Although fire danger remains extreme, Sunday's rain has prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to lift some restrictions regarding outdoor activity.
As of Monday, the public use of chainsaws, power mowers, brush cutters and other equipment employing internal combustion engines is allowed until 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
There had been a total shutdown of such equipment on ODF-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties since Aug. 2 because of the extremely hot and dry conditions.
The Industrial Fire Precaution Level, which applies to commercial operators, has been reduced to Level 2.
The agency protects 1.8 million acres of U.S. Bureau of Land Management, state, county and private wood- and grasslands in the two-county area.
"This moisture helped us out a bit," said Caitlin Goins, spokeswoman for ODF's Southwest Oregon District. "Folks can use their chainsaws and other equipment during those hours now."
However, fire danger remains a concern, she said, noting that the dry trend and higher temperatures are expected to return.
"The rain didn't take us out of the woods — we are still in fire season," she said, noting that caution is still urged when doing anything outside that could spark a fire.
Sunday's storm dropped a third of an inch of rain at the U.S. National Weather Service station at the Medford airport, but 1.5 inches of rain was reported at a local fire lookout, according to Goins.
But a few days of dry weather will cause the fire danger to flare up, Goins said. "We're still in extreme fire danger."
Other public regulated use restrictions in effect include:
- No debris burning is allowed, including burn piles or burn barrels.
- Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed in other locations.
- Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads.
- Smoking while traveling is allowed only in enclosed vehicles on improved roads.
- Tracer ammunition and exploding targets cannot be used in wildland areas.
For more Information about fire season restrictions in the two counties, check out www.swofire.com.
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.