Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Safely enjoy the Umatilla National Forest for Independence Day

 

Fireworks prohibited on National Forest lands

PENDLETON, Ore. (June 28, 2022) — With the Independence Day holiday approaching, Umatilla National Forest officials remind visitors to safely enjoy public lands by leaving fireworks at home and taking other precautions to prevent wildfire.

“National Forests are a great place to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence and we hope many of you enjoy time in these special places, but please help us prevent human caused fires by leaving fireworks at home,” said Eric Watrud, Forest Supervisor.

Forest regulations prohibit possessing, discharging, or using any kind of fireworks, including sparklers and smoke bombs, on National Forest lands. Violators can be subject to a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail (36 CFR 261.52).  Anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for suppression costs.

In addition, while areas of the Umatilla National Forest look green, forest fuels are drying out quickly so please be careful with campfires, cigarettes, and chainsaws. Forest visitors should build their campfires in a fire pit surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings, in areas cleared of all flammable material within a three-foot radius from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. A shovel and one gallon of water are recommended to be in your possession while building and tending campfires. These safety guidelines also apply to the use of charcoal briquettes.

Most campgrounds on the Umatilla National Forest are open and charge fees ranging from $8 to $24 per night. Other fees may be imposed for additional vehicles parked at a single campsite. The Umatilla National Forest is also now offering campsite reservations at Bull Prairie Lake, Jubilee Lake, North Fork John Day and Olive Lake campgrounds. Individual campsites can be reserved through https://www.recreation.gov. Reservations made through recreation.gov will include an $8 transaction fee in addition to the campsite fee. All other campgrounds on the Forest remain available as first-come, first-served.

To ensure a safe and successful weekend trip, recreationists are urged to:

  • Contact the local Ranger District office before you head out to make sure the area you’re traveling to is accessible or if restrictions are in place.
    • The Umatilla National Forest may have Public Use Restrictions in place on the Forest. Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest’s Public Use Restrictions is available on the Umatilla National Forest Information Hotline at 1-877-958-9663.
  • Be extremely careful with campfires and never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Obtain a Motorized Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the area you’re visiting if you plan to ride ATVs, OHVs or motorcycles.
  • Be prepared. Pack additional food, water, clothing and other emergency supplies.
  • Let someone know your destination and estimated time of return. Cell phone service is often unavailable in the mountains.

The fire danger rating will move to MODERATE on Friday, July 1. The public’s awareness of the increasing fire danger and cooperation is essential to a safe fire season. Recreationists, firewood cutters, hunters, and other forest users can all help by closely adhering to restrictions, operating safely and cautiously, and keeping up to date on the latest orders and regulations.

Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.

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Oregon Department of Forestry begins fire season in Northeast Oregon District

La Grande, OR- While Spring 2022 has brought more precipitation than the previous few years, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is seeing vegetation drying occurring across the Northeast Oregon District. Fuel conditions are changing rapidly as the summer weather pattern sets in. This change in weather conditions has prompted ODF to begin fire season on private forest lands in northeast Oregon.

FIRE SEASON will begin at 12:01 a.m., Friday, July 1st for forest and range lands protected by ODF Northeast Oregon District. “We’ve seen a little reprieve this spring and early summer. Fire Season has been announced in June for the past few years, so it’s been good to have some delay this year.” Said Matt Howard, District Forester.

The fire season declaration places fire prevention restrictions on landowners and public. Additionally, fire prevention regulations on industrial logging and forest management activities are put into place. Lands affected include private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in Union, Baker, Wallowa, and Umatilla counties along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow, and Grant counties within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District. This area encompasses approximately 2 million acres of protected lands.

Howard states “Those spring storms have provided some much-needed moisture. However, this moisture has caused a lot of growth in our fine fuels, such as grasses, small brush, and shrubs. These are often our carrier fuels and are more susceptible to quickly drying and becoming ready-to-burn faster.”

During Fire Season:

• Debris burning is by permit only. To obtain a burn permit for a debris pile or burn barrel, please call your local ODF office.

o Baker City Sub-Unit: (541) 523-5831

o La Grande Unit: (541) 963-3168

o Pendleton Unit: (541) 276-3491

o Wallowa Unit: (541) 886-2881

• The use of exploding targets, tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.

• Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF. Contact your local Stewardship Forester at any NEO District office for more information.

• Campfires must be DEAD OUT! Recreationists are reminded that campfires need to be attended and fully extinguished before being left. Get permission from the landowner prior to starting a campfire.

• The use of Sky Lanterns is always illegal in Oregon.

For information on restrictions across the Northeast Oregon District, dial: (541) 975-3027 or visit www.bmidc.org, for current information on fire restrictions.

To report a fire, dial 9-1-1.

Make sure you know the fire restrictions before you head out. Check with your local Forest Service office for fire regulations on National Forest land, or BLM office for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Information on Public-Use Restrictions on the Oregon Department of Forestry, Umatilla National Forest and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest can be found at http://bmidc.org/index.shtml under Current Information: Fire Restrictions.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Take a preventative approach to campfire safety

 JOHN DAY, PENDLETON, and BAKER CITY, Ore. (June 9, 2022) – As weather conditions get warmer and drier, National Forest officials would like to remind the public to use safety precautions when building campfires.

All campfires should be in a fire pit surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings, in areas cleared of all flammable material within a three-foot radius from the edge of the pit, and free of overhanging material. Forest visitors should also carry a shovel and at least one gallon of water while building and tending campfires. These guidelines apply to the use of charcoal briquettes as well.

While lightning is the leading cause of wildfires in Blue Mountains forests, human-caused fires are preventable. Human-caused fires are also unpredictable and can stretch firefighting resources thin, especially when lightning-caused fires require firefighters’ attention at the same time. By following tried and true campfire safety practices now, we can all do our part to prevent wildfires this summer and fall.

As fire danger levels increase, the National Forests will implement Public Use Restrictions, also known as PURs, which limit the use of campfires, chainsaws, smoking, and off-road motorized travel. PURs will be implemented in phases, based on increased fire danger, hot and dry weather conditions, and concern for public safety.

Forest officials recommend the following campfire safety precautions:

  • Always abide by local campfire laws.
  • Only adults should build and maintain campfires.
  • Find a shady spot away from dry logs, overhanging branches, bushes, needles, or leaves.
  • Use existing fire-rings where it is safe to do so. Don’t build fire-rings in roads. (Note: within the Grande Ronde Scenic Waterway, campfires must be contained in a fireproof container (i.e., "fire pan") with sides of a height sufficient to contain all ash and debris, and all ashes and debris must be removed from the river corridor. Do not use or construct fire pits or rock fire rings within the Scenic Waterway.)
  • Keep campfire rings small and use wood no bigger than the ring.
  • Keep tents and other burnable materials away from the fire.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Those leaving campfires unattended can be billed for the cost of fire suppression.
  • Drown the campfire with water and stir charred material.
  • When leaving, make sure your fire is DEAD OUT. Very carefully feel all sticks and charred remains. Make sure no roots are smoldering. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.
  • Find more campfire safety information at https://smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos/campfire-safety

For more information on Public Use Restrictions and fire danger levels, please contact your local Forest Service office or visit one of the following websites:

 

For all other information about the Malheur, Umatilla or Wallowa-Whitman National Forests, visit:

Malheur National Forest:

Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/malheur

Supervisor’s Office: John Day (541) 575-3000

www.facebook.com/MalheurNationalForest

Twitter: @MalheurNF

Umatilla National Forest:

Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla

Supervisor’s Office: 541-278-3716

www.facebook.com/UmatillaNF

Twitter: @UmatillaNF

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest:
Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/wallowa-whitman/home
Baker City (541) 523-6391; La Grande (541) 962-8500; Joseph (541) 426-5546
www.facebook.com/WallowaWhitmanNF
Twitter: @WallowaWhitman
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Monday, May 2, 2022

Oregon Department of Forestry Hiring Seasonal Personnel

Pendleton, OR- With Fire Season 2022 approaching quickly, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is looking for seasonal firefighters to work in the Pendleton Unit in Umatilla County. Known as Wildland Fire Suppression Specialists, these personnel provide the frontline defense from wildfires on private forestlands in Umatilla and Morrow counties. With positions open for both experienced and entry-level positions, applicants with no previous fire experience are encouraged to apply. 

 “We have positions for experienced firefighters, as well as entry-level, or the folks just starting out.” said Lindsay Olivera, Wildland Fire Protection Supervisor. “The only requirements for our entry-level firefighters is that they are 18 years old by the time their position starts and they must possess a valid driver’s license.”

 Fire season in northeast Oregon typically runs from mid-June through October, depending on the weather and fuel conditions. Firefighters who are hired are provided training when they begin their season. ODF also offers housing in Ukiah for personnel who are stationed there.  Successful applicants may respond to fires throughout Oregon during the fire season. While the hiring process for many federal positions has closed, ODF is currently seeking applications for Fire Season 2022.      

 “Firefighting can be a very rewarding career. Some of folks that start fighting fire as a summer job, have found their permanent career with ODF. We try to look for opportunities to help folks find a career path here.” states Olivera.

 Anyone interested in seasonal employment with ODF can apply at: reach Lindsay Olivera at: https://oregon.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/SOR_External_Career_Site

Or contact Lindsay Olivera at lindsay.m.olivera@odf.oregon.gov or at 541-276-3491 with any questions.

Another opportunity for employment with ODF is directed to private contractors with equipment to fight fires. ODF hires heavy equipment and fire engines to assist in the firefighting effort each season.  Signed up under the Incident Resources Agreement or IRA, private contractors can signup an array of firefighting resources. Resources include heavy equipment to engines and water tenders and numerous other types of tools. Contractors and companies with firefighting and support equipment that is not already signed up through a USDA Forest Service agreement or contract can contact Oregon Department of Forestry Pendleton Unit for more information on the IRA process. Contact the ODF Pendleton Unit at 541-276-3491 with questions or to make an appointment to sign up.

 

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Monday, November 1, 2021

Umatilla National Forest prepares for long-term restoration after 2021 wildfires

 PENDLETON, Ore. (November 1, 2021) — As the smoke clears from the unprecedented wildfire activity on the Umatilla National Forest this year, Forest officials will be considering several options to restore the landscape within the burned areas moving forward. Fires burn at different intensities in different areas, so specific actions will vary across the landscape and some post-fire restoration may take multiple years to complete.

Three large wildfires burned more than 150,000 acres total and approximately 105,000 acres on the Umatilla National Forest this summer. While all the fires are now contained, some hazards may still exist including burned or dead trees, stump holes, loose rocks or logs, or isolated areas of burning material.

After any major wildfire, the landscape is transformed from the soil up to the tree canopy. Post-fire recovery work and timelines are greatly influenced by the size and severity of the wildfire.  Some activities, such as suppression repair, occur prior to containment to restore impacts from suppression operations, including rehabilitating hand and dozer fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones, and drop points. Additionally, erosion control measures are implemented during suppression repair, such as constructing water bars (angled trenches) to route water and planting native seed.

Forest Service officials also assess hazards that remain in burned areas after fire, such as fire-weakened trees, rock fall, and areas of high erosion potential that can lead to landslides. These assessments are completed by a Burned Area Emergency Response Team (BAER) that comes in to evaluate imminent post-wildfire threats to life, safety, property and critical natural or cultural resource needs. BAER Teams have assessed and identified emergency treatments on the Lick Creek, Green Ridge and Elbow Creek fires that burned on the Pomeroy and Walla Walla Ranger Districts. Over the next several months, Forest staff will conduct emergency treatments, which include placement of roadside and recreation safety signs, replacement of damaged boundary and travel signs, repair of road and trail drainage structures, seeding around threatened and endangered species, and treatment of noxious invasive plant species.

In addition to these efforts, the Forest is developing long-term restoration strategies to help the landscape recover and become more resilient to future disturbances. Scientists and other specialists assisted Umatilla National Forest staff in identifying the ecological damage and making recommendations on specific actions that could help the area rebound naturally. Additionally, Forest staff are developing proposals for potential areas to conduct salvage harvest and replanting. Since the fire has burned in a mosaic pattern, there may be very different biodiversity impacts at different locations and elevations.

The Forest is also evaluating infrastructure damage from this summer’s wildfires, including campgrounds, day-use areas, bridges, roads and trails. The most significant impacts identified are to the numerous trail systems within the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. Trail maintenance and reconstruction, as well as removal of fallen trees, will be a recurring need for several years following the wildfires. This type of work will be part of the Forest’s long-term post-wildfire restoration strategy. Falling trees and unstable trail surface are currently potential hazards in the burned areas and the public should use caution when recreating in areas that have recently burned.

To keep the public updated on post-fire recovery and long-term restoration, the Umatilla National Forest has developed an interactive story map, which can be viewed here: https://arcg.is/0nyrWq

Updates on fire-related projects and restoration will be posted on the story map as they are developed. The story map also provides a summary of the 2021 wildfire season, interactive maps highlighting this year’s wildfire activity, photos and maps on treatments that aided in firefighting efforts, and continued restoration activities moving forward.

As a reminder, some roads remain closed on the Forest for public safety. Umatilla National Forest officials are evaluating fire closures regularly and will modify or lift closures as soon as it is safe to do so based on fire activity and suppression operations. Sites directly impacted by wildfire may remain closed after fire activity has subsided while the Forest assesses hazards. Falling snags and limbs, stump holes, unstable ground, rock falls, downed trees, debris flows, and landslides can all occur in a post-fire landscape. Please recreate responsibly by respecting fire closures. They are in place for the safety of the public, to protect natural resources, and to allow critical repair work to be accomplished quickly and efficiently.

Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla

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Thursday, October 21, 2021

BMIDC Morning Briefing, Thursday, October 21st, 2021

 

BMIDC MORNING BRIEFING

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

BMIDC WEBSITE

10/20 (NEW) INITIAL ATTACK

Fires

Acres

Umatilla National Forest

0

0

Wallowa Whitman National Forest

0

0

Vale/PRD District BLM Baker Area

0

0

NEO Oregon Department of Forestry

0

0

WA DNR Snake River Unit

0

0

BIA Umatilla Agency

0

0

Total

0

0

INCIDENT SUMMARY

Fire Activity

10/20 

Initial Attack 

No IA To Report

Prescribed Fire

OR-WWF-001542, Cat Box Grapple Piles. GRFZ. Buck Creek Area, 10 SW of Union. 66 accomplished 10/20.

Example: OR-974S-001114, Buck. WAL ODF.  T4N R44E Sec 11 NWNW. Courtney Creek Area. 29 Miles North of Enterprise, OR.  .1 Acres.  Unknown Cause.  ODF Stat Fire.  Resources Responded 9/29.  Contained 9/29.  Grass. 

 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Forest Service Road 4713 to reopen on the Pomeroy Ranger District

 PENDLETON, Ore. (October 20, 2021) —Based on assessments of road conditions and slope stability following recent rainfall, Umatilla National Forest officials will reopen Forest Service Road (FSR) 4713 on the Pomeroy Ranger District on Friday, Oct. 22. 

The remaining road closures are in effect to protect public and firefighter safety. Hazards along the closed roads include burned or dead trees, erosion, unstable road or trail surfaces, uncontained fireline and ongoing suppression operations (such as the presence of firefighting resources or large equipment). Public entry is prohibited on the roads as identified in the closure and described below.

  • Forest Service Roads (FSR) 4712: all vehicles greater than 50-inches in width are prohibited from traveling on any part of FSR 4712. (4.3 miles)
  • All vehicles are prohibited from traveling on portions of or all the following roads:
    • FSR 44 (3.9 miles)
    • FSR 41 (5.6 miles)
    • FSR 4206 (6.7 miles)

Detailed maps describing the updated road closures is available at the end of this news release, on the Forest website and at any Forest office. Closure barriers and signs will be posted on the ground. 

With much of the fire footprints open, forest visitors should be cautious when entering any recently burned area and be aware of increased hazards, particularly snags (which are recently burned or dead trees). The Green Ridge Fire still has uncontained fireline on the southern edge and the public is encouraged to avoid that area. Forest officials ask that visitors do not camp or linger in a burned area. Dead or dying trees that remain standing after a fire are unstable, especially in high winds. Loose rocks and logs can be present in a burned area and are unpredictable, creating a falling a hazard. Additionally, burned vegetation can also contribute to landslides, mudslides and erosion when rain occurs. The ground in a burned area can also be unstable, due to burned-out roots beneath the soil. Even areas that have no visible fire and that appear cool can still have hot ash pits below the surface.  After soils and vegetation have been charred, rainfall that would normally be absorbed could run off extremely quickly.

Forest visitors may also encounter firefighter traffic, downed trees in roadways, dusty roads and areas of smoke. Please be alert when traveling on the Forest. 

The latest fire information will be posted on the Blue Mountains Fire Information Blog. To receive updates on fires in the Blue Mountains, follow our blog at http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/.  

Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla. 

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