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Burn ban, fire season began Tuesday

‘Regulated use’ closures begin Monday

POLK COUNTY – The Oregon Department of Forestry will increase fire restrictions on forest activities in the West Oregon District, including Polk, Lincoln and Benton counties, on Monday because of rising fire danger.

Regulated use closures are specifically geared to reduce the chance of wildfires starting from public activities in forested areas.

The following activities are banned:

• Smoking in the forest, except in closed vehicles.

• Campfires outside of designated campgrounds.

• All open fires.

• Use of motorized vehicles, except on improved roads.

• Mowing of tall dead or cured grass between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m.

• Use of fireworks, exploding targets, tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge at its base.

• The regulated use closure also requires forest users carry a shovel with a 26-inch handle and an 8-inch blade, and either one gallon of water or a 2 1/2-pound, ABC-rated fire extinguisher.

The Polk County Fire Defense Board in conjunction with the ODF enacted a countywide burn ban for all of Polk County that went into effect June 16.

No burning of any type is allowed during the burn ban, which will remain until significant rains return in the fall.

Any air quality concerns, including smoke, should be directed to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 800-452-4001.

The declaration of fire season is earlier this year than normal because of the warmer and drier weather, Shirl Fredenburg, spokesperson for the ODF.

Restrictions and preventative measures extend to the public on all private and Bureau of Land Management forest lands.

For more information: ODF office in Dallas, 503-934-8146.

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