Due to the continued hot and dry weather, the Douglas Forest Protective Association will impose Public Fire Restrictions, also known as a “Regulated Use Closure” effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 1st. The Public Fire Restrictions will be in effect on all 1.6 million acres of private, county, state, and BLM lands protected by DFPA. The Industrial Fire Precaution level (IFPL) will remain at IFPL 1 for the Douglas District.
The Douglas County Fire Prevention Cooperative is spreading the word to take extra caution this year to not only keep fires from starting, but also to keep everyone safe. The following is a list of fire prevention tips for residents using fireworks.
Keep It Legal
Oregon law prohibits fireworks that fly, explode, or move across the ground more than 6 feet. Fireworks purchased by mail order, in other states or on Native American reservations may be illegal in Oregon. This includes popular items such as bottle rockets, roman candles, firecrackers, and M-80s. To keep it legal, purchase all fireworks at a licensed Oregon fireworks stand.
Under Oregon law, those discharging illegal fireworks can be fined and/or arrested and can have their illegal fireworks seized. In addition, those discharging any type of firework, legal or illegal, can be held liable for damages resulting from their improper use. Oregon law also holds parents liable for damage caused by their children and allows fire agencies to charge for the cost of suppressing fires caused by fireworks.
The Douglas Forest Protective Association announced that the 2016 fire season will officially begin Wednesday, June 8th at 12:01 a.m. on all private, county, state, and BLM lands protected by DFPA. The declaration of fire season imposes certain fire restrictions on both the general public and industrial forest workers to help prevent wildfires.
With the declaration of fire season, exploding targets, tracer ammunition, and sky lanterns are prohibited on, or within, one-eighth of a mile of DFPA protected land.
The start of fire season also means the end of unregulated outside debris burning for rural Douglas County residents. Due to poor burning conditions which have come earlier this year than normal, burn permits for debris piles and burn barrels will not be issued by DFPA or Douglas County Fire District #2. Those wishing to burn yard debris before Wednesday are encouraged to exercise caution and are reminded to never leave the burn unattended. In addition, fire officials recommend checking any debris piles that were burned earlier this spring. If not properly extinguished, burn piles have the potential of smoldering for weeks, or even months, before popping back to life on a warm, windy day.
As hunters gear up for the opening weekend of deer season, the Douglas Forest Protective Association would like to remind all forest users to be cautious in wildland areas as fire season remains in effect. Fire officials say that it is important to know what fire restrictions are in place before heading to the woods and notes that specific fire restrictions vary between each ODF/Association district and National Forest lands.
Locally on the Douglas District, Public Use Restrictions remain in effect on all private, county, state, and BLM lands protected by DFPA. While the Public Use Restrictions do not restrict access to the forest, it does restrict or prohibit certain fire prone activities which could easily start a fire. These restrictions include:
- Smoking is prohibited in wildland areas, except within vehicles.
- Each vehicle traveling in wildland areas must have a shovel AND a 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher or a gallon of water. ATV’s and motorcycles are required to have a 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher.
- Campfires, warming fires, and cooking fires are only allowed within DFPA designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed elsewhere.
- DFPA Designated Campgrounds include: Cavitt Creek, Eagle View, Lone Pine, Millpond, Rock Creek, Susan Creek, Tyee, Amacher Park, Douglas County Fairgrounds, Pass Creek, Stanton Park, Chief Miwaleta, & Whistlers Bend.
- The use of chainsaws is allowed before 1:00 p.m. or after 8 p.m. Each saw must have a shovel and an 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. A one hour fire watch is required once the saw is done running for the day.
- Fireworks, exploding targets, tracer ammunition, and sky lanterns are prohibited.
In addition to DFPA’s Public Use Restrictions, private landowners may have additional fire restrictions or closures on their landholdings. Hunters and other forest users are urged to check with the landowner for the location they plan to recreate on to see if any additional closures or restrictions are in place through the landowner.
DFPA wishes all hunters a safe, productive, and fire free hunting season.
The hot, dry weather, along with an increase in recent fire activity has prompted the Douglas Forest Protective Association to increase the fire danger to “HIGH” on all DFPA protected lands effective immediately. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will remain at IFPL 1 and Public Use Restrictions, which restrict or prohibit certain fire prone activities, remains in effect and unchanged.
“The cooler mornings and shorter days can be very misleading,” says DFPA Fire Prevention Specialist Kyle Reed. “The small amount of rain we received earlier this month is gone and the forest floor remains very dry. We still need everyone’s help to prevent human caused fires.”
Reed says the end of fire season is still in the distant future and will only come after significant rainfall returns to the area and the threat of new wildfires has been considerably reduced.
For a complete list of public or industrial fire restrictions, visit www.dfpa.net or call 541-672-0379.