Thursday, June 22, 2017

ONSET OF SUMMER WEATHER KICKS OFF FIRE SEASON IN NORTHEAST OREGON

Winter snowpack and spring precipitation has further eased the drought conditions which plagued Northeast Oregon over the past several years. These precipitation amounts have brought with them a return to more normal conditions throughout the region. Current and forecasted consistently high temperatures have prompted fire officials with Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to declare FIRE SEASON beginning at 12:01 a.m., Monday, June 26 for forest and range lands protected by ODF Northeast Oregon District. “The winter and early spring moisture was certainly a blessing, but it has brought with it vast amounts of light fuels in the lower elevations.” Logan McCrae, La Grande Unit Forester said. “These light fuels will dry out quickly and become a fire hazard in the near future.” The fire season declaration places fire prevention restrictions on landowners and the public. Additionally, fire prevention regulations on industrial logging and forest management activities are put into place. Lands affected include private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in Union, Baker, Wallowa, and Umatilla counties along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow and Grant counties within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District. This area encompasses over 2 million protected acres in northeast Oregon. The public are urged to use caution in areas of dry, cured vegetation. McCrae states “There is perhaps a false sense that fire conditions won’t be too bad this summer with the spring moisture, but we need people to work and recreate safely, as well as keep an eye out for fire starts.”

During Fire Season:

 Burn Permits for burn barrels and all open burning except camp fires are required on all private forest and range lands within the Northeast Forest Protection District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). Contact your local ODF office in La Grande, Baker City, Wallowa, or Pendleton to acquire a Burn Permit.

 Landowners who conducted burning of slash piles last fall and this past spring are encouraged to check the piles to ensure that they are completely out and all heat is gone. It is not uncommon for recently burned slash piles to retain heat in them for several months after the actual burning of the piles.

 Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF. Contact your local Stewardship Forester at any ODF office for more information.

 Campfires must be DEAD OUT! Recreationists are reminded that campfires need to be attended and fully extinguished before being left. Get permission from the landowner prior to starting a campfire.

For further information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at these local offices:
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, dial 9-1-1.

For information on the weekends call:
Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center La Grande (541) 963-7171

Please check with your local Forest Service office for fire regulations on National Forest land. Information on Public-Use Restrictions on the Oregon Department of Forestry, Umatilla National Forest and Wallowa Whitman National Forest can be found at http://bmidc.org/index.shtml under
Current Information: Fire Restrictions.

http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/ is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains.

See Oregon Department of Forestry-Northeast Oregon District on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/oregondeptofforestryNEO/
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Forest Officials Take a Preventative Approach to Campfire Safety

JOHN DAY, PENDLETON, and BAKER CITY Ore. - Forest officials for the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests remind the public that seasonal safety regulations for building campfires when recreating on the three national forests will begin starting June 1.

These seasonal restrictions are in affect annually from June 1 through October 31 and require visitors to build their campfire in a fire pit surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings, in areas cleared of all flammable material within a three-foot radius from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. A shovel and one gallon of water are required to be in your possession while building and tending campfires. These requirements also apply to the use of charcoal briquettes.
Campfires often serve as the centerpiece of family campsites across the three national forests and forest managers understand campfires are an important part of the outdoor camping experience.
“The intent is to allow campfire use while promoting safe campfire building techniques that, in the long run, will protect lives, property, and our natural landscapes,” said Brett Thomas, Umatilla Fire Management Officer.
The seasonal regulation does not prohibit the use of campfires, when conditions permit; it only designates proper conditions for safe campfires. The June 1 date for campfire safety regulations in dispersed and developed campsites is meant to encourage campfire safety before fire season comes full-swing.
“There’s a long history of wildfire in the Blue Mountains and we do not expect that to change” added Thomas. “While lightning is the number one cause of wildfires in this area, human-caused wildfires are preventable, unpredictable and can occur anywhere with no warning.”
“We can get very busy at this time of year dealing with the lightning caused fires, so preventing the added workload from human caused wildfires is our ultimate goal. Historically, the public has practiced safecampfire techniques and it is much appreciated,” shared Ron Simpson, Malheur Deputy Fire Staff Officer. “Even with the wet spring, we are experiencing a drier forecast in the coming weeks, which will increase the potential for human caused fires in the tri-forest region,” said Simpson.
During times of high or extreme fire danger, forests will implement additional Public Use Restrictions, also known as PURs, which will further restrict the use of campfires, chainsaws, smoking, and travel. PURs will be implemented in phases, based on increased fire danger, hot and dry weather conditions, and concern for public safety.
Forest officials recommend the following campfire safety precautions:
  •        Always abide by local campfire laws.
  •         Only adults should build and maintain campfires.
  •         Find a shady spot away from dry logs, overhanging branches, bushes, needles, or leaves.
  •        Use existing fire-rings where it is safe to do so. Don’t build fire-rings in roads.
  •        Keep campfire rings small and use wood no bigger than the ring.
  •         Keep tents and other burnable materials away from the fire.
  •         Never leave a campfire unattended. Those leaving campfires unattended can be billed for the cost of fire suppression.
  •        Drown the campfire with water and stir charred material.
  •         When leaving, make sure your fire is DEAD OUT. Very carefully feel all sticks and charred remains. Make sure no roots are smoldering. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.

Find more campfire safety information at http://www.smokeybear.com/campfire-safety.asp
For more information on public use restrictions, contact your local Forest Service office or visit our websites:

Malheur National Forest:
Information Hotline: John Day (541) 575-3000
Twitter: @MalheurNF

Umatilla National Forest:
Information Hotline: Toll-Free (877) 958-9663
Twitter: @UmatillaNF

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest:
Information Hotlines: Baker City (541) 523-1234; La Grande (541) 962-8679; Joseph (541) 426-5552
Twitter: @WallowaWhitman
-USFS-



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Prescribed Burning on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest – Unity Area

Prescribed burns are planned for May 3rd and 4th in the Unity, Oregon area. 

Conditions permitting, the Whitman Ranger District is planning on burning the Mile 9 Unit 318 on Wed, May 3rd, and the Mile 9 Unit 323 on Thursday May 4.

These units are treatment areas that are located north of the 2016 Rail Fire, and will be visible from the Unity area.  Both burns are located in the vicinity of the FS Road 12 road system.

Mile 9 Unit 318 is approx. 170 ac. Located in T 13 S, R 36 E, Section 4


Mile 9 Unit 323 is approx. 210 ac. Located in T 12 S, R 36 E, Section 34