Extreme fire danger shuts down public land use

plane drops fire retardant

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- Due to what officials are calling 'extreme fire danger,' some forestlands are now being shut down for public recreational use.

Officials with Roseburg Resources Co. announced Tuesday morning, that due to the threat of wildfire, all of their lands in Oregon and California are closed to public recreational access until further notice.

The closure is effective immediately.  For information on RRC's closures, you can call their information hotline at 541-784-2895.  There, you can find out updates and information on the lands affected, and any updates on re-opening.

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The Umpqua National Forest is also implementing tighter restrictions on land use due to the fire danger, which also affect logging and industrial operations.

The UNF released the following on Tuesday morning:

ROSEBURG, OR – Due to increased fire danger levels, the Umpqua National Forest will enter Industrial Fire Precaution Level III and initiate public-use restrictions effective 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, September 19. 

Under IFPL III, all firewood cutting on the Umpqua National Forest is prohibited.

Under IFPL III, also called partial shutdown, industrial operators are prohibited from performing the following:
•    Cable yarding – except that gravity operated logging systems with non-motorized carriages may operate between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. when all blocks and moving lines are suspended 10 feet above ground except the line between the carriage and the chokers;
•    Power saws – except at loading sites and at tractor skidder operations between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. 
In addition, the following are permitted between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.:
•    Tractor, skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders, or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fireline are immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start;
•    Mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material;
•    Blasting;
•    Welding or cutting of metal;
•    Any other spark emitting operation not specifically mentioned. 

The following public-use restrictions are in effect:

1.    Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, or campfire, including a charcoal fire, except in campfire rings at developed campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuel are permissible.
2.    Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable material.
3.    Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device.
4.    Using an explosive.
5.    Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine in violation of Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) Directives. The current IFPL 3  “Partial Shutdown” does not allow any wood cutting either for commercial or personal use.  For timber operators, operating at landings, chainsaw use is allowed only from 8 p.m. to 1 p.m.
6.    Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order.
7.    Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
8.    Possessing or using a motorized vehicle off National Forest System Roads, except when operating in compliance with the travel management rule and the Motor Vehicle Use Map.

“Our current weather conditions are unseasonably hotter and drier than usual,” said Allen Hubbs, Umpqua Deputy Fire Staff Officer.  “We can use everyone’s help in not starting human-caused fires at this time of year.”

For more information, including a list of the designated recreation sites where campfires are permitted, visit www.fs.usda.gov/umpqua, or call 541-672-6601.