Cow Creek Umpqua Lands Closed Due to Wildfire Risk
Extreme heat above 100 degrees is on its way this week to Southern Oregon and the ancestral lands of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. As a result of increasing fire danger, local agencies as well as the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe will close lands to public use.
The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Coos and Curry counties, as well as parts of Lane and Klamath counties. The warnings are extended through Thursday, August 17.
In addition to the heat wave, the National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for parts of Douglas County and the Rogue Valley on Monday afternoon and evening, when gusty winds combined with low humidity will bring potential fire risks to a high level. Parts of the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest where the Flat Fire is currently burning, and the Cascade Foothills in eastern Lane County are also under red flag warnings this week.
Last week, the Douglas Forest Protective Agency (DFPA) elevated public lands restriction level to extreme, meaning “non-industrial power saw usage, cutting, grinding, or welding of metal, cutting, trimming, or mowing of dried, cured grass, and power-driven machinery for non-industrial improvement or development on private property” is prohibited on private, county, state, and Bureau of Indian Affairs land within the Douglas District.
In accordance, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians will join other local landowners in closing their lands to public access and other uses, effective as of 12AM on August 14, 2023 through 11:59PM on August 24, 2023. The Tribal Board of Directors will reassess at that time to determine whether extended closures are necessary.
Public use restrictions and industrial operations restrictions are imposed to protect the Tribal land, resources, and visitors. Tribal lands will be patrolled by Cow Creek Tribal Police and the DFPA.
In Douglas County, temperatures are expected to be between 102 and 110 degrees, with Monday expected to be the hottest day of the week.
According to the National Weather Service, “extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.”
During June of 2021, a similar heat wave that reached 117 degrees in Oregon killed dozens of people across the Pacific Northwest. Experts are concerned this week’s weather could have the same deadly impact.
“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors,” advises the National Weather Service. “Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.”
For more information regarding Tribal land closures, contact Lindsay Campman, Communications and Marketing Manager for the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians at (541) 492-5241 (office) or (541) 529-9159 (mobile).