LAKEVIEW, Ore. – Fire Danger is being raised to “Extreme” this Wednesday morning for all federal, state, county and private lands in Klamath and Lake counties protected by the agencies of the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP), and increased fire restrictions are going in place. The public is encouraged to be aware of the current regulations before working or recreating on wildlands in Klamath and Lake Counties.
The Fire Danger includes all private, county and state wildlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Klamath-Lake District. It also applies to the Fremont-Winema National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District, Crater Lake National Park and the Sheldon-Hart Mountain and Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complexes.
While it’s much earlier than normal, fuel conditions and weather in Klamath and Lake counties has reached “Extreme” Fire Danger. Fires under “Extreme” conditions start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely.
At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, the federal agencies are going into Public Use Restrictions. ODF Klamath-Lake District began a Public Regulated Use Closure on June 11. Fire officials are putting these restrictions into effect to dramatically reduce the chance of an accidental fire start.
With an early start to fire season, drought conditions, hot temperatures, and winds, it doesn’t take much of a spark or heat to start a fire which can grow several acres in minutes.
There are several common restrictions between the state and federal Public Use Restrictions. The following activities are prohibited on all private, county, state, and federal wildlands:
- Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
- Use of all fireworks is prohibited.
- Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles where vegetation comes into contact with the vehicle is prohibited, except on improved roads.
- Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
- Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame.
While there are many similarities between all five fire precaution orders, there are differences, including exceptions to these prohibitions in each. The public is responsible for ensuring that they have reviewed and are aware of the restrictions in place for the landscape they plan to recreate or work on.
For all agencies, violation of these prohibitions could result in citations, fines, and even imprisonment, depending on the agency and order.
For more information on the Public Regulated Use Closure, please visit https://www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/pages/restrictions.aspx.
For more information on the federal agency Public Use Restrictions and Fire Prevention Orders, please visit https://scofmp.org/restrictions.shtml.
The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is being raised to a Level III Partial Shutdown on federal lands, specifically Forest Service and BLM. Under IFPL III Partial Shutdown, the following are prohibited except as indicated:
- Cable yarding – Except that gravity operated logging systems employing non motorized carriages may operate between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. When all blocks and moving lines are suspended 10 feet above the ground except the line between the carriage and the chokers
- Power saws – except power saws may be used at loading sites and on tractor/skidder operations between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time.
In addition, the following are permitted to operate between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time:
- Tractor, skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders, or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fireline are immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start;
- Mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material;
- Blasting; Welding or cutting of metal;
- Any other spark emitting operation not specifically mentioned.
Commercial woodcutters and other members of industry are reminded of their responsibility to stay informed of current IFPLs and all restrictions that apply to activities conducted on public lands. Failure to comply with precautionary fire requirements may result in the issuance of a Violation Notice.
For more information on IFPL restrictions, including those specific to industry, please visit https://scofmp.org/ifpls.shtml.
Anyone going out into wildlands should be prepared with water and/or a fire extinguisher, and shovel. Campfires should never be left unattended. Drown the campfire, stir, and repeat until fire is dead out and cold to the touch before leaving. Suspected wildfires should be reported immediately to 911.
South Central Oregon is already seeing an active and early fire season. In addition to being careful with anything that can spark a fire, private landowners can create and maintain defensible space around structures, especially in rural and forested areas. Residents living in the wildland urban interface should also think about evacuation preparation before wildfires start. Visit https://www.ready.gov/wildfires for more information.