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With a little planning, residents can greatly reduce fire danger this summer

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Oregon Department of Forestry declares fire season when conditions are in place to create potential wildfires in the region.

Fire season began for northwest Oregon on Monday and with it comes a handful of public use restrictions created to prevent wildfires.

The Oregon Department of Forestry declares fire season when conditions are in place to create a potential wildfire. The declaration made by the ODF on July 1 covers protected areas in western Yamhill County along with Tillamook, Columbia, Clatsop and Washington counties.

The declaration means new and important restrictions for the public when in a protected area. Citizens are not allowed to use tracer ammunition or exploding targets when shooting on protected land and no smoking is allowed in forest operation areas. Using a fuse and cap for blasting is also not allowed unless a district's forester gives prior approval.

The ODF, according to a release, plans to use the National Fire Danger Rating System to keep people informed on the dangers of wildfires. Restrictions will vary based on whether the fire danger is low, moderate, high or extreme.

"Reducing the number of human-caused fires is critical," ODF Columbia City Unit Forester Malcolm Hiatt said in the release. "We want to clearly communicate the current danger level – and the appropriate restrictions to prevent fires under those conditions – to aid that effort."

Drier conditions in the Northwest have made for an increased risk of wildfire in recent years, according to ODF. Rain showers have stalled this drying, but the risk remains from now throughout the summer.

Twenty-one total fires had been reported in northwest Oregon as of June 27 – nearly double the reported amount at that time last year. Just 29 acres have burned, however, compared with 53 at this point last year. Humans have caused all of the fires in northwest Oregon so far this year.

For more information on restrictions and fire prevention tips, visit the ODF website at https://bit.ly/2czG1Vj.


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