Help Prevent Wildfires This Holiday Weekend!
Every year, firefighters with the Douglas Forest Protective Association are on high alert for human caused wildfires as people try to escape for one last summer outing over Labor Day weekend. While temperatures have moderated throughout the Umpqua Valley, the fire danger remains “HIGH” on all DFPA protected lands, due to dry forest fuels. Fire officials with DFPA are reminding everyone to be cautious this holiday weekend, whether they are having a backyard barbecue or heading to the lake for a weekend camping trip.
Campfires: Campfires pose a major threat of wildfires this time of year, as it only takes one spark landing in dry vegetation to start a new wildfire. Currently, campfires are only allowed within DFPA designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed elsewhere. A list of DFPA designated campgrounds can be found online at www.dfpa.net/public-fire-restrictions
Vehicles: Throughout the years, fires have been ignited from wheel bearings going out, flat tires, dragging chains, and vehicle malfunctions. Drivers often didn’t realize there was a problem until multiple fires were started over a distance of a mile or more. Before heading to the campground, check the tire pressure, and be sure the trailer is connected properly with nothing that can drag. Those planning to drive through wildland areas are also reminded that vehicles are required to stay on improved roads that are free of flammable vegetation and are required to have an axe, shovel, and a 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher or a gallon of water.
Target Practice: A day of target practice can also start a fire. Target shooters are reminded that tracer ammunition and exploding targets are prohibited during fire season. And while not restricted, metal jacketed bullets have also been responsible for several fire starts in recent years. Having a backstop clear of flammable material is important regardless of what kind of round you are shooting.
Yard Work: Those who stay home to catch up on yard work are still at danger of starting a wildfire. Lawnmowers, weed eaters, and chainsaws can all easily start a fire this time of year. Under DFPA’s Public Use Restrictions, the mowing of dead or dry grass and the use of chainsaws for non-industrial purposes are currently allowed before 10:00 am or after 8:00 pm. Residents are also reminded that all backyard debris burning, including debris piles and burn barrels, remains prohibited.
Additional Closures / Restrictions: In addition to DFPA’s Public Use Restrictions, private industrial landowners and public land management agencies may have additional closures or restrictions on the lands they own or manage due to the fire danger. Residents should check with the appropriate private landowner or public land management agency for the places they wish to recreate on, before heading to the woods. A list of private landowner closures and restrictions can be found online at http://www.ofic.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2019-OFIC-Closure-Form-1.pdf. BLM specific fire restrictions can be found online at www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions.
For more information about DFPA’s Public Use Restrictions, visit www.dfpa.net or call DFPA’s information line at 541-672-0379.