Some places in Southern Oregon seeing a late start to fire season


MEDFORD, Ore. – Despite the summer-like temperatures recently, many local fire agencies are actually expecting a late start to fire season.

Ashland Fire and Rescue told the Ashland City Council on Monday that the late start is due to a wet winter. The agency also said that fire season will technically begin June 1 but aren’t expecting fire danger to pick up until later this summer and they’re not the only agency expecting that. Jackson County Fire District 5 Fire Battalion Chief, Brian Bolstad said,

We follow what ODF declares is a fire season start. Until then, we encourage people to improve their defensible space.

Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest declares the official start of fire season each year in Jackson and Josephine counties. Agencies like Ashland Fire and Rescue, Medford fire department, Jackson County Fire District 5 and many more follow their lead. Agencies say usually this time of year, fire season is either already underway or about to be.

Brian Bolstad said,

Last few years it started May first, which indicated how conditions were in those years. But because of our wetter spring, I think a later start makes more sense.

Bolstad said this doesn’t mean agencies aren’t preparing,

We start gearing up for fire season in the spring and doing training with the tools and rigs that we use more during fire season than any other time of year.

However, east of the cascades, ODF Klamath-Lake District said it is seeing a different story. The Public Information Officer for ODF Klamath-Lake District Jennifer Case said,

Over here, we do still have some snowpack on some of our mountain’s ridge tops and so we’re going to see some of that melt off. But we’re going to have some pretty high temperatures this weekend so, it’s going to start melting quickly, so I would say maybe not a late start but a normal start to fire season.

Case said that they’re keeping their eyes on several different factors which includes going off of moisture content in vegetation and soil to help determine how susceptible the land is to fires.

We work with our partners to really look at those, like our ERC’s, energy release components, we look at other factors, our temperatures, stuff like that to determine when we go into fire season.

For now, fire agencies are recommending Oregonians to start preparing themselves and as soon as possible. To learn more, call residents can call their local fire department or get more information here.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
Skip to content