Tuesday, June 28, 2011

South Cascade, Western Lane districts declare wildfire season July 2

The Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) South Cascade and Western Lane districts announced today that wildfire season will begin on July 2 in all of Lane county as well as eastern Linn county. The South Cascade District protects more than 1.1 million acres of private and public lands from wildfire within the two-county area. The Western Lane District protects 750,650 acres in western Lane County.

“While the spring has been wet and cool, July and August will bring the typical dry and warm weather that will cause the grass and brush to cure out quickly, South Cascade District Forester Lena Tucker said. “We want the public to enjoy their summer weekend outings and always keep fire prevention in their thoughts.”

Cooperator’s help key to 2010 fire season success
“As the 2011 fire season gets underway, I especially want to thank private landowners for their firefighting help last year,” Western Lane District Forester Grant Smith said. “Private landowners together with ODF, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and rural fire departments, are a key component of Oregon’s complete and coordinated fire protection system,” he said.

What fire season means
Entry into fire season imposes certain restrictions on recreational and work activities in the forest. Industrial operations are required to have firefighting equipment on site. Since restrictions may vary, it is advisable to check with the nearest ODF office for rules specific to the local area.

In eastern Linn County, Regulated-Use Closures will be in effect within one-half mile of the Quartzville Rd. from Green Peter Dam to the U.S. Forest Service’s Willamette National Forest boundary. Under this closure, campfires are permitted only at designated locations and on sand or gravel bars that lie between the water and high water marks where there is no vegetation. Use of fireworks is prohibited in this corridor.

Industrial Fire Precaution levels (IFPL) are part of ODF’s closure system that regulates industrial activity in the forests west of the Cascade Mountains. When fire season takes effect, the districts will be at an IFPL 1, which imposes the fewest restrictions and generally requires a fire watch at industrial forest operation sites. IFPL details can be found at: www.oregon.gov/ODF/FIRE/ifpl.shtml

Wildfire facts
On the lands protected by the Department of Forestry, the 10-year average is about 1,100 wildfires burning a total of 26,000 acres. In a typical year, about two-thirds of the fires are caused by people and the remainder by lightning. Of the human-caused fires, fewer than half are caused by forest landowners and operators. And operators alone account for only about nine percent. Across all Oregon forest protection jurisdictions, about 2,600 wildfires burn roughly 239,000 acres annually on average.

Through June 27, two lightning-caused fires have burned less than one acre on lands protected by ODF. During that period, 43 human-caused fires burned about 26 acres.

The Oregon Department of Forestry provides fire protection to 16 million acres of private and public forestlands statewide, including 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands. There are about 30.4 million acres of forest in Oregon.