Friday, July 7, 2017

Hot and Dry Weather Prompts Oregon Department of Forestry to Raise Fire Restrictions

Summer has arrived with a vengeance in northeast Oregon.  Warm and dry weather is forecasted to persist for the foreseeable future, driving fire managers to raise fire restrictions on lands protected by the Northeast Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).  ODF will institute a set of fire prevention measures in a Regulated-Use Closure starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday July 12, 2017.  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 Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam and Unity Lake.  Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.

·  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.

·  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. 

Other general fire season restrictions are:

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

·  Use of exploding targets is prohibited.

·  Use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.

The use of sky lanterns is prohibited throughout the year in Oregon.

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

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


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