Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fire Managers Urge Hunters to Use Extreme Caution

Oregon Department of Forestry
Union County Emergency Services
Union County Fire Defense Board

For Immediate Release:                                                                                                 August 26, 2015

La Grande, OR:  Union County fire managers are understandably weary as hunting seasons in Northeast Oregon are about to begin.  Fire season around the region has brought more fires and more acres burnt in 2015 than the 10 year average.  Typically, hunting seasons are a time when human caused fires increase significantly.  Cool evenings and mornings can make a campfire appealing to campers and hunters.  Increased off-road travel is also a factor in these fire starts.

Firefighting resources are extremely spread thin throughout the region, fire managers are urging those headed out to hunt, camp or use off-road vehicles to use extreme caution and double check restrictions before they leave town.

“It’s a good idea to check with the individual landowners before you head out.  ODF has restrictions in place, but often times, landowners will have more stringent regulations of their own.”  Said Mitch Williams, acting Unit Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry.

On lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry, restrictions are already in place to help prevent human caused wildfires.  These restrictions include but are not limited to:
ü  No open fires including campfires
ü  No debris burning including burn barrels
ü  Non-industrial chainsaw use is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
ü  No smoking while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or in a cleared area
ü  No use of off-road vehicles except on improved roads
ü  Cutting, grinding and welding is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
ü  No mowing of cured grass with power driven machinery
ü  No fireworks

Additionally, tracer ammunition, exploding targets and sky lanterns are prohibited on lands protected by ODF during fire season.  Campfires are currently prohibited on all lands protected by ODF and USFS.

“We’re not asking people to not enjoy their outings,” Said Larry Wooldridge, Union County Fire Chief.  “We’re merely asking for some help for the fire crews that have been going hard for the past few weeks.  Even with some moisture in the forecast, fire danger will remain high going into the fall.” 

Year to date fire information for lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry Northeast Oregon District:
Lightning Caused:  43                   Acres Burned:  23,802
Human Caused:  21                      Acres Burned:  23,170
People looking to head into the woods are reminded that not only are there Regulated Use Restrictions on lands protected by ODF, but that Public Use Restrictions are in place on National Forest and Bureau of Land Management managed lands.  Check all fire restrictions before heading out.

Additional fire information for incidents in the Blue Mountain Region can be found at:

Oregon smoke condition information is available at

To report a fire, please call Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch at (541)963-7171 or call 9-1-1


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