Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Increased Restrictions on Lands Protected by Oregon Department of Forestry

Fire conditions remain extreme across the forests of northeast Oregon.  Current fires across the region have reduced firefighting resources available to respond to new fires.  Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) managers have responded by increasing restrictions associated with the current Regulated Closure intended to reduce human caused fires.  These restrictions continue the ban on campfires and other types of open burning and additionally ban off-road vehicle travel and chainsaw use on lands protected by ODF’s Northeast Oregon District.  These restrictions will take effect Friday, August 11, 2017 at 12:01 a.m.  The following restrictions are included:

  • Open fires are prohibited, even at designated campgrounds, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires.
  • 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 and tracer ammunition are prohibited on lands protected by ODF during fire season.  Sky lanterns and other aerial luminaries are illegal to release in Oregon airspace at all times.

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 Oregon Department of Forestry’s Regulated Closure.

Joseph Goebel, Wildland Fire Supervisor, Oregon Department of Forestry explains, “We’re monitoring fuel 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.”  The forecast for later this week continues the hot dry trend and includes the potential for thunderstorms.  Fire starts from these storms will challenge resources, as fires will grow rapidly due to the dry fuel conditions.

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

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.

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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