Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Northeast Oregon District Implements Additional Fire Prevention Measures as Wildfire Danger Increases

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Jamie Knight (541)786-2039

On August 1, 2015 the Phillips Creek fire started near Elgin, Oregon.  The fire burned a total of 2,601 acres, cost over $6 million to suppress and resulted from an abandoned campfire. “This fire was human-caused and entirely preventable.  The fire created hazards for the public and firefighters, damaged forest lands and was very costly to suppress.  It is these types of fires that the Department is trying to limit with a variety of specific fire prevention measures” stated John Buckman, District Forester for Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northeast Oregon.

After a cooler and wetter start to this summer, weather conditions in northeast Oregon are forecasted to be warmer and drier beginning this week.  This increase in warm, summer-like weather conditions has prompted the Department of Forestry to institute a set of fire prevention measures in a Regulated-Use Closure starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday July 29, 2016.  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.  Preventing human-caused fires within the Northeast Oregon District is the objective of the fire prevention measures, which include the following restrictions:

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

·  Debris burning is prohibited, except in burn barrels for which a Burning Permit has been issued.

·  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 chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Chainsaw 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 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 2 ½ 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. 

Please note that when traveling from private lands onto federally managed lands, land use restrictions may differ.  Please check restrictions before conducting outdoor activities.  More information regarding fire danger can be found at www.bmidc.org/restrictions.shtml.

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


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