Friday, June 26, 2015

Northeast Oregon District Implements Regulated Use Closure as Wildfire Danger Increases

With increasing thunderstorm activity and prolonged high temperatures the need to minimize human caused fire starts has prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Northeast Oregon District to institute a Regulated-Use Closure starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. All lands protected by the district will be placed under heightened fire safety restrictions at that time, including forestland within one-eighth mile of the district boundary. 

 “The measurements that we use to determine fire danger are indicating that the fire danger has reached a point that we normally don’t see until later in the season.” says Kyle Tucker, acting Wildland Fire Suppression Supervisor from La Grande. “Since we can’t control the weather, we use regulated use closures to help influence factors that spark human caused fires.”  The restrictions within the Regulated Closure are intended to reduce the risk of human-caused fires and allow firefighters to focus on fires started by lightning.

Limiting human-caused fires within the Northeast Oregon District is the objective of the closure, which includes the following restrictions:

·       Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations.  Designated locations within the Regulated Use Closure area includes but is not limited to the following Oregon State Parks:  Emigrant Springs, Ukiah Dale, Catherine Creek, Hilgard Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam and Unity Lake.  Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.

·       All debris burning is prohibited, including burn barrels in Baker, Umatilla and Wallowa counties.  Burn barrels in which a burning permit has been issued in Union County are still permitted, but other open debris burning in Union County is prohibited.

·       Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area free of flammable vegetation.

·       Non-Industrial chain saw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.  Chain saw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher.  In addition, a fire watch is required at least one 1 hour following the use of each saw.

·       Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.  Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present.

·       Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

·       Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed  by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and 2 ) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.

·       Use of fireworks is prohibited.

·       Use of sky lanterns is prohibited.

·       Use of exploding targets is prohibited.

·       Use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.
·       Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher.

The Regulated Use Closure for ODF’s Northeast Oregon District affects private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in seven counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, and small portions of Malheur, Morrow and Grant. The Regulated Use Closure is intended to protect natural resources and public health and safety. 

Visit the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at: or contact a local Oregon Department of Forestry office for more complete information on ODF Restrictions:

          La Grande Unit                  (541) 963-3168

          Baker City Sub-Unit           (541) 523-5831

          Wallowa Unit                     (541) 886-2881

          Pendleton Unit                   (541) 276-3491

To report a fire, contact:

Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center                 (541) 963-7171

Or, call 9-1-1.

Please check with your local National Forest for public use restrictions on National Forest land. You can visit the Umatilla NF website at  or the Wallowa-Whitman NF at or contact them by phone at Umatilla 541-278-3716; Wallowa-Whitman 541-523-6391.

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