LAKEVIEW, ORE. – Spring weather brought much needed moisture to South Central Oregon. However, drought conditions remain across the landscape. As a result, fire managers will declare fire season in Klamath and Lake counties starting Friday, June 16, 2023, at 12:01 a.m.
Recent thunderstorms and heavy rains have assisted fire resources in South Central Oregon with fire suppression efforts during the start of the 2023 fire season. With the predicted warmer temperatures and winds, starting a fire that can grow several acres in minutes does not take much of a spark or heat. Fire managers will continue to monitor current conditions over the next weeks and reevaluate the fire danger level as needed.
Remember that abandoned campfires are the number one source of human-caused wildfires on public lands. Most campfires stay small and are easy for firefighters to put out, but it only takes one to threaten lives, destroy property, and change a beautiful area forever. Escaped debris burning remains the largest source of human-caused fires on private land. With the declaration of fire season, all burning is prohibited without a permit.
Fire danger level will be LOW, and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will be I.
Low Fire Danger means:
- Fuels do not ignite readily from small brands. Intense heat sources such as lightning may start fires in duff, punky wood, and single trees.
- Fires in open cured grass may burn freely for a few hours after rain, but forest fires spread slowly by creeping and smoldering.
IFPL I: Closed Season – Fire precaution requirements are in effect. A Fire Watch is required at this and all higher levels unless otherwise waived.
- Fire extinguisher and shovel must be with each chainsaw.
- Fire extinguishers must be in all vehicles.
- Chainsaws must have a .023-inch mesh screen installed in the exhaust.
- Approved spark arresters must be on all internal combustion engines.
- Watchmen service must be provided for 1 hour after the shutdown of power equipment for the day unless otherwise specified.
- No smoking is permitted while working or traveling through any operations area on public land except while in enclosed vehicles.
- Permits to burn are required unless waived in advance.
For the Oregon Department of Forestry, the “Fire Season in effect” declaration puts into place regulations restricting debris burning and timber harvest operations. Wildland and structural fire protection agencies in Klamath County have agreed to prohibit all outdoor debris burning. Forest operations that require a Permit to Operate Power Driven Machinery now are required to have fire tools, on-site water supply, and watchman service on privately owned forest land. Declaring “Fire Season” also prohibits the release of sky lanterns, the discharge of exploding targets or the discharge of tracer ammunition during this period.
In conjunction with the declaration of the 2023 fire season, all lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management within half a mile of the Klamath River from the Keno Dam downstream to the Oregon/California border fall under this fire prevention order.
“Anyone who is found guilty of violating a fire prevention order may be subject to prosecution under any applicable law or BLM regulation. A violation of this order may be classified as a Class A Misdemeanor Offense under 43 USC 1733(a) FLPMA, 18 USC 3559, and 18 USC 3571 Sentence of Fine – Sentencing Reform Act, Oct. 12, 1984. If the violation does not result in death, anyone who violates this order may be fined not more than $100,000 and/or imprisoned for not more than 12 months or may be fined in accordance with the applicable provisions of 18 USC 3571. Restitution for total fire suppression and damage costs incurred will be borne by the responsible party.”
Whether accidental or intentional, people start wildfires every year in south central Oregon. These wildfires cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to suppress and endanger lives and our natural resources. Let us all do our part to protect these places we live by being diligent with our ignitions and leaving all fireworks at home.
For more information and current fire restrictions, visit https://www.scofmp.org/