After 138 days of being ramped up and ready to fight wildland fires, the 2017 fire season ends today, Friday, October 20, at 9:00 a.m. on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. Lands affected by this declaration include state, private, county, city, and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.
Fire season proved to be particularly challenging throughout the District due to the abundance of abutted lightning storms. The preliminary totals for the season show ODF firefighters tackling 335 wildland fires totaling roughly 930 acres. Of those fires, 127 are directly linked to lightning. This total fire count does not even include the number of alarms firefighters responded to related to fire restriction violations, assisting our local partners, and smoke chases throughout Jackson and Josephine Counties. Overall, 97 percent of all ODF Southwest fires were held at ten acres or less. We accredit this not only to our aggressive initial attack and well-trained team, but our countless partners throughout our region that have helped to make this season a success.
The termination of fire season removes fire prevention regulations on equipment use and the use of fire for debris burning. This applies to the public and industrial operations on forestlands. However, many structural fire agencies require permits for debris burning; please check with your local fire department to obtain any necessary permits before burning.
This is a great reminder; while fire season is over; fire prevention must continue. Please be vigilant while burning debris making sure that a burn pile is never left unattended. Also, please use caution while using machinery that could produce a spark. While there is precipitation throughout our region today, fall weather in southern Oregon varies greatly. Regardless, we are here to help.
Fire prevention tips and additional information is available online at www.swofire.com, our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest, or you can call/visit the Southwest Oregon District 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