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State officials urge caution as wildfire conditions become extreme
State officials from the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Office of State Fire Marshal are encouraging Oregonians to use extreme caution as intense heat and dry thunderstorms are predicted for areas around the state for the next few days.
The increase in heat reduces the humidity and fuel moistures allowing fires to ignite quickly and burn hot and fast. Smoking, off road driving, campfires, mowing dry grass, the use of power saws, exploding targets and fireworks are examples of activities that are either restricted or prohibited entirely during fire season.
Officials advise contacting the local fire district or Oregon Department of Forestry office for specific restrictions in your area.
Also, to reduce the risk of a wildfire around your home, fire officials suggest removing dead vegetation a minimum of 30 feet around your house. In most cases, trees and healthy plants do not need to be removed. However, trees should be pruned and grass kept short and green to keep fire on the ground and more manageable by fire crews. If you're thinking of landscaping, ask your local nursery or OSU Extension agent about fire resistant plants.
Homeowners should also keep access in mind for large fire trucks. Long driveways should be at least 12 feet wide, have 10 feet of vegetation clearance from the centerline out, and about 14 feet overhead. Large vehicle turnaround areas are critical for your safety as well as firefighter safety.
It is the homeowners' responsibility to protect their homes by building defensible space. For more information, visit the websites for Keep Oregon Green, Oregon Department of Forestry, or call your nearest ODF or forest protective association office.