La Grande, OR – Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Northeast Oregon District will implement Regulated-Use Closure Monday, July 3rd, 2023 @ 12:01 a.m. Fire danger is increasing in northeast Oregon. The weather is changing to a typical summer pattern of warmer and drier conditions. This declaration is initiated to prevent or minimize human-caused wildfires and protect natural resources, public health and safety, and the rising fire danger and fuel conditions. The public is urged to use caution in dry, cured vegetation areas. Matt Howard, District Forester, states, “Normal summer weather is forecast for the foreseeable future.
It’s easy to be complacent at the beginning of summer, but fuel conditions and weather will change rapidly. We need everyone to use caution, check regulations before heading out, and please watch for fires while you are recreating.”
Effective at 12:01 a.m. July 03, 2023, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has added additional restrictions to the Public Use Restrictions for lands within the Northeast Oregon District. This declaration places fire prevention restrictions on landowners and the public. 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. This area encompasses approximately 2 million protected acres.
The Public Use Restrictions (Regulated Use Closure) include the following fire prevention measures:
• Open fires, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires, and warming fires, are allowed with landowner permission during low and moderate fire danger. Campfires are only allowed in designated locations during high fire danger and prohibited entirely during extreme fire danger.
o Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
o Propane fire pits are allowed if they are self-contained and 3 feet away from any flammable fuels with a maximum flame height of 2 feet.
o Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required; shovel or other firefighting tool, minimum of 1-gallon of water, or 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher and a fire watch at least one hour after extinguishing.
• Non-industrial chainsaw use is allowed all day during low and moderate fire danger. Chainsaw use is prohibited between noon and 8:00 pm during high fire danger and prohibited entirely during extreme fire danger.
o When allowed, the following firefighting equipment must be present with each operating saw: one shovel or other firefighting tool, and one 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher or 1-gallon of water. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the end of chainsaw use.
o Electric chainsaws are allowed all day.
• The use of fireworks is prohibited during high and extreme fire danger.
• Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is allowed all day during low and moderate fire danger. Except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops, this activity is prohibited between noon and 8:00 pm during high fire danger and prohibited entirely during extreme fire danger.
o The use of electric string trimmers are allowed all day.
• Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is allowed all day during low and moderate fire danger. This activity is prohibited between noon and 8:00 pm during high fire danger and prohibited entirely during extreme fire danger. When allowed, cutting, grinding, and welding of metal must be conducted in a 10-foot area cleared of flammable vegetation. In addition, a shovel or other firefighting tool, minimum of 1-gallon of water, or 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher must be immediately available.
• Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and 2) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.
• Smoking is prohibited during high and extreme fire danger while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area free of flammable vegetation.
• Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required during high and extreme fire danger for any vehicle/UTV/ATV traveling on unimproved roadways, where flammable vegetation exists on roadway; shovel or other firefighting tool, minimum of 1-gallon of water, or 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher.
• Use of sky lanterns are prohibited throughout the year in Oregon.
Aside from these restrictions, the following is restricted or prohibited during fire season.
• The use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition.
• The use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.
• A burn permit is required for all open debris burning and use of burn barrels during low and moderate fire danger. Contact your local ODF office.
• All open debris burning, and use of burn barrels is prohibited during high and extreme fire danger.
These restrictions shall remain in effect until replaced, suspended, or terminated by additional proclamations.
For further information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at these local offices:
La Grande Unit (541) 963-3168
Baker City Sub-Unit (541) 523-5831
Wallowa Unit (541) 886-2881
Pendleton Unit (541) 276-3491
Current fire restrictions for forestlands in Northeast Oregon can be found at www.bmidc.org. The Northeast Oregon Fire Prevention line is (541) 975-3027.
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To report a fire, call Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch at (541) 963-7171 or dial 9-1-1.