Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension agent for Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.
This year’s fires in eastern and southern Oregon, and especially California remind us that fire does not occur only in remote forest areas. It is common in rural areas, can affect farm lands, communities along the wildland-urban fringe, and can even cross the boundary into densely developed communities.
The scale and intensity of fires across the west are increasing for many reasons including historic land management and fire exclusion policies, development patterns and recent climate patterns resulting in many consecutive years of intense droughts. It is important for people in western Oregon to realize that we too live in a fire landscape, even though it is not as common as elsewhere in the state. Continue reading →
Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension agent for Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.
Fire Season will soon be in effect in much of the Tree Topics reading area, as declared by the State Forester according to regional fire conditions (usually by early July). Here are some fire season basics to keep in mind:
To find out when an area is declared, you can visit the ODF Wildfire website and click on Forest Restrictions and Closures section. There you can find links to an overview of the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL), closures and other information about fire regulations and restrictions.
If you choose the Current IFPL/Public Use (Regulated Closure) Chart you can find the fire level precaution for each of the ODF Forest Protection Districts by clicking on that district. Changes in precaution level and closures will be posted there over the summer, so it is a good idea to monitor this information throughout the season.
Please remember that even a Level 1 precaution requires you to carry fire equipment when in the woods. The motor vehicle or light truck (<=26,000 pounds GVW) requirements are:
A) 1 shovel with a minimum 8-inch wide face and a minimum 26-inch length handle, ready for immediate use.
B) 1 axe or Pulaski with a minimum 26-inch length handle, ready for immediate use.
C) 1 approved A,B,C extinguisher, 2.5 pounds or larger (preferably 5 pound minimum), ready for immediate use.
D) Exhaust system with muffler in good operating condition.
Be sure you, your family or others using vehicles on your property are aware of this. I generally make it a habit to carry these tools in my vehicle all summer.
Additionally, if you are using a chainsaw, each saw must have a shovel (meeting above standards), ready for immediate use; an 8-ounce (larger preferred) fire extinguisher, ready for immediate use; the standard exhaust system (spark arrester screen) must be in good operating condition; and the operator must stop the saw before fueling and move the saw at least 20 feet from fueling location prior to starting.
Please be FireWise, alert, aware, and pro-active in fire prevention. Be aware of how and where you park your vehicle, since exhaust system components have been known to ignite dry grass. We’ve had a number of reminders recently that western Oregon is primed for wildfire each summer. You don’t want to be part of the next one.
Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties
At our home, my wife has resolved to work on emergency preparedness this year. Sure, we have a pantry full of food, jugs of water, flashlights and batteries. Heck, anyone living in a rural area keeps those things on hand for comfort in semi-regular storm events.
But how about the really big events or when something very different, like a wildland fire happens? Are you and your family ready? Continue reading →
By Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Benton, Linn & Polk Counties
It is never really too early to think about fire season. With fire season comes rules and regulations that affect both the general public and forest landowners. Nearly everyone is affected by some, such as rules for basic fire tools to be carried when driving on forest roads during regulated use as reported last summer.
If you operate during fire season, then there are other specific rules regarding fire prevention and preparedness that will apply to you. These roles address water supply and fire equipment, fire watch and preventative actions and steps that are meant to prevent wildfire and protect landowners from fire damage, injury and fire cost liability. Continue reading →