3/14/21 (Wed.) - NO BURN ALERT: Fire Chief Steve Avgeris has determined that, due to the recent prolonged dryness and higher temperatures, a BURN BAN is necessary within the Colestin district. ODF and CalFire have been dealing with numerous escaped debris burn fires recently; while ODF has not (yet) declared a regional burn ban, we must take this precautionary local measure as we do not have ODF's resources should a fire occur.

The ban will go into effect at midnight on April 15th (Thursday night) and will remain in effect until further notice (until we get measurable precipitation and fire conditions lessen).

Observe the burn ban signs throughout the district; these are posted at the same locations as our usual fire danger level indicator signs. When it is safe to allow burning again, "okay to burn" signage will be posted instead.

Please share this information with anyone who may not know about it, and as always, please immediately call 9-1-1 if you witness fire or smoke during the ban. (This ensures that we are notified and that any needed backup from outside agencies is also notified.)

Thank you for your compliance with this pre-fire season regulation, and for helping to keep our valley safe from fire.

Fire regulations on outdoor burning increase throughout Jackson County

Posted 12/9/20:  Jackson County has increased the fire regulations on outdoor burning. The increased regulations are in effect, and will remain in effect, until further notice:

Now, even though we are technically out of fire season, due to the air quality throughout the greater portion of the county, all residents wishing to conduct open burning or use burn barrels MUST contact Jackson County.

The number to call is 541-776-7007 where callers will receive a recording telling them whether or not they can burn that day.

This only affects burn barrels and open (outdoor) burning of slash or debris. It does not involve wood stoves, fireplaces, or any other indoor heating devices that utilze burning.

Fire Chief Steve Avgeris is required to enforce the regulations. If there are any questions, call Steve at: 541-488-1768 or (cell#) 541-821-8339.

Fire season ended Friday, November 6th, declared by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. The text of ODF's news release is available below.

Thank you for participating in fire safety and prevention, and for helping us get through this very long and challenging fire season safely here in our district.

Here is the text of ODF's news release:

November 6, 2020

Oregon Department of Forestry   -   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Southwest Oregon District
5286 Table Rock Road
Central Point, OR  97502

Contact: Natalie Weber, Public Information Officer
(541) [not published, at ODF's request] or (541) 664-3328

Fire season ends today, but fire prevention continues

After 190 days, fire season ends today, Friday, November 6, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. Lands affected by this declaration include state, private, county, city, and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties totaling 1.8 million acres.

This marks the second longest fire season on record on the Southwest Oregon District, only nine days fewer than the longest recorded season from 1988. The preliminary totals for the season show ODF firefighters tackling 220 wildland fires, totaling roughly 40,494 acres. This total fire count does not even include the number of alarms firefighters responded to related to fire restriction violations, assisting our local partners, and smoke chases throughout Jackson and Josephine Counties;
crews responded to more than 1,400 calls for service that did not result in fire suppression.

The season began with dry conditions on May 1, 2020, prompting an earlier start than most years. However, it wasn’t until late July that the first large fire of the season broke out on the district. The
Worthington fire was first reported on July 30, burning 761 acres five miles northeast of Eagle Point. It was followed by the Grizzly Creek fire a mile north of Howard Prairie Lake; that fire was caught at 325

Up until September, these were the largest fires on the district, and less than 1,000 acres had been burned by 162 fires. September 8, 2020 presented firefighters and residents of the Rogue Valley alike with an unprecedented fire event. The Almeda, South Obenchain and Slater fires all broke out on the same day, fueled by an east wind event typically only experienced once every 20 years. The loss of lives, homes and structures will forever be remembered by fire crews.

ODF as an organization was also challenged in a different way this fire season; COVID-19 presented risks to our firefighters and general staff that created an added hurdle to an already difficult and often stressful time. Safety is always a top priority in the agency, and preventative measures were added to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the district and at fire camps. By following CDC guidelines, including social distancing, wearing masks and sanitizing often, cases were kept at a minimum.

According to the Northwest Coordinating Center, there were seven confirmed positive cases of COVID among firefighting resources assigned to Type 1 or Type 2 incidents in the Northwest Region (Oregon and Washington) this fire season. At the peak of the recent firefighting efforts, there were nearly 8,000 people assigned to fires in the region.

Despite the difficulties encountered this year, overall, 97-percent of all ODF Southwest fires were held at ten acres or less. We accredit this not only to our aggressive initial attack and well-trained team, but our countless partners throughout our region that have helped to make this season a success.

The termination of fire season removes fire prevention regulations on equipment use and the use of fire for debris burning. This applies to the public and industrial operations on forestlands. However, many
structural fire agencies require permits for debris burning; please check with your local fire department to obtain any necessary permits before burning.

While fire season is over, fire prevention must continue. Please be vigilant while burning debris, making sure that a burn pile is never left unattended. Also, please use caution while using machinery that
could produce a spark. Fall weather in Southern Oregon can vary greatly.

While fire season has officially come to a close, we are still here to help. Fire prevention tips and additional information is available online at www.swofire.com, our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest.

Thank you,

Natalie Weber
Public Information Officer
Oregon Department of Forestry
Southwest Oregon District
Cell | [not published, at ODF's request]

Facebook | @ODFSouthwest
Twitter | @SWOfire


MINIMUM fire precaution levels and restrictions are assigned during fire season by the ODF and affect all state, private, county, city and BLM forestlands, including all wildland within the Colestin fire district.

Additional fire precaution restrictions may be assigned by our local District.

Please observe all restrictions and regulations voluntarily; violators will be cited and may be prosecuted if necessary. Also, please report any violators you become aware of.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about regulated activity restrictions, call us at (541) 488-1768, or contact Chief Steve Avgeris directly at: (cell #): (541-821-8339. You can also contact the ODF directly at (541) 664-3328.

Current restrictions and updates are always posted here on our website, and in our bulletin case at the postal kiosk on the Mt. Ashland ski road and in the bulletin case at our kiosk at the south end of the valley.

Bookmark www.crfd.org and check back for updates.

For additional information, see:

ODF's Southwest Oregon District web log at www.swofire.com (or http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml).

ODF's map of Industrial closures and public regulated use proclamations;

ODF's chart of Industrial closures and public regulated use closures.

Thank you for your cooperation and participation in wildfire preparedness, protection and prevention.

Check our Fire Season & Fire News Archives page for links to yearly logs of previous fire seasons, ODF bulletins and news, and specific fire incident and photo archives.

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