Thursday, September 8, 2016
News Release: Public Use Restrictions ease to Phase A on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
News Contact: Katy Gray (541-523-1246)
Sept 8, 2016
Public Use Restrictions move to Phase A -
Chainsaw and campfire restrictions eased
BAKER CITY, OREGON – With cooler weather conditions and a decrease in fire danger, Public Use Restrictions (PURS) for campfires, smoking, off-road travel, and chainsaw use will be reduced to Phase A on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest effective Friday, September 9th. Phase A is the second level of restrictions, generally implemented when fire danger is moderate to high. PURS are phased in and out collectively across the Blue Mountains, as conditions warrant, and may differ from forest to forest.
Phase A PURs reinstate seasonal campfire restrictions and allow recreational chainsaw use between the hours of 8:00PM and 1:00PM. Chainsaw operation associated with commercial and personal use firewood permits are regulated under Industrial Fire Precaution levels (IFPLs) and are not impacted by this public use restriction. Please continue to check the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch website for up-to-date information on IFPLs. (http://bmidc.org/ifpls.shtml)
Phase A restrictions include:
· Seasonal campfire restrictions and requirements described for June 1- October 31 apply.
o Campfires allowed only in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread. All flammable material shall be cleared within a 3-foot radius from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. Use existing pits wherever possible.
o Campfires must be attended at all times, and completely extinguished prior to leaving.
o In all cases with all types of fires, a shovel, and one gallon of water is required to be present at all times, except in designated Wilderness Areas (Eagle Cap Wilderness, Hells Canyon Wilderness, Monument Rock Wilderness, North Fork John Day Wilderness) and the following developed recreation sites on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest: Anthony Lakes Campground and Picnic Area, Union Creek Campground & Picnic Area, and Fish Lake Campground.
o 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.
o Use of charcoal briquettes is permitted under the same restrictions as campfires described above.
· Chainsaws may be operated only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time. A one hour fire watch is required after saw operations cease. Saw operators are required to have an axe (minimum 2 lb. head, 26” length), shovel (8” wide, 26” length), and fire extinguisher (minimum ABC 8 oz.) in their possession. Chainsaw operation associated with commercial and personal use firewood permits are regulated under Industrial Fire Precaution levels (IFPLs) and are not impacted by this public use restriction.
· Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles, buildings or cleared areas.
· No off-road/off-trail vehicle travel or travel on roads not cleared of standing grass or other flammable material; no vehicle travel on those FS roads where access has been impeded or blocked by earthen berm, logs, boulders, barrier, barricade or gate, or as otherwise identified in the Fire Order.
The public’s awareness of the increased fire danger and cooperation is essential to a continued safe fire season. Recreationists, firewood cutters, hunters, and other forest users can all help by closely adhering to restrictions, operating safely and cautiously and keeping up-to-date on the latest orders and regulations.
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 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: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/.
For more information about the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s Public Use Restrictions, please contact our office at 541-523-1246, visit our website at www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla/, or check our social media pages. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WallowaWhitmanNF/ or the Blue Mountain Fire Information Blog: http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/