POLK COUNTY -- Due to increasing fire danger, the Oregon Department of Forestry announced Monday that wildfire season is now in effect in the West Oregon District.
This area includes private, state, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in Polk, Benton and Lincoln counties.
According to Steve Laam, a district forester, those workers in the woods are required to have fire prevention and firefighting equipment at their operation site and provide a fire watch on each operation after equipment is shut down.
In addition, most open burning has been banned in Polk and Benton counties. These bans are implemented in cooperation with local fire defense boards and will remain in effect until significant rains begin in the fall. Questions on burning should be directed to local fire departments or the offices of the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Laam explained that fire season is declared each year based on weather conditions and fire danger. As forest vegetation dries due to warmer temperatures and less rain, fire danger increases. As the fire season progresses, further restrictions will be put in effect on both public and forest operations to reduce the chance of wildfires.
Extra precautions need to be taken by forest users and forest workers to prevent fires from starting, he said.
Information on industrial fire restrictions and burning may be obtained by calling the West Oregon District information recording at 541-929-6300.
For additional information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry office in Dallas at 503-623-8146.