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Rain dampens fire danger, as officials watch and wait

 

September 20, 2017



A shot of rain beginning Sunday is driving down the fire danger.

“We had over a half inch,” said Chad Calderwood, forest protection supervisor with the Oregon Department of Forestry Sweet Home Unit. Right now, it’s just dampening things up. It helps out with a lot of the larger fires right now. It moderated our fire danger levels to low.”

That means that mowing, grinding, power saw use and similar activities are permitted all day.

Fireworks, tracer ammunition, sky lanterns, open fires, backyard debris fires and campfires except in designated locations in campgrounds remain prohibited on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. Smoking is prohibited except in vehicles on improved roads, boats in water and at designated locations. Motor vehicles are allowed only on improved roads free of flammable vegetation, and off highways, county roads and driveways, they must carry a fire extinguisher or a gallon of water.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Calderwood said. The forecast turns dry again after this week, with east winds expected after this shot of rain. “East winds have a tendency to dry things out quicker. They will accelerate the drying of the fuels into the moderate to high danger range. It tends to do it rather quickly.”

As of Monday, the Sweet Home Unit had responded to 97 calls, five in the previous week, Calderwood said. Those were mostly public use restrictions and smoke investigations related to smoke from the larger fires in other areas.

The rain this week had some lightning, Calderwood said. As of Monday, fire officials had not located any fires from the lightning.

 
 

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