Government, Salem, Wildfire

Fire season begins for all Department of Forestry land in the state of Oregon

Image courtesy ODF

OREGON – With the declaration of fire season on July 1 for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Northwest Oregon and North Cascade protection districts, the entire state has now entered into official fire season on ODF protected lands.

ODF’s Southwest Oregon District was the first of 12 fire protection districts to declare fire season on June 1.

With over 16 million acres of private, county, state and federal land lying in areas within ODF’s protection, the department has placed a series of regulations designed to prevent human-caused wildfires on the general public (see above image).

Declarations are based on the National Fire Danger Rating System and local factors, such as weather and other conditions.

In general, fire season runs through October, according to an ODF press release, and ends based on local conditions within specific fire protection districts.

For residents within ODF’s fire protection districts, fire season ends unregulated outdoor debris burning; to inquire about permitted burning, call the Forest Grove ODF offices at 503-357-2191.

Debris burning is a leading cause of wildfires; violators who burn without a permit will be cited and held liable for fire suppression costs, according to the ODF.

There’s a laundry list of other prohibited activities, based on current fire danger, and even time of day.

“The use of fireworks, tracer ammunition and exploding targets are illegal within ODF protection boundaries, as well as other state and federal lands. Campfires, the mowing of dry, cured grass, cutting and welding, power saw use and other spark-emitting activities are regulated at the local level, depending upon the conditions and fire danger. For example, during low fire danger, mowing may be allowed all day. However, during moderate, high and extreme fire danger mowing may be restricted to early morning or prohibited until conditions improve,” reads a statement from the department.

The public can stay informed of current fire restrictions by visiting the agency’s Fire Restrictions & Closures website or calling their local ODF or protective association office, in this case, Forest Grove for most of our readers at 503-357-2191.

Operators who work within ODF lands such as logging operations or other natural resource extraction activities are required to follow fire season requirements, including providing a water supply, fire tools, spark arresters on equipment, and fire watch. Rules for these activities can be found at the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) system web page.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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