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Cooler weather doesn’t mean fire season is over, Oregon Dept. of Forestry reminds Central Oregonians

Incident 914 north of Kelsey Butte was held to about 2 1/2 acres Tuesday
C.O. Fire Management Service
Incident 914 north of Kelsey Butte was held to about 2 1/2 acres Tuesday

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Recent cool weather across the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District is not an indication that fire season is over, the agency reminded Wednesday.

These cooler temperatures and improved humidity recovery will moderate fire behavior, but significant rain is needed to lessen wildfire risk and lift prevention restrictions or end fire season. The risk of rapid fire spread in all fuel types remains despite the transition to seasonable fall weather.  Hot, dry conditions this summer fully cured dead and down fuels, and live vegetation had limited moisture, resulting in critical wildland fire potential.    

“We are continuing to see new fires pop up, and we are still seeing larger fires burn aggressively,” explains Ben Duda, Prineville Unit Forester.  “With all the fires on the landscape across Oregon, we need to do what we can to let firefighting resources focus on those fires.”

Regulated-Use Closure and Fire Season are still in effect across the Central Oregon District.  These restrictions are intended to reduce wildfire ignitions from high-risk activities.  The Regulated-Use Closure prohibits mowing of dried grass and chainsaw use between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. as well as limiting motor vehicles and all-terrain vehicles to improved roads.  Campfires are prohibited when Regulated-Use Closure is in effect. 

Activities prohibited during fire season include smoking in forest operation areas, blasting without a permit, use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition.  Backyard debris burning, including burn barrels is prohibited. 

In addition to these restrictions, forest operations are required to follow prevention guidelines, which are available at www.oregon.gov/odf. These guidelines are intended to reduce the risk of fire ignition, quickly detect fires, and allow for a swift suppression response.

Counties and local fire departments may have additional restrictions in place.  Check restrictions in your local area to help prevent wildfires.

Failure to follow Fire Season and Regulated-Use Closure restrictions can result in citations, fines, and liability for costs associated with putting the fire out.  Wildfires impact public health, water quality, soil productivity, landowners, and local communities and businesses.

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including Regulated-Use Closure restrictions and contact information, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Article Topic Follows: Fire Alert

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