Saturday, August 29, 2015

Fire Danger Stays High, Restrictions Increase

Fire conditions remain extreme across the forests of Northeast Oregon. In addition, resources available for new fires remain very limited throughout the region. Oregon Department of Forestry managers have responded by increasing the restrictions associated with the current Regulated Use Closure that is in effect. These restrictions continue the ban on campfires and other types of burning, and additionally ban off-road vehicle travel and chainsaw use.

Effective at 3:00 p.m. August 28, 2015 the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is adding additional restrictions to the Regulated Use Closure for lands within the Northeast Oregon District. The Regulated Use Closure affects private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in seven counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, and small portions of Malheur, Morrow and Grant Counties. The Regulated Use Closure is intended to protect natural resources and public health and safety. The current restrictions include: The current restrictions include:

 Open fires are prohibited, even at designated campgrounds, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires.

 Debris burning is prohibited, including the use of burn barrels.

 Non-industrial use of chain saw is prohibited.

 Internal combustion engine use, except for motor vehicles is prohibited.

 Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area.

 Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), is prohibited except on improved roads, except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

 Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited.

 Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited.

 Use of fireworks is prohibited.

 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.

Additionally, the use of exploding targets, tracer ammunition and sky lanterns are prohibited on lands protected by ODF during fire season.

Other privately owned lands may have more restrictions in place. Before traveling onto privately owned lands, please check with the landowner to identify restrictions above and beyond the Oregon Department of Forestry Regulated Use Closure.

“It’s important that people check the restrictions for the lands they are visiting. ODF has a minimum level of restrictions, but private landowners can set their own more stringent restrictions for their lands.” Said Mitch Williams, Acting Unit Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry. “We’re keeping an eye on the conditions, and will adjust our restrictions when we can, but for right now, this is the best way for us to limit human caused fires.”

Although moderating weather may provide a slight respite, a significant trend of cooler and wetter weather conditions will be necessary to lower fire prevention restrictions.

Note that when traveling from private land onto federal land, land use restrictions can change. Please check restrictions before conducting activities in the outdoors. More information for fire danger in Northeast Oregon can be found at

Contact a local Oregon Department of Forestry office for more complete information on ODF Restrictions:
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, contact:
Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch (541) 963-7171
Or, call 9-1-1.

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