Wednesday, August 5, 2015

News Release: Public Use Restrictions Increase on Umatilla, Malheur and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests

Chainsaw use prohibited and campfires allowed only in designated recreation sites.

Pendleton, John Day, and Baker City, OR:  Forest officials will implement Phase B public use restrictions at 12:01 AM on Thursday, August 6, 2015 on the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests due to extreme fire danger, the potential for human caused fires, and concern for public safety.   The increased restrictions pertain to the use of campfires, smoking, chainsaws, internal combustion engines, and generators.
“The forest vegetation has cured to a highly flammable condition and our upper elevations are much drier than usual due to the lack of a winter snowpack. Recent fires in the area have spread rapidly and are requiring considerable effort to contain.” said Brian Goff, Fire Staff Officer on the Umatilla National Forest. Roy Walker, Fire Staff Officer on the Malheur National Forest added, “We all enjoy and appreciate our forests and we need to minimize the chance of an accidental human-caused fire.  It’s only early August and we have several weeks of fire season ahead of us.  We all need to be aware of these conditions, be cautious when recreating in the forest, and think about fire prevention.”
Beginning Thursday, campfires will ONLY be allowed in designated campgrounds and recreation sites. Liquefied or bottled gas stoves and heaters are allowed for cooking and heating.
Operating an internal combustion engine, such as a chainsaw, is prohibited. Firewood cutting is not allowed.  This restriction applies to all internal combustion engines except motor vehicles. A list of designated recreation sites is available on the forest’s websites.
Generators will only be allowed in the center of an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable material, or; when fully contained within a pickup truck bed that is devoid of all flammable material, or; when factory installed in a recreational vehicle and the generator exhaust discharge is located in the center of an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable material.
Smoking is only allowed within enclosed vehicles, buildings, and developed recreation sites or when stopped in an area cleared of all flammable material.
As a reminder, travel restrictions prohibit motor vehicles traveling off of designated Forest roads and trails, except for the purposes of going to or from campsites located within 300 feet of an open road. Motorized travel on segments of road where access is blocked by gate, barricade, log, boulder or earthen berm is also prohibited.  Vehicles must still abide by all laws and regulations pertaining to the area of travel.
Regulated closures are in effect on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in northeast and central Oregon.  Please check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry office for public use restrictions on lands protected by ODF.  Visit the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at: or contact a local Oregon Department of Forestry 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:

For more information and a list of designated recreation areas and campsites where campfires are permitted during Phase B Public Use Restrictions, please contact:
Umatilla NF: 541-278-3716 or Forest Information Hotline at 1-877-958-9663
Malheur NF: 541-575-3000
Wallowa-Whitman NF: 541-523-6391 or Forest Information Hotlines
·         Baker City 541-523-1234
·         La Grande 541-962-8679
·         Joseph 541-426-5552

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