MEDFORD, Ore. – RealEstateRama – As the weather warms and fire danger increases, Bureau of Land Management Medford District officials are implementing public use restrictions on BLM-managed lands in southern Oregon. Starting June 4, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., certain activities on BLM-managed lands in Jackson and Josephine Counties will be restricted to prevent human-caused fire and reduce wildfire potential.
The Western U.S. is in the most expansive and intense drought this century, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the drought continues to intensify in parts of the Pacific Northwest, including Southern Oregon. Jackson and Josephine counties experienced the driest April and May on record, which dates back 111 years. Significant fire potential is expected to increase to above normal for Southern Oregon in June.
“Don’t let the cooler weather in the forecast fool you. It’s extremely dry out there,” said Natalie Simrell, BLM Medford Fire Management Officer. “Eighty-seven percent of all wildfires are human-caused, so we’re asking everyone to do their part to protect our forests by knowing and following fire restrictions.”
Starting June 4, campfires will only be allowed at the Hyatt Lake Campground and the lower section of the Rogue River below the high-water mark. In all other areas, visitors can use portable cooking stoves that use liquefied or bottled fuels. Otherwise, campfires or any other type of open fire, including the use of charcoal briquettes, is prohibited.
Additionally, the following activities are restricted:
- Smoking is only allowed while inside a vehicle or while stopped in an area at least three (3) feet in diameter that is clear of flammable vegetation.
- Operating a motor vehicle and parking off road (including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles) is only allowed on roadways clear of flammable vegetation.
- Using fireworks, exploding targets or tracer ammunition is prohibited.
- Using a chainsaw or other equipment with internal combustion engines for felling, bucking, skidding, wood cutting or any other operation is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 PM and 8:00 PM. A firewatch of at least one hour is required following the use of a saw.
- Welding, or operating a torch with an open flame, is prohibited.
Visitors to BLM-managed public lands are also required to carry tools with them to ensure small fires can be put out quickly, including a shovel, axe and at least one gallon of water or a 2.5 pound fire extinguisher.
Violation of these restrictions can result in a fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
The safety of the public and all wildland fire responders is always the number one priority for all wildland fire agencies. This year, it is especially important everyone does their part to reduce human caused wildfires. BLM officials are taking the necessary steps to ensure their ability to deploy firefighters for wildfire response. Officials stress their commitment to the most efficient wildland fire suppression operations during these challenging times.
For updated information on public use restrictions, please visit https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington and the Oregon Department of Forestry at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx
Visit https://www.ready.gov/wildfires to learn how you can prepare for fire season.
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.