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Fire danger level drops but ODF says caution shouldn't

(KTVL/ Kimberly Kolliner)

Because of high relative humidity and cooler temperatures, fire danger levels have dropped.

Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties have dropped from "extreme" to "high" fire danger...

That means between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. you can mow your dry grass with chain saws and brush cutters.

However, ODF advises, just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should.

"Earlier this year we had a gentleman who was trying to mow some of his dead grass to actually minimize the hazard and it was well within the hours that he could and it did actually spark a fire so there's always that risk and that's why we ask people to just be careful," said Natalie Weber, with ODF,

And so, as a precaution ODF asks you to keep a hose nearby and be ready to call for help.

The following ODF restrictions are still in effect:

• No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.

• No fireworks on forestlands.

• Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited.

• Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used in other locations.

• Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads; one shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.

• Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.

• Chain saws may not be used between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. During hours outside of this time frame, chain saws may be used but require that the operator have one shovel and one 8-oz 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 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. These activities will be allowed during hours 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.

• The mowing of dead or dried grass with power-driven equipment is not allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. during high fire danger. This restriction does not include mowing of green lawns, or equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

• Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine-use not specifically mentioned is not allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 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 Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season public restrictions, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:

• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328

• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152

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