Fire Danger Level in SW Oregon Drops to High Today

The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties has been lowered to “high” (yellow) today. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level has also been decreased to level 2 (two).

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.

Light rain and cooler temperatures across southwest Oregon have made it possible to ease off on some of the fire prevention regulations. However, very warm and dry weather is expected to return to the region by the weekend.

Restrictions on the public use of chain saws, brush cutters and other power-driven machinery have been relaxed a bit, allowing the use of equipment until 1:00 p.m. Before today, power-driven machinery had to be shut down by 10:00 a.m. Power-driven machinery use may resume after 8:00 p.m.

Other fire prevention regulations currently in effect, and which will remain in effect, include:

  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels;
  • No fireworks use on forestlands;
  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited;
  • No sky lanterns may be used in wildland and forestland areas.
  • Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used in other locations;
  • Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads;
  • Chain saws may be used until 1:00 p.m. and after 8:00 p.m. 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 is allowed until 1:00 p.m., and may resume after 8:00 p.m. This restriction does not apply to mowing green lawns, or to equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops;
  • The cutting, grinding or welding of metal are allowed until 1:00 p.m. and after 8:00 p.m. These activities may only take place at a site cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and with a water supply at the job site;
  • Smoking while traveling is 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, charcoal fires may now be used for cooking provided a raised pan is used and conducted only in an area free of vegetation and other flammable material. Ashes must be hauled out.

Under Industrial Fire Precaution Level II:

  • The use of fire in any form is prohibited
  • The use of power saws is prohibited, except at loading sites, between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • The use of cable yarders is prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Blasting is prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Welding or cutting of metal are 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.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s public regulated use regulations, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:

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