'Extreme' danger douses campfires

    Floaters, anglers and hikers within the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River will have to go without their evening fires now that fire danger officially has climbed to "extreme" in Southern Oregon.

    The Oregon Department of Forestry enacted the changes Wednesday for the 34-mile stretch of the Rogue from Grave Creek to Wassom Creek near Foster Bar.

    ODF is in charge of fire protection for federal Bureau of Land Management lands, and BLM manages the Wild and Scenic Section jointly with the Forest Service.

    Under the rules, smoking is banned except in boats on the water and on naturally vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars below the river's high-water mark.

    Open fires are prohibited, including camp fires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires. However, portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels will be allowed on naturally vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars below the high-water mark.

    Also, travelers must carry a shovel and gallon-size bucket.

    As always, fireworks are banned in the stretch.

    To check on any updated restrictions in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue, call the Smullin Visitor Center at the Rand National Historic Site at 541-479-3735.

    Central Oregon's nearshore halibut anglers have fared so well this season that today will be their last day to ply for halibut inside the 40-fathom line.

    Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife marine managers had planned for a Thursday through Saturday fishery to wind up a productive year for anglers there.

    But Lynn Mattes, ODFW's halibut project leader, estimated that what remains of the quota would translate into just one more day of fishing.

    After today, Central Oregon's halibut fleet will be grounded until the summer all-depth fishery opens Aug. 2.

    South coast halibut anglers can continue fishing through October, because the season has fixed days and no quota that would trigger an in-season closure.

    The Medford Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is taking reservations for its fundraising banquet and auctions, set for Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Ramada Inn, 2250 Biddle Road, in Medford. The doors open at 5 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m.

    This year's attendees will have the opportunity enter a national raffle to win a gun a week for a year.

    DU chapter fundraisers provide the lion's share of funds for the group's habitat projects. The national organization spends more than $3 million annually on habitat projects in Oregon.

    For information about how to donate to the event or buy tickets, call Matt O'Conner at 541-973-3152 or Clark Bonner at 541-218-7331.

    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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