SWEET HOME — The Oregon Department of Forestry will initiate fire-season regulated use throughout the mid-valley starting Monday morning, according to Craig Pettinger of the Sweet Home Unit and Mike Totey of the West Oregon Unit at Philomath.
“Backyard burning season officially ends Saturday,” Pettinger said. “But, I hope people realize it is going to be extremely warm the next few days and we are seeing some wind. It might not be advisable to burn anything right now.”
Regulations will tighten as the season progresses, Pettinger said. He added that the 14-person summer firefighting crew will be working starting Monday. The Sweet Home Unit has responded to escaped debris burns several times in recent weeks.
Totey discussed a 100-acre fire two weeks ago in northern Lincoln County that started in a logging operation. “It’s early in the season for that, but it shows that conditions are regressing rapidly to a threatened risk,” he said.
Mid-valley wildland firefighters will be joined by others from around the state June 24-28 for the annual Mid-Willamette Valley Interagency Wildland Fire School based in Sweet Home.
“It looks like we’re going to have a lot of folks, about 145 new ones and 100 for upper level training,” Pettinger said. “We will stage behind Sweet Home High School and our burn day will be on Jones Road north of Foster Reservoir on June 28.”
Beginning Monday, the following public use restrictions will be in effect on all private, county, state and Bureau of Land Management lands:
• Smoking is prohibited while traveling in forestlands, except on improved roads, in boats on the water and at designated locations.
• Use of fireworks, exploding targets, tracer ammunition and sky lanterns is prohibited.
• Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires except at locations designated by the state forester, such as designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied bottled fuels are allowed.
• Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one 2½-pound or larger extinguisher. All-terrain vehicles and motorcycles must be equipped with one 2½-pound or larger extinguisher.
• All electric fence controllers in use must be listed by a nationally recognized laboratory or certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be operated in compliance with instructions.
Industrial regulations vary from low to moderate to high and extreme and will be set as the season progresses. Areas of possible restriction include power saw usage; cutting, grinding and welding of metals; mowing of grasses; use of any spark-emitting engines.
Consult the Oregon Department of Forestry website at www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/pages/restrictions.aspx.