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Fire danger increases in Oregon: 'Be safe and use your best judgment'

20170526_HemlockFire_(33).JPG
Preventing wildfires like 2017's Hemlock Fire shown here is why restrictions on some activities that could spark a wildfire go into effect July 2 in western Lane and parts of northern Douglas County. (ODFW)

ROSEBURG, Ore. - Fire districts in Oregon have implemented restrictions on public use of wildlands, as well as industrial activities, in response to increased fire danger.

Firefighters in Lane, Douglas and Coos counties and across the state have ratcheted up restrictions while urging the public to use caution with the Fourth of July holiday this week.

Check the public use restrictions where you live

Public Use Restrictions took effect on lands protected by the Douglas Forest Protective Association and the Bureau of Land Management on Sunday.

Under the Public Use Restrictions:

  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, and at other designated locations.
  • Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated sites. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed elsewhere. A list of designated campfire sites can be found online.
  • The use of fireworks are prohibited.
  • Motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are only allowed on improved roads free of flammable vegetation, except for the culture and harvest of agricultural crops. In addition, each vehicle traveling on forest roads must have an axe, shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher. All-terrain vehicles and motorcycles must be equipped with one operational 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher.
  • Any electric fence controller in use shall be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services and be operated in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

In Western Lane and parts of Northern Douglas counties, restrictions took effect Monday.

"As of July 2, the district will be at moderate fire danger (blue). At this level the public is allowed to use gas-powered equipment until 1 p.m. and then again after 8 p.m.." the Oregon Department of Forestry said in a statement. "No gas-powered equipment may be used during the seven-hour shutdown period in the afternoon, with the exception of mowing well-irrigated green grass lawns."

The use of fireworks in rural portions of the district is prohibited.

Campfires are only allowed in incorporated campgrounds with built in, metal-ringed fire pits.

“For the rest of fire season, we encourage you to be safe and use your best judgment in all activities conducted in and around dry grass and brush,” said Dave Kjosness with ODF’s Western Lane District.

Lands in Curry County under the protection for the Coos Fire Protective Association are now under a limited shutdown, which prohibits cutting, grinding, welding and other activities between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Check the Industrial Fire Protection Level where you work

East of the Cascades, much of central Oregon was under a Red Flag Warning for wildfire risk on Monday.

Forecasters cautioned that the Fourth of July forecast includes low humidity and breezy winds, prime conditions for new fires to rapidly spread.