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Jul-18-2006 23:52printcomments

Coming Heat Wave Prompts Forestry Officials to Tighten Fire Restrictions Across Western Oregon

Fire officials ask people to be especially mindful of the many hazards that dry conditions bring.

This field burned in 2005 threatening several Salem homes
Photo courtesy: Bill Holmstrom/Salem Fire

(SALEM) - Predicted triple-digit temperatures have prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to tighten fire restrictions in several fire protection districts west of the Cascades.

The Astoria, Tillamook, Forest Grove, West Oregon, Western Lane, Douglas and South Cascade districts will enter regulated use at 1:00 AM Wednesday.

The Coos District will go into regulated on July 21st.

"Regulated use" imposes restrictions on the following activities in the private and public forests protected by the Department of Forestry:

* Campfires and cooking fires are regulated.

* Motorized vehicles are confined to improved roads. Equipment to put out a fire, such as water, fire extinguisher and shovel, must be carried.

* Fireworks are prohibited.

* Smoking is regulated.

* Use of chainsaws is prohibited or limited to certain hours.

* Mowing of dry grass is limited to certain hours.

Since the regulated-use rules apply to rural residents as well as recreationists within department fire protection district boundaries, the following activities are also regulated:

* Welding and arc/torch cutting is prohibited.

* Grinding of metal is prohibited.

While residents of western Oregon have enjoyed green conditions later than normal this summer, that is about to change, according to Western Lane District Forester Rick Rogers.

"We're looking at extreme fire weather this weekend, with 100-degree temperatures that will dry out the grasses in a hurry," he said. "A fire will spread rapidly under these conditions." Regulated-use restrictions may vary slightly from district to district.

Contact your local Oregon Department of Forestry office for the rules in your area.


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