Thursday, June 25, 2020

Oregon Department of Forestry initiates fire season in Northeast Oregon District

June 25, 2020
Contact: Jamie Knight (541)786-2039

La Grande, OR- While wetter conditions were prevalent throughout the spring across much of the Oregon Department of Forestry-Northeast Oregon District, the weather is changing to a typical summer pattern of warmer and drier conditions.  The expected trend of fuel conditions in the region has prompted fire managers to announce the beginning of Fire Season on private lands protected by ODF.  This declaration is initiated in an effort to reduce the number of human-caused fires this summer.  “The fuel conditions will change rapidly with these summer weather conditions.  In some areas, we have an abundance of light and flashy fuels.  These fuels will dry out quickly with the hotter and drier weather.  These flashy fuels will often carry fire rapidly when they have dried out.”  Said Joe Hessel, District Forester.    

FIRE SEASON will begin at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, July 1 for forest and rangelands protected by ODF Northeast Oregon District.  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 approximately 2 million protected acres. 

During Fire Season 2020:
·           Debris burning is prohibited this season.  This includes ALL burn barrels and debris piles.
·           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 before starting a campfire. 
·           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.

“This year, debris burning is prohibited from the beginning of Fire Season.  We normally restrict debris burning a month or so into Fire Season, depending on conditions.  This change is an effort to mitigate COVID-19 exposure potential for the public and our firefighters.  We also want to be sensitive to negative smoke impacts for our vulnerable populations, and reduce the resource commitments typically associated with escaped fires.” Said Hessel.

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

Make sure you know what the fire restrictions are before you head out.  Check with your local Forest Service office for fire regulations on National Forest land, or BLM office for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  Information on Public-Use Restrictions on the Oregon Department of Forestry, Umatilla National Forest, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest can be found at under Current Information: Fire Restrictions. is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains. 

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