signsFire Season is now or soon will be in effect in much of the Tree Topics reading area, as declared by the State Forester according to regional fire conditions. So I got online to see what’s been declared. I went over to the ODF Wildfire website and clicked 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.

I chose the Current IFPL/Public Use (Regulated Closure) Chart. It showed that each of the ODF Forest Protection Districts in my area around the mid and southern Willamette Valley – the West Oregon, Western Lane and South Cascade Districts are all at Level 1 precaution, with NW Oregon District to begin July 3rd. 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.

Among other things, 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.

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.

Sadly, 19 forest firefighters died Sunday in Arizona, reminding us of the serious danger fire represents to your property, your family and also to the people who make commitments to protecting them. Please keep those fire fighters, their families and friends, and their colleagues in mind as you head out to work and play in the forests this summer.

Brad Withrow-Robinson
Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Agent
Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

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