Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wallowa-Whitman and Umatilla National Forests Lower Public Use Restrictions

Public Use Restrictions Eased on the
Umatilla National and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests

PENDLETON and BAKER CITY, OREGON – Effective 12:01 am on September 18, 2015, Phase A public use restrictions pertaining to chainsaw use, smoking, and off-road travel will be lifted on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. Seasonal campfire restrictions will remain in place. This change allows firewood cutting to resume all day.  Seasonal campfire restrictions will remain in place until October 31, 2015; however these campfire restrictions do not apply to designated Wilderness areas and specified exempted developed recreation sites (see Forest websites for exempted sites or areas). “The intent is to allow campfire use, while promoting safe campfire techniques that, in the long run, will protect lives, property, and our natural landscapes,” said Brian Goff, Umatilla Fire Management Officer.

Seasonal campfire restrictions include:

  • Campfires allowed only in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread, at a minimum clear of flammable material within a radius of 5 feet 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. The use of charcoal briquettes is permitted within the clearing requirements outlined above.
  • Persons with campfires are required to have an axe, shovel, and one gallon of water in their possession (except in specified developed recreation sites listed in the Forest Order).
  • 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.

As a reminder, there are also site-specific year-round public use regulations still in effect (see the Forest websites for further information). Forest visitors are urged to use caution when building and tending campfires, cooking fires, and fires in wood stoves. “The potential for wildfire still exists despite recent rains and cooler temperatures so please never leave a fire unattended and always make sure the campfire is dead-out before leaving the site,” said Bret Ruby Wallowa-Whitman Fire Management Officer.

Please check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) office for public use restrictions on lands protected by ODF. Visit the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at: or contact a local ODF office for more complete information.

Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR). More information can be found on the WA-DNR website at:

The public is responsible for knowing if restrictions are in place and can obtain information through:
Forest’s websites at:
Call the Forest’s offices or District offices at:
Umatilla National Forest: 541-278-3716
• Heppner Ranger District: 541-676-9187
• North Fork John Day Ranger District: 541-427-3231
• Pomeroy Ranger District: 509-843-1891
• Walla Walla Ranger District: 509-522-6290
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest: 541-523-1246 or 541-523-1302
• Whitman Ranger District: 541-523-6391 or 541074207511
• La Grande Ranger District: 541-963-7186
• Wallowa Mountains Office: 541-426-5546
Call the Forest’s 24-Hour Information Hotlines:
Umatilla National Forest: 877-958-9663
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest:
• Baker City: 541-523-1234
• La Grande: 541-962-8679
• Joseph: 541-426-5552 -USDA FS

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