Fire restriction rules now at ‘regulated-use closure’ level

The Sweet Home area has been placed under heightened prevention restrictions, known as a “regulated-use closure,” as of Friday, Aug. 13.

The growing wildfire hazard prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) South Cascade District to make the change in the areas WL-1, WL-2 and WL-3.

“The predicted high temperatures, coupled with regular seasonal drying, are likely to create conditions in which any fire start will spread rapidly, even at higher elevations,” ODF forester Ed Keith said.

Other areas of the district entered Regulated Use on July 22.

The Regulated-Use Closure affects non-industrial activities in the forest, including:

1. Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, and on sand or gravel bars that lie between water and high water marks that are free of vegetation.

2. 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.

3. Chainsaw use is prohibited in areas subject to Industrial Fire Precaution Levels III and IV.

4. Chainsaw use is prohibited between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m. in areas subject to Industrial Fire Precaution Level I and II.

Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one ax, one shovel and one operational 8-oz. or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.

5. Use of motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads or for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

6. All motor vehicles must be equipped with one gallon of water or one operational 2-1/2-pound or larger fire extinguisher, one ax, and one shovel, except when traveling on state and county roads. All-terrain vehicles and motorcycles must be equipped with one operational 2- 1/2 lb. or larger fire extinguisher, except when traveling on state and county roads.

7. Use of fireworks is prohibited.

8. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area with a water supply present.

9. Use of exploding targets is prohibited.

10. Mowing of dried and cured grass with power-driven equipment is prohibited between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

11. Blasting is prohibited between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m. Blasting is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area with a water supply present.

The South Cascade District encompasses forestlands in Linn County and the eastern portion of Lane County.

More information on the Regulated-Use Closure may be obtained by calling the Department of Forestry’s South Cascade District office, (541) 726-3588.

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