Fall Weather Brings an End to Fire Season

JACKSON & JOSEPHINE COUNTIES, Ore. (Oct. 13, 2023) – Following 134 days, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Southwest Oregon District has officially declared an end to the 2023 fire season in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Consistent rain across the district and new, green grass and vegetation growing in has allowed for all fire season regulations and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPL) to be lifted. This declaration takes effect Friday, October 13, 2023 at 9:00 a.m., and affects 1.8 million acres protected by ODF across Jackson and Josephine counties. At this time, industrial burning still remains prohibited.

The 2023 fire season on the Southwest Oregon District was not without its challenges; Firefighters on the district responded to 207 fires since the season began on June 1, 2023, for a total of 1,634 acres burned. The largest fire of the season, the lightning-caused Smith River Complex, originated in California and burned north into Oregon. While ODF firefighters weren’t able to respond during initial attack on this incident due to its location, the District was proactive with its federal partners at the U.S. Forest Service Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management as the fire began to burn toward the Oregon border. As a direct result, of the fire’s 85,429 acres, only 1,440 acres affected ODF-protected lands in Josephine County. This fire aside, ODF Southwest Oregon firefighters responded to 206 fires during initial attack and stopped them at a collective 194 acres burned. The second largest fire on the district, the Whiskey Creek Fire in Josephine County, was stopped at just 27 acres.

The largest fires of the season on the district are listed below:

Fire Name

Date

Location

Acres

Cause

 

Smith River Complex

(Originated in California)

Aug. 15

CA-OR border, Josephine County

85,429 Total

(1,440 ODF-protected)

Lightning

Whiskey Creek Fire

Aug. 24

Calvert Peak, Josephine County

27

Lightning

Monument Drive Fire

Aug. 20

6000-blk Monument Drive,

Grants Pass

20

Under Investigation

Timber Complex

(Lightning Complex,

Aug. 19

Jackson County

17.4

Lightning

Thunder Ranch Fire

Aug. 25

Josephine County

17

Lightning

Roxy Ann Fire

June 27

Roxy Ann Peak, Medford

14

Equipment Use

Holland Loop Fire

July 21

7500-blk Holland Loop Drive, Cave Junction

11.25

Equipment Use

Heppsie Mountain Fire

Aug. 20

Heppsie Mountain,

Jackson County

10.5

Lightning

 

ODF has an annual goal of putting out 98% of fires at 10 acres or less; with eight out of 207 fires hitting that mark, the district nearly reached its goal, coming in at 96%. 

The termination of fire season removes fire prevention regulations on equipment use and the use of fire for debris burning. This applies to the public and industrial operations on forestlands; however, industrial slash burning is still prohibited. Many structural fire agencies require permits for residential debris burning, please check with your local fire department to obtain any necessary permits before burning and ensure it’s a burn day designated by the county you reside:

  • Jackson County Burn Line: (541) 776-7007
  • Josephine County Burn Line: (541) 476-9663

    Even though the fire season is officially over, please continue to practice fire prevention when burning debris by ensuring a burn pile is never left un-attended and using caution when using machinery that could cause a spark. Please be aware that fires can still spread in fall and winter conditions. This region is extremely prone to wildfire, and for that reason, fire knows no season.

Fire prevention tips and information from the ODF Southwest Oregon District is available online at  Facebook page, @ODFSouthwest and website, www.swofire.com.