New fire restrictions take effect Aug. 3

As conditions continue to dry out and temperatures rise, the risk of wildfire increases across southwestern Oregon.

Any fires that may start have the potential to become serious in size and complexity, according to a statement from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

The national forest district announced it will impose public-use restrictions on Aug. 3.

Those restrictions will not apply to lands within designated Wilderness boundaries. And there are separate public-use restrictions for the lower Wild and Scenic Rogue River.

The forest district said the restrictions reduce the risk of human-caused fires by limiting where open flames may occur, and areas where smoking or operating internal combustion engines is permissible. The restrictions include:

• Limiting the building of campfires to Forest Service-constructed fire rings that are made of concrete or metal, and are located in designated recreation sites.

• Smoking is allowed only in vehicles, designated recreation sites, areas clear of vegetation measuring at least 3 feet in diameter, or aboard watercraft on waterways.

• Operating an internal combustion engine is allowed only in excepted areas that are specified in the official closure order.

• Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame is prohibited.

The use of propane or liquid fuel-powered commercial stoves is allowed.

The district said that thus far in 2019, its officials have responded to and extinguished 10 small human-caused fires, mostly attributed to abandoned campfires.

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