Wednesday, July 7, 2021

 Fire danger continues to climb, prompting ODF fire managers to raise public use restrictions

La Grande, OR—Fire managers are increasing the public use restrictions, also referred to as Regulated Use Closure, on lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry in northeast Oregon. The measurements that fire managers use to estimate seasonal fire severity are indicating extreme fire conditions across the region.

Effective at 12:01 a.m. July 9, 2021, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has added additional restrictions to the Public Use Restrictions 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, Grant, and Morrow Counties. These Public Use Restrictions are intended to prevent or minimize human-caused wildfires and to protect natural resources and public health and safety.

“This year has been unique in the sense that we are seeing large fires around the region several weeks ahead of when we would normally expect them. With the thunderstorms that have been hitting the area, we must consider our options in reducing the number of preventable fires,” said Steve Meyer, Baker Wildland Fire Supervisor.

The Public Use Restrictions (Regulated Use Closure) include the following fire prevention measures:

• Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires, and warming fires. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed. Propane fire pits are not allowed.

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

• Non-industrial chainsaw use is prohibited.

• Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area free of flammable vegetation.

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

• Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways, county roads, and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one 2 ½ pound fire extinguisher.

• 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.

• Use of exploding targets is prohibited, as is the use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base.

• Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer Business Services; and 2) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.

The Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests and the BLM are currently under public use restrictions. Current fire restrictions for forestlands in Northeast Oregon can be found at The Northeast Oregon Fire Prevention line is (541) 975-3027. is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains.

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To report a fire, call Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch at (541)963-7171 or dial 9-1-1.


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