POLK COUNTY -- The Oregon Department of Forestry's West Oregon District increased fire safety restrictions in the forest effective July 24 due to the growing wildfire hazard.
"The grasses and other fine fuels have cured, and our crews in the Dallas Unit have responded to quite a few small grass fires recently," West Oregon Assistant District Forester Don Everingham said.
The heightened restrictions, known as a "regulated-use closure," affect non-industrial activities in the forest, including:
* Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.
* Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
* Chain saw use is prohibited.
* Use of motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited except on improved roads.
* 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 2«-pound or larger fire extinguisher.
* Use of fireworks is prohibited.
* Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited.
The West Oregon District encompasses Polk, Benton, Lincoln and southern Yamhill counties.
For more information on the regulated-use closure: Oregon Department of Forestry's West Oregon District office, 541-929-3266.