POLK COUNTY -- Due to increasing forest fire danger, the West Oregon Protection District of the Oregon Department of Forestry implemented Industrial Fire Precaution Level II last week.
The affected area includes all of Polk and Benton counties, as well as a portion of southern Yamhill County and the eastern portion of Lincoln County.
For industrial forest operations during Level ll, power saws and yarding operations are prohibited after 1 p.m. except under special circumstances. Smoking is still prohibited while working or traveling through forested areas.
The very dry and hot weather conditions have significantly dried forest fuels and elevated the danger of wildfires, according to West Oregon District Forester Steve Laam.
"We're starting to observe serious fire conditions locally and statewide," Laam said.
A "regulated use" closure is also in affect, which restricts public activities in forested areas. The restrictions ban smoking in the forest except in closed vehicles, ban campfires outside of designated campgrounds, ban the use of motorized vehicles except on improved roads, ban the use of nonindustrial chain saw use, and ban the use of any fireworks in the forest.
Monmouth-based Forest Capital Partners LCC has closed all public entry to its timberlands in the coast range due to the high fire danger. The closure includes access routes to the Valley of the Giants, and Luckiamute and Siletz river basins.
For more information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry offices in Dallas (503-623-8146) or Philomath (541-929-3266).