KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Fire Danger is being raised to “High” this Friday morning for all federal, state, county and private lands in Klamath and Lake counties protected by the agencies of the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership, and some fire restrictions are going in place. The public is encouraged to be aware of the current regulations before working or recreating on wildlands in Klamath and Lake Counties.
The Fire Danger includes all private, county and state wildlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Klamath-Lake District. It also applies to the Fremont-Winema National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District, and the Sheldon-Hart Mountain and Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complexes.
Early season summer-like hot, dry weather, depleted snowpack and rapid drying of forest fuels have resulted in fire danger levels reaching “High”. Fires starting in these conditions have potential for rapid fire spread and major damage.
Additionally, the ODF Klamath-Lake District will begin Public Regulated Use Closure starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Fire officials are putting these restrictions into effect to dramatically reduce the chance of an accidental fire start.
Under the Public Regulated Use Closure, the following activities are prohibited on all private, county and state wildlands:
- 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.
- Chainsaw use is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Chainsaw use is allowed at all other hours if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel and one 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. A fire watch also is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
- Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner conducting activities associated with their livelihood. Landowners and their employees conducting activities associated with their livelihood shall carry a shovel and 2 ½ pound fire extinguisher when operating ATVs off improved roads.
- Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling in a motorized vehicle, except on state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher, except for all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles, which must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.
- Use of all fireworks is prohibited.
- Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is prohibited. For landowners and employees of the landowner on their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood, cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. At all other times, the area is to be cleared of flammable vegetation, and the following firefighting equipment is required: one axe, one shovel and one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher in good working order.
Also, the May 15 “Fire Season in Effect” declaration restricted debris burning and timber harvest operations.
In Klamath County, wildland and structural fire protection agencies have agreed to prohibit all outdoor debris burning through the fire season.
Forest operations that require a permit to operate power-driven machinery are required to have fire tools, on-site water supply and watchman service on privately owned forest land.
The release of sky lanterns is prohibited during any time of the year. The discharge of exploding targets and the discharge of tracer ammunition is not permitted during the duration of the fire season.
For more information on restrictions please visit: https://www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/pages/restrictions.aspx
The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is being raised to a Level II on federal lands. Under IFPL II, the following may operate only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.:
- Power saws expect at loading sites
- Cable yarding
- Welding or cutting of metals
Personal and commercial woodcutters are reminded of their responsibility to stay informed of current IFPLs and all restrictions that apply to activities conducted on public lands. Failure to comply with precautionary fire requirements may result in the issuance of a Violation Notice.
For more information on IFPL restrictions please visit: www.scofmp.org.
On the BLM Lakeview District, Public Use Restrictions in the Klamath River Canyon remain in place. They went into effect May 15 for BLM managed lands withing a half mile of the Klamath River from the Keno Dam downstream to the Oregon/California border. The full order can be found at www.scofmp.org/files/BLM-PUR.pdf.
This year has seen an early start to wildfire season in South Central Oregon and conditions continue to dry out as summer approaches. The public is asked to use extreme caution with anything that can potentially spark a wildfire. Equipment should be checked to ensure spark arresters are in working order.
Anyone going out into wildlands should be prepared with water, a shovel, fire extinguisher and axe. Campfires should never be left unattended and should be dead out and cold to the touch before leaving. If you suspect a wildfire, please report it to 911.