Fire danger level rising to 'extreme'

·3 min read

Aug. 1—The Oregon Department of Forestry is raising the fire danger level to extreme for Jackson and Josephine counties beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is doing the same for Forest Service land it manages.

ODF said dry vegetation, hot weather, thunderstorms and numerous fires in the region prompted the move from high to extreme fire danger.

Under extreme fire danger conditions, new regulations go into effect that impact 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and federal Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF's Southwest Oregon District:

* Using power saws is prohibited, except for electric chainsaws.

* Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited.

* Mowing of dry or dead grass is prohibited.

* Operating any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine not specifically mentioned above is prohibited.

ODF said the following fire prevention regulations are already in effect and will remain in place until the fire danger level drops significantly:

* 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.

* On Medford District BLM land, all campfires and burning of charcoal briquettes is prohibited, including at Hyatt Lake campgrounds. Visitors can only use portable cooking stoves that run on liquefied or bottled fuel, the BLM announced Monday.

* Fireworks on or within one-eighth of a mile of forestland are prohibited.

* 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 growing and harvesting 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.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will remain at Level Two for both ODF-protected and Forest Service lands.

For more information on ODF Southwest Oregon District fire season restrictions, see www.swofire.com or the agency's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ODFSouthwest.

Restrictions already in place on Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest land will remain in effect:

* Fires are banned except for commercial stoves or campfires fired by liquid fuel or propane, or in designated Forest Service concrete or metal fire rings or fireplaces.

* Smoking is banned except inside vehicles, buildings and designated recreation sites, or in an area at least 3 feet in diameter clear of all flammable material, or while aboard a watercraft on a waterway.

* Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame is prohibited.

* Operating an internal combustion engine is prohibited except for motor vehicles on Forest Service roads or in designated parking areas; aboard watercraft; generators with approved spark arrestors in designated recreation sites and approved off-highway vehicles on forest roads and trails