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RRSNF drops fire danger another level, but risks persist

Another quarter inch of rain was enough for Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest to drop the fire danger level another notch. But warmer, drier conditions on the horizon mean that fire season isn’t over yet.

Fire danger across all ranger districts of the forest will drop from the upper-middle “high” to the lower-middle “moderate” level effective one minute after midnight Tuesday, Sept. 28, according to a U.S. Forest Service release. However, campfire restrictions will stay in place.

It’s the second drop in fire danger this month, according to earlier news reports.

Restrictions to campfires will remain at Industrial Fire Precaution Level II within the boundaries of the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek to the mouth of Watson Creek.

Level II restrictions prohibit campfires, but allow for propane stoves and charcoal briquettes when cooking in a raised fire pan below the high water mark in the Wild and Scenic zone.

At designated campgrounds, campfires are only allowed in concrete or metal fire rings.

All other restrictions will drop to a Level I, meaning that restrictions are lifted in the use of gas-powered equipment aside from a one-hour fire watch after their use.

The rainfall across the district prompted the reduction, according to quotes from Assistant Fire Staff Officer Mike McCann in the release.

“As a result of receiving an average of .25 inch precipitation accumulations across the forest, we’re ready to lower IFPL levels, but we’re not quite ready to relax the public use restrictions,” McCann said.

McCann stated that he expected another cold front behind the one that prompted those rains. After that, however, will be warm, dry weather temperatures reaching the 80s by the end of the week in the Rogue Valley.

On the coast, the Forest Service expects another inch and a half of rain before temperatures warm up to the 70s.

The Forest Service asks people visiting the forest to take “appropriate precautions” when visiting, recreating or driving in the forest. Drivers are asked not to drive or park vehicles over dry vegetation that may cause wildfires, to make sure chains on trailers are properly secured to avoid sparks and to fully douse campfires.

For the latest fire restrictions, see fs.usda.gov/alerts/rogue-siskiyou/alerts-notices.