VALE, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management’s Vale District Office announced today additional fire restrictions will take effect Friday, July 24.
These restrictions will apply to all public lands, campgrounds and recreation sites administered by the Vale District Bureau of Land Management, including the Malheur Resource Area, Baker City Resource Area, the 500-acre National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center site, and Bureau of Reclamation lands within Vale District boundaries.
Copies of the restrictions are available to the public at Vale District offices and posted at campgrounds, developed recreation sites and kiosks throughout the district.
Members of the public should be aware all cross-country travel is prohibited until the order is lifted. Operating or parking motor vehicles or combustion engines is restricted to areas clear of all vegetation.
“We still want people to enjoy their public lands, but we have to balance that with reasonable restrictions to prevent wildfires,” Narus said. “Even though we expect conditions to be near average, an average August for Vale is associated with potential for large wildfires.”
When operating a motorized vehicle wider than 46 inches and heavier than 800 pounds on public lands, users must carry a shovel at least 26 inches in length with at least an eight-inch blade, and a one-gallon container of water or a fully charged 2.5 pound fire extinguisher. All motorcycles, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), and side-by-side Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTV) must be equipped with a properly functioning U.S. Forest Service-approved spark arrestor.
“The largest culprit for human-caused fires on lands managed by Vale BLM is equipment,” Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist Al Crouch said. “Statistically, fires caused by motorized vehicles and trailers are second only to lightning starts.”
Equipment refers to many things besides cars and trucks, including, ATVs and side-by-sides, industrial and commercial vehicles and equipment, recreational vehicles, power lines and other electrical mechanisms, chainsaws and mowers, generators, welders, and more.
“Visitors should use caution when recreating outdoors this time of year,” Crouch said. “Be aware of conditions and restrictions, and check for red flag warnings and fire weather alerts. Have a shovel and a fire extinguisher or water readily available in case of an accidental fire start.”
Members of the public are encouraged to report any and all wildfire starts by calling 911.
Although the use of wood fueled campfires, smokers, woodstoves, portable braziers and charcoal briquettes are prohibited, campers and other visitors are allowed to use liquefied and bottle-gas stoves and heaters, provided they are used within an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable materials.
Smoking outdoors is only permitted within areas barren of all flammable materials for at least a 6-foot diameter, aboard boats on rivers and lakes, or inside a motor vehicle.
Prohibitions against the use of fireworks, tracer and incendiary ammunition, and exploding targets on public lands have been in place across the Oregon/Washington BLM region since May. Metal targets have been prohibited since July 1.
Penalties for violating any of the conditions can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a prison term of 12 months.