Itemizer-Observer staff report
DALLAS – The Oregon Department of Forestry West Oregon District, which includes Polk County from Dallas west, declared fire season on Monday.
The declaration includes ODF-protected lands in the agency’s 12 fire districts. For residents within ODF’s fire protection districts, the arrival of fire season means the end of unregulated outdoor debris burning, a leading cause of wildfires. While permits to burn may be issued in some areas, debris burning is generally prohibited throughout the summer due to increased wildfire risk. Violators burning without a permit will be cited and held liable for fire suppression costs, said an ODF news release.
The North Cascade and West Oregon protection districts are the last two to declare fire season. ODF’s Southwest Oregon District was the first to declare on May 1.
Fire season is declared based on conditions at the local district level, with restrictions intended to help prevent human-caused wildfires. Fire season generally runs through mid-October and ends based on local conditions.
Other public use fire restrictions are also in effect in several areas. The use of fireworks, tracer ammunition and exploding targets are illegal within ODF protection boundaries, as well as other state and federal lands. Campfires, the mowing of dry, cured grass, cutting and welding, power saw use and other spark-emitting activities are regulated at the local level, depending upon the conditions and fire danger. For example, during low fire danger, mowing may be allowed all day. However, during moderate, high and extreme fire danger mowing may be restricted to early morning or prohibited entirely until conditions improve.
For more information about fire restrictions, go to https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions or call the local ODF or protective association office. To learn more about preventing human-caused wildfires, visit Keep Oregon Green on the web at www.keeporegongreen.org.
Forest operators are required to follow requirements, including providing a water supply, fire tools, spark arresters on equipment, and fire watch.