIN - Wed., September 19, 2007

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502
Contact: Greg Alexander, (541) 664-3328, or Brian Ballou, (541) 665-0662

COOLER WEATHER PROMPTS FIRE DANGER LEVEL DROP ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS IN JACKSON AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

If there's snow on Dutchman Peak (which there is) then it's time to drop the fire danger level in the valleys.

Starting today, the fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties is "High" (yellow) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level is 1 (one).

The following public use restrictions are now in effect:

-- Chain saw use will be disallowed between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. During other hours, users must have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher on-site, and provide a one-hour fire watch after using the saw.

-- Mowing dry grass will be disallowed between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (except for agricultural purposes, such as cutting hay).

-- Cutting, grinding or welding metal will be disallowed between the hours of 1:00 p.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.

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

-- Fireworks are prohibited, except in cleared areas such as green lawns and driveways.

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

-- Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads.

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

In the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek
and Marial, public use restrictions are unchanged:

-- Smoking is prohibited except in boats on the water, and on vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars.

-- Open fires are prohibited, including camp fires, 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 vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars.

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

-- Fireworks are prohibited.

Under IFPL 1, commercial operations, such as timber harvesting, conducted on forestlands are required to have fire suppression equipment on the job site at all times, and a watchman must be provided. This affects regulated use areas SW-1, SW-2, SW-3 and SW-4. For a map of these areas, see your local ODF unit office (addresses below) or view an online map at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIRE/images/fwz.jpeg

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

 

 

September 17, 2007 - ODF BULLETIN:

Oregon Dept. of Forestry - Southwest Oregon District

HOURS EXTENDED FOR POWER EQUIPMENT USE

Cooler weather prompted the Southwest Oregon District to change the hours that power-driven equipment, such as mowers and chain saws, may be used by the public on Oregon Dept. of Forestry-protected lands. These changes went into effect on Friday, Sept. 14.

The following activities are disallowed between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.:

Chain saw use. During other hours, users must have an ax, shovel and fire extinguisher on-site, and provide a 1-hour fire watch after using the saw.
Mowing dry grass, except for agricultural purposes, such as cutting hay.
Cutting, grinding or welding metal. During other hours, a water supply must be present at the work site and work may proceed only in a cleared area.

The following public-use restrictions remain in effect:

All debris burning is prohibited, including burn barrels.
The use of fireworks on forestlands is prohibited.
Camp fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This restriction includes charcoal-fired barbecues; however, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads.
Smoking is allowed only in a vehicle and only while on an improved road.
In the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial:
Open fires are prohibited. Charcoal fires for cooking are allowed in raised fire pans that are 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.
Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed 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 is prohibited except 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 are prohibited.
Travelers must carry a shovel and a bucket with at a least a one-gallon capacity.

The fire danger level on ODF-protected lands remains "Extreme" (red) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level is II (two).


Brian Ballou
Fire Prevention Specialist
Oregon Department of Forestry
Southwest Oregon District
5286 Table Rock Rd
Central Point, OR 97502
Office: (541) 665-0662
Cell: (541) 621-4156
Fax: (541) 776-6184
bballou@odf.state.or.us
http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/aboutus.shtml

 

 

FIRE UPDATE BULLETIN - August 31, 2007 8:05 a.m.

Oregon Dept. of Forestry - Southwest District

WET THUNDERSTORM HITS EASTERN JACKSON COUNTY ON THURSDAY

Eleven fires caused by thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday have been found on forestlands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's Southwest District. Much of the search-and-extinguish effort on Thursday concentrated on fires in the greater Applegate River drainage in southwestern Jackson County. Lookouts and aerial observers found small fires in Duncan Gap (2 acres), Star Gulch (0.1 acre), Benson Gulch (0.01 acre), Long Gulch (0.1 acre) and Timber Mtn. (0.01 acre).

Thursday's thunderstorm tracked across eastern Jackson County from mid-afternoon to nearly midnight. Shortly after the storm began, Medford Unit crews joined a mutual-aid response to the Butler Creek Fire in the grasslands northeast of Ashland. A downpour of rain and hail helped to halt the fire at 2 acres. A second fire was found shortly after nightfall in the Tyler Creek area, south of Emigrant Lake. It was mostly confined to a single tree and extinguished at 0.01 acre.

This morning, crews are looking for a smoke in the Shale City area. A reconnaissance flight will search for fires today, and mountaintop fire lookouts throughout the county are staffed.

More than 600 lightning strikes hit Jackson County during Thursday's storm. Another thunderstorm may develop later today.

ODF's Southwest District protects 1.8 million acres of private, Bureau of Land Management, state and county lands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

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

 

 

BULLETIN - August 30, 2007 8:13 a.m. - Oregon Dept. of Forestry - Southwest District

THUNDERSTORM STARTS A FEW SMALL FIRES ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

Engine crews from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's Southwest District worked late into the night on Wednesday chasing lightning-caused fires in southwestern Jackson County and eastern Josephine County. Three fires were found on Medford Unit-protected lands; two are now out and one is in the mop-up stage. The fires were on Negro Ben Mtn. (0.5 acre), Upper Applegate Rd. (0.01 acre) and in the Mulligan Gulch area near Squaw Lakes (0.1 acre). The Grants Pass Unit is searching for a reported smoke in the Star Gulch Rd. area, and assisted with a fire on national forest land in the Thompson Creek drainage. ODF firefighters also provided mutual-aid assistance with a handful of other fires reported on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Additionally on Wednesday, a Medford Unit engine crew extinguished a car fire in the Pair-A-Dice Ranch Road area, and Grants Pass Unit crews and the district's two helicopters assisted with a structure fire southwest of Grants Pass that sparked a 1-acre grass fire.

Sixty-five lightning strikes were recorded on the district.  More lightning is predicted for later today.

ODF's Southwest District protects 1.8 million acres of private, Bureau of Land Management, state and county lands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

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

 

 

The public use fire danger level on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry's Southwest Oregon District climbed to "extreme" (red) at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, August 28. Fire precaution levels assigned by the Southwest Oregon District, located in Medford, affect state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The district has unit offices in Medford and Grants Pass. As of August 28th, 2007, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) on forestlands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s Southwest District remains in effect .

 

 

The IFPL (Industrial Fire Protection Level) was posted at level II (two) at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 24. This declaration affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties. Commercial operations, such as timber harvesting, conducted on forestlands are required to have fire suppression equipment on the job site at all times, and a watchman must be provided.

In addition, IFPL II prohibits the following activities:

· The use of fire in any form

· The use of power saws, except at loading sites, between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

· The use of cable yarders between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

· Blasting between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

· Welding or cutting of metal between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

 

 

According to a June 28th news article, "[a]lthough May and June were relatively mild, "the next three months are predicted to bring above normal temperatures to the region," according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.  Even though we will have air tanker support in Medford again this summer and regional crews are well prepared, the demands upon firefighters and resources are likely to be intense.  See full article.

 

 

The ODF announced the beginning of fire season for all ODF-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine Counties, effective as of 12:01 A.M. on Monday, June 11th, 2007. The fire danger level is "moderate" (blue), and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is 1 (one). This declaration affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties. Details. (PDF file).

 

 

As of June 1st, fire season was declared to be in effect for the Colestin Rural Fire District. Chief Steve Avgeris made the announcement at the June 1st Board meeting, stating that, although the Oregon Dept. of Forestry had not yet declared fire season throughout southwest Oregon, our district is drier and ahead of general seasonal conditions that determine when fire season begins, and open burning is no longer safe.

(It is the prerogative and responsibility of individual districts to determine the need for fire season status, when local conditions reflect a higher level of fire danger than general regional conditions do. Local districts must abide by ODF's regional designations and corresponding restrictions and/or prohibitions cannot be less than those set by ODF, but when local conditions warrant, restrictions and/or prohibitions may be increased from those set by ODF.)

 

 

March 29, 2007 - Mail Tribune (Medford), by Paul Fattig:

"Region's water content below average despite a seemingly snowy winter: The Siskiyou Summit was an exception, with a content of 109 percent of normal"

" 'We're back to where we were two months ago — about 76 percent of snow-water content,' Johnson said. 'We had a big storm at end of February, but then we basically had another dry month, even though it didn't feel dry.'

"The only exception to the below-average measurement was the Siskiyou Summit, elevation 4,600 feet above sea level, where the snow depth was 10 inches, making it 111 percent of normal for this time of year. The snow water content of 3.5 inches was 109 percent of normal..."

 

 

February 28, 2007 - Mail Tribune (Medford), by Paul Fattig:

"Snow survey suggests bountiful year: Although extremely light snow prevented accurate readings at three sites, those taken at others indicate water supplies will be good"  

"...they did get accurate readings on the snow depth on all four sites as well as the snow water content for the lower elevation Siskiyou Summit. The summit had a snow depth of 39 inches, making it 229 percent of normal for the end of February. It also had a snow water level of 5.6 inches, reflecting a 106 percent of average for the site this time of year..."

 

 


Fire-related news and summaries for previous years are available on our Fire Season News Archives page.