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Regulated use takes effect tonight; fire danger moderate


July 5, 2016

The Sweet Home Unit fire danger signs are set to "moderate" today.

The Oregon Department of Forestry Sweet Home Unit will enter regulated use at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 1, limiting the use of campfires and fireworks in ODF-protected lands around Sweet Home; and the fire danger increased to “moderate” Thursday, June 30.

The regulated-use closure specifically aims to reduce the chance of wildfires starting from public activities in forested areas.

The rules prohibit the following:

* Smoking in the forest except in closed vehicles,

* Campfires outside of designated campgrounds,

* All open fires,

* Use of motorized vehicles except on improved roads,

* Use of any fireworks and the use of chainsaws, and

* Mowing of tall dead or cured grass between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The regulated-use closure also requires forest users to carry a shovel with a 26-inch handle and an 8-inch blade and either 1 gallon of water or a 2-1/2 lb. ABC-rated fire extinguisher.

The restrictions affect public and private lands outside the city limits. It includes land owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and private timber owners.

The fire danger designation is based on the “energy release component” levels, which are calculated using computer models and historical fire data, said Sweet Home Unit Forester Craig Pettinger. “There's actually science behind it,” he said. “We've been low for awhile, but looking at the forecast, I don't see us getting a wetting rain.”

The dry weather “is going to stay like this for a long time,” Pettinger said. Sweet Home will probably see cooling over the weekend, but temperatures will reach back into the 80s deeper into July.

Though, if the forecast is correct, Pettinger said, Sweet Home shouldn't see any lightning.

Compared to last year, “we're way better of,” Pettinger said. “We're in a lot better place right now, but we also got some shots of rain in July last year. I don't see that in the forecast.”

For more information about regulated use or fire season, contact the Sweet Home Unit at (541) 367-6108.

An interactive map of restrictions and closures is available at


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