Fire season on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Southwest Oregon District begins Sunday, June 4, at 12:01 a.m. The fire danger level will be “low” (green) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will be 1 (one). Lands affected by this declaration include state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.
“Temperatures are starting to rise, our vegetation is drying out and summer weather patterns are arriving,” said ODF District Forester, Dave Larson. “We never know what a fire season may bring, but the last several years demonstrate our area’s potential for wildfires.”
Beginning Sunday, the burning of debris piles and the use of burn barrels for burning debris will no longer be allowed in Jackson and Josephine counties. Other fire season restrictions include the use of exploding targets, tracer ammunition and fireworks.
The 2017 fire season may be another active one. A good snowpack in the Cascade Range and the Siskiyou Mountains recharged many of the southwest Oregon region’s reservoirs, but may have little positive effect on wildfire activity in the district, most of which covers low-elevation grass and brush lands and mid-elevation forests. Residual snowpack is at higher elevations on national forest and national park lands.
“While the wet winter may help the higher elevations during the start of fire season, the grasses in the lower elevations are already beginning to lose their moisture. By the time we hit August in the southwestern portion of the state, we are still expecting to have an average fire season which means responding to roughly 6 to 10 fires per day,” said ODF Protection Supervisor, Bill Smith.
Last year, fire season started on June 3 and ended October 13 lasting a total of 133 days. A total of 209 fires burned on lands protected by the Southwest Oregon District, and blackened 726 acres. More than 200 of those fires were started by people and six fires by lightning in 2016. According to the 10-year average of fires on the district, 230 fires may burn more than 5,600 acres during fire season.
For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season 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
Fire season information is also available online at our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest and
our website: www.swofire.com.