The Oregon Department of Forestry has increased the fire danger level to high on lands it protects in Jackson and Josephine counties. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will remain at Level 1.

The regulations affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

Restrictions on the public use of chain saws, brush cutters and other power-driven or spark-emitting machinery will be the biggest change, allowing the use of such equipment only between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m.

The following fire prevention regulations go into effect today:


No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels;
No fireworks on forest lands;
Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited;
Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations;
Open fires are prohibited which includes campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at locations deemed a designated campground. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are still allowed;
Chain saws may not be used between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. during high fire danger. During hours outside of that time frame, chain saws may be used but the operator must have one shovel and one 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher at the work site. A fire watch is also required for one hour after each chainsaw use;
Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is not allowed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. during high fire danger. Those activities are allowed during hours outside of the time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site;
The mowing of dead or dried grass with power-driven equipment is not allowed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. during high fire danger. The restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops;
Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, will be allowed only on improved roads free of flammable vegetation. One shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling;
Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine use not specifically mentioned is not allowed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. during high fire danger. Use of any spark-emitting internal combustion engine is allowed outside of this time frame only if the work site is cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and a water supply is at the job site;
Any electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation.

For more information about the ODF fire restrictions, call the agency's Medford office at 541-664-3328 or the Grants Pass office at 541-474-3152. Information is also available online at www.swofire.com.