Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hot dry weather causes Oregon Department of Forestry to implement additional Public Use Restrictions in Northeast Oregon

August 5, 2015
Contact:  Christie Shaw, (541)263-0661
                Jamie Knight, (541)963-0195, (541)786-0501
Northeast Oregon District Wildfire Blog:
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Effective 12:01 am August 6, 2015

Effective at 12:01 a.m. August 6, 2015 the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is adding additional restrictions to the Regulated Use Closure for lands within the Northeast Oregon District.  The Regulated Use Closure affects private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in seven counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, and small portions of Malheur, Morrow and Grant Counties.  The Regulated Use Closure is intended to protect natural resources and public health and safety.

“Implementing additional restrictions helps to prevent human caused fires during these extreme conditions”, explains Mitch Williams, Unit Forester for the LaGrande Unit, “we are concerned about the lack of moisture and continued hot, dry conditions in northeast Oregon”.  The continued forecast is for warm weather with the potential for thunderstorms later this weekend.  Large fires in the west have reduced available firefighting resources locally and throughout the region.    Additional fire precautions can reduce potential human started fires and allow fire fighters to focus on current fires, and those started by lightning. Williams adds, “We will be continually evaluating the conditions to verify the need for these additional restrictions.”

The Regulated Use Closure includes the following activities:
  • Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking and warming fires, except at designated locations. Designated locations within the Regulated Use Closure area can be found at the following State Parks:  Emigrant Springs, Ukiah Dale, Catherine Creek, Hilgard Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam, and Unity Lake.  Make sure campfires in these designated locations are DEAD OUT before leaving.
  • Debris burning is prohibited, including the use of burn barrels.
  • Non-Industrial chain saw use is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.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.
  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area.
  • Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all terrain vehicles (ATVs), is prohibited except on improved roads, except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Cutting, grinding and welding is prohibited between the hours of 10:00 am. 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, unless specifically waived by the State Forester.
  • Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited. 
  • Use of fireworks is prohibited.
  • 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.
In addition to these restrictions exploding targets, tracer ammunition, and sky lanterns are prohibited during fire season on lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry.
The Regulated Use Closure for private forest lands is designed to help fire managers reduce the threat of human caused fires during hot and dry periods.  While many fires on forestland are ignited by lightning, a significant number of wildfires each year are caused by human activities. Preventing fire starts from human activities reduces impacts to our natural resources, enhances our public safety and preserves the natural beauty of northeast Oregon.    

Year to date fire information for lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry Northeast Oregon District:

Lightning Caused:  26        Acres Burned:  999
Human Caused:  16           Acres Burned:  44

Note that when traveling from private land onto federal land, land use restrictions change.  Please check restrictions before conducting activities in the outdoors. More information for fire danger in Northeast Oregon can be found at 

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                 (541) 963-7171
Or, call 9-1-1.

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