After a couple of days of significant rainfall, residents may be wondering if fire season in Brookings and Curry County is over.
The answer is no, according to Jim Watson, operations fire chief for Brookings Fire and Rescue.
“There has been some confusion with different areas going out of fire season and now allowing burning. Most of Curry County is still in fire season with no open burning allowed,” Watson said. “Residents are encouraged to call their local agencies to see if burning is allowed.”
In Southern Curry County residents can call the Burning Information line at 541-469-0288. Most all other burning questions in Curry County can be referred to Coos Forest Protection Agency (CFPA) at 541-247-6241.
On Tuesday, CFPA officials said fire season doesn’t end after the first few day of rain.
“There is an abundance of dead grass left from summer and new dead leaves on the ground so the fine fuel load is high,” explained John Flannigan, prevention specialist for CFPA.
“The fine fuels can dry out in a few hours on a sunny day. Large fuels haven’t recovered their moisture from drying all summer. Live fuel moistures are still minimal so fire danger can go from low to high in a day or two,” he said.
It takes several inches of rain over a period of time to penetrate the forest canopy and soak into the duff and large fuels. This region is subject to dry east winds in early fall so it is rare for fire season to end before the first week or two of October, he said.
Until fire season is lifted, all outside debris burning is prohibited. Debris piles burned during early fall can smolder for days, rekindling and causing fires when the weather changes.
Recreationists should continue to use caution while in forested areas, following fire season restrictions and knowing access restrictions.
The Regulated Use Closure will remain in place at this time. Hunters and recreationists will need to contact local landowners to see if entry onto their land is permitted. For information on fire danger and closures, contact the CFPA 24-hour closure information line at 541-267-1789 or visit www.coosfpa.net.