Northwest Oregon will enter fire season on Monday, July 1, with public use restrictions going into place in an effort to prevent wildfire starts.
Fire season is declared when local conditions create the potential for significant wildfire. Monday’s declaration affects ODF-protected areas in Tillamook, Columbia, Clatsop and western Yamhill and Washington counties.
Public use restrictions as of July 1 include no use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets as well as no smoking within any forest operation area. Use of fuse and caps for blasting is also prohibited unless approval is granted by the district forester.
To make public use restrictions easier for the public to understand, ODF will be using the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFRDS) system commonly seen on fire danger boards. Restrictions will vary based on whether the fire danger level is Low, Moderate, High or Extreme.
“Reducing the number of human-caused fires is critical. We want to clearly communicate the current danger level – and the appropriate restrictions to prevent fires under those conditions – to aid that effort,” ODF Columbia City Unit Forester Malcolm Hiatt said.
Despite northwest Oregon’s wetter, cooler climate, drier conditions in the area pose a higher wildfire risk than in many previous years. While rain showers in the past week have stalled the spring drying trend temporarily, next week’s temperatures are forecast to be in the 80s with continued warming and drying through July 4 and the rest of the week. So far, 21 fires have been reported in northwest Oregon – nearly double the 11 fires reported at this time last year. However, the 29.3 acres burned is significantly less than the 52.9 burned at this point last year. All of 2019’s fires in northwest Oregon thus far were caused by humans. Statewide, 295 fires have burned 1,279 acres – 275 of which were human-caused.
Fire season restrictions limit activities by the public which pose a risk for starting wildfires in forestlands. For the latest information about restrictions in a particular location, check ODF’s fire restrictions webpage at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx