The abrupt onset of summer weather has prompted two more Oregon Department of Forestry districts to declare fire season. The South Cascade District entered fire season this morning, and the Western Lane District will follow suit on July 2.
“The really hot days will dry out forest fuels and cure the grasses,” said South Cascade District Forester Greg Wagenblast. “Under these conditions, a fire can spread rapidly.”
Entry into fire season imposes certain restrictions on recreational and work activities in the forest. Industrial operations are required to have firefighting equipment on site. Since restrictions may vary, it is advisable to check with the nearest ODF office for rules specific to the local area.
“We’re especially concerned with the Fourth of July holiday approaching to try to prevent escaped campfires and fireworks-caused fire starts,” he said.
With that in mind, both districts, which together encompass all of Lane County as well as eastern Linn County and portions of northern Douglas County, will step up fire restrictions on July 3 with the imposition of regulated-use rules. These additional rules will prohibit use of fireworks in the forest.
The Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) will also enter regulated use on Wednesday. The regulated-use rules vary slightly between DFPA and Western Lane and South Cascade. Details are available on the ODF website, www.oregon.gov/odf
When regulated use goes into effect on Wednesday, the following restrictions will be in place:
- 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.
- Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
- Chainsaw use is prohibited in areas subject to Industrial Fire Precaution Levels III and IV.
- Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. in areas subject to Industrial Fire Precaution Levels I and II. Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one ax, one shovel, and one 8-oz. or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
- Use of motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads.
- 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.
- Use of fireworks is prohibited.
- 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.
- Use of exploding targets is prohibited.
- Use of sky lanterns is prohibited.
- Use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.
- Mowing of dried and cured grass with power-driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
- 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.
- 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.