Fire restrictions tighten on Emigrant Creek Ranger District

(Release from the Malheur National Forest)

HINES, OR – As of 0001, Friday, July 17, the Malheur National Forest south zone (Emigrant Creek Ranger District) will move to a High adjective fire rating and an Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) of II.

The Malheur National Forest north zone (Blue Mountain and Prairie City Ranger Districts) will move to a Moderate adjective fire rating. On 0001, Saturday, July 18 the south zone (Emigrant Creek Ranger District) will be moving to Phase B of public use restrictions. On the south zone of the forest the adjective High fire danger rating means fires can start easily from most causes and small fuels (such as grasses and needles) will ignite readily.

Unattended campfires and brush fires are likely to escape. Fires will spread easily, with some areas of high-intensity burning on slopes or concentrated fuels. Fires can become serious and difficult to control unless they are put out while they are still small. The IFPL regulates industrial activities such as logging. It does not regulate any recreational or firewood cutting activities on the Malheur National Forest.

Under IFPL II, the following may operate only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time:

·Power saws except at loading sites;

·Cable yarding;

·Welding or cutting of metal.

Under Phase B of the Public Use Restrictions, following acts are prohibited on all National Forest System Lands within the Malheur National Forest, in the State of Oregon.

1.Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal briquette or stove fire, except within a developed recreation site, the list of these sites can be found on the Malheur National Forest public website listed below. 36 CFR § 261.52(a).

2.Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material. 36 CFR § 261.52(d).

3.Operating a chainsaw between the hours of 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm. 36 CFR § 261.52(h). Saw operators are required to have a shovel (8” wide, 26” length), and fire extinguisher (minimum ABC 8 oz.) in their possession. A one hour fire watch is required after saw operations cease. Generators are allowed when located in a location cleared of flammable material in an area at least 10 feet in diameter and approved spark arrestor.

4.Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order in accordance with U.S. Forest Service Standard 5100-1. 36 CFR § 261.52(j).

5. Possess or use a vehicle off National Forest System roads. 36 CFR § 261.56a. Except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.

On the north half of the forest, the fire danger rating will go to Moderate, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is still at a 1. When the fire danger is “moderate” it means that fires can start from most accidental causes, but the number of fire starts is usually pretty low. If a fire does start in an open, dry grassland, it will burn and spread quickly on windy days. Most wood fires will spread slowly to moderately. Average fire intensity will be moderate except in heavy concentrations of fuel, which may burn hot. Fires are still not likely to become serious and are often easier to control.

Campfires allowed only in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread, at a minimum clear of all flammable material within a radius of 3 feet from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. Use existing pits wherever possible. Campfires must be attended at all times, and completely extinguished prior to leaving.

Persons with campfires are required to have a tool that can serve as a shovel and one gallon of water in their possession. The intent of this requirement is to ensure individuals with a campfire to have the tools necessary to completely extinguish their campfire.

On the north zone of the forest wood cutting is still permitted all day, please do a one hour fire watch when you are done cutting. When a change is made to the Public Use Restrictions the Malheur National Forest will ensure that information will be shared to the media, social media and the public web page all links can be found below., Facebook @MalheurNationalForest, Twitter @MalheurNFFor more information please call: 541-575-3000.