New public fire restrictions have officially taken effect. Beginning July 5, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is implementing restrictions including no open fires except at designated locations, no fireworks and no use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition. This is in addition to the annual burn ban, which prohibits all open pile burning after July 15, and all burning, including barrels, is restricted Aug. 1.
Restrictions will also be prohibiting non-industrial chainsaw use between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. And smoking is not allowed while traveling except in closed vehicles on improved roads. The restrictions are due to dry conditions in the northwest forests and an anticipated busy fire season, as the United States Forest Service expects fire levels to be changing from normal to moderate in the coming weeks.
“If it keeps going the way it is, it wouldn’t surprise me if before July is over we are in high risk fire season,” Nestucca Rural Fire Chief James Oeder said. “We are already starting to see some fires going, which is very early.”
Oeder said that normally August and into September is when they start to see the fire risk rise. Additionally, he stated they are receiving an increasing number of calls about fires already this summer.
“Our call volume has been steadily going up,” Oeder said. “I think this summer could be very busy and very hectic for us.”
ODF officials are encouraging citizens to be prepared and take precautions to prevent fires in your area. Tips they have detailed include carrying a shovel and either a fire extinguisher or at least one gallon of water when traveling in the forest.
These restrictions apply to more counties in Oregon outside of Tillamook County and you can find out all the details of these restrictions and their locations on the ODF website www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.