Saturday, June 27, 2015

Public Use Restrictions increased on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

BAKER CITY, OREGON – Due to increased fire danger and dry weather conditions, Phase A of the Public Use Restrictions (PURS) for campfires, smoking, off-road travel, and chainsaw use will go into effect on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest at 12:01 a.m. (PDT) on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The Seasonal Campfire Restrictions that are currently in place will also be in effect in Phase A of the PURs.

“Phase A is the second level of restrictions, generally implemented when the fire danger is moderate to high,” said Bret Ruby, Fire Staff Officer on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. PURS are phased in collectively, as conditions warrant, and may differ from Forest to Forest.

On Wednesday, July 1 at 12:01 am (PDT), Phase A of the Public Use Restrictions (PURS) will go into effect and will include:

  • Chainsaws may be operated only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time. A one hour fire watch is required after saw operations cease. Saw operators are required to have an axe (minimum 2 lb. head, 26” length), shovel (8” wide, 26” length), and fire extinguisher (minimum ABC 8 oz.) in their possession. 
  • Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles and buildings, developed recreation sites, or cleared areas.
  • No off-road/off-trail vehicle travel or travel on roads not cleared of standing grass or other flammable material; no vehicle travel on those FS roads where access has been impeded or blocked by earthen berm, logs, boulders, barrier, barricade or gate, or as otherwise identified in the Fire Order.
  • Seasonal campfire restrictions and requirements described for June 1- October 31 apply.
    • Campfires allowed only in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread.  All flammable material shall be cleared within a 3 foot radius from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. Use existing pits wherever possible. 
    • Campfires must be attended at all times, and completely extinguished prior to leaving.
    • Persons with campfires are required to have a tool that can serve as a shovel and one gallon of water in their possession. The intent of this requirement is to ensure individuals with a campfire to have the tools necessary to completely extinguish their campfire.
    • Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled gas and wood burning stoves equipped with a chimney that is at least five (5) feet in length with a spark-arresting screen consisting of ¼ inch mesh hardware cloth are allowed.
    • Use of charcoal briquettes is permitted under the same restrictions as campfires described above.
The public’s cooperation and awareness of the increasing fire danger is essential to a safe fire season. “Recreationists, firewood cutters, hunters, and other forest users can all help in ensuring a safe fire season,” Ruby said. The public is responsible for knowing if restrictions are in place.

For more information about the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Public Use Restrictions, please visit our website or call our Public Affairs Officer Katy Gray at 541-519-4623, Public Affairs Specialist Matt Burks at 541-523-1208, or one of our Forest Information Hotlines:

·        Baker City (541) 523-1234
·        La Grande (541) 962-8679
·        Joseph (541) 426-5552
Please visit the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at for public use restrictions on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) or check with your local ODF office:

·        La Grande Unit                               (541) 963-3168
·        Baker City Sub-Unit                       (541) 523-5831
·        Wallowa Unit                                 (541) 886-2881
·        Pendleton Unit                               (541) 276-3491
Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest! Please visit our website  for up to date recreation information.

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