Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Public Use Restrictions lifted on the Umatilla National Forest

PENDLETON, Ore. Effective 12:01 am on Oct. 9, 2018, the Umatilla National Forest will lift all public use restrictions pertaining to recreational chainsaw use, smoking, and off-road travel.
Seasonal campfire restrictions will remain in place until Oct. 31, 2018; however these campfire restrictions do not apply to designated Wilderness areas and specified exempted developed recreation sites (see forest website for exempted sites or areas). 
“The intent is to allow recreational users to enjoy campfires on their public lands in a responsible way, which means practicing safe campfire techniques that, in the long run, will protect lives, property, and our natural landscapes,” said Brian Ebert, Umatilla Deputy Fire Management Officer. 
Seasonal campfire restrictions 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. Campfires must be attended at all times and 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.
Additionally, 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.
Forest visitors are urged to use caution when building and tending campfires, cooking fires, and fires in wood stoves.  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.
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: www.bmidc.org 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: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/.  
The public is responsible for knowing if restrictions are in place and can obtain information by contacting the Umatilla National Forest through one of the below methods. 
Umatilla National Forest:
Information Hotline: Toll-Free (877) 958-9663
Twitter: @UmatillaNF


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