Malheur Nat’l Forest lifts Public Use Restrictions in North Zone

JOHN DAY, PRAIRIE CITY & HINES, OR (Release from Malheur National Forest)

Beginning Thursday, September 30, 12:01 a.m., the Malheur National Forest is lifting the current Public Use Restriction (PUR) for the North Zone of the Forest – Blue Mountain and Prairie City Ranger Districts. The South Zone – Emigrant Creek Ranger District, will remain in PUR Phase B.

For the North Zone – Blue Mountain and Prairie City Ranger Districts:

Campfires: allowed in both developed campgrounds and dispersed sites. Campfires are only allowed in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings and in areas not conductive to rapid fire spread, at a minimum clear of all flammable material within a radius of three (3) feet from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. Use existing pits wherever possible.

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.Portable Cooking Stoves: using liquified or bottled gas are allowed and must have all combustible material removed within a 5-foot radius of the perimeter of the stove.
To reduce the risk of escaped fires, the following are required for campfires, charcoal briquette fires, wood stoves, portable cookstoves, portable fire pits, and gas stoves:

  • 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.
  • Use of charcoal briquettes is permitted under the same guidelines as campfires described above.
  • Within designated wilderness areas, users are encouraged to locate campfires such that minimal disturbance would be necessary to meet the clearing requirements identified. Naturally cleared areas, previously used sites, and areas where vegetation is non-flammable (green grass) are examples. Possession of a typical backpacking folding shovel (commercially available) meets the intent of a tool as described above.

For the South Zone – Emigrant Creek Ranger District:

PUR Phase B:Pursuant to 36 CFR, Sec. 261.50(a) and (b), the following acts are prohibited on all National Forest System Lands within the Malheur National Forest on the Emigrant Creek Ranger District, in the State of Oregon. This order is:1) Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal briquette or stove fire, except within a designated recreation site listed below this Order.36 C.F.R. § 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 C.F.R. § 261.52(d).3) Operating a chainsaw between the hours of 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 36 C.F.R. §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.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 C.F.R. § 261.52(j).a. 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.5) Possess or use a vehicle off National Forest System roads. 36 C.F.R. § 261.56a. Except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.

* Campfires are allowed at:

Buck Spring CampgroundDelintment CampgroundEmigrant CampgroundFalls CampgroundIdlewild CampgroundJoaquin Miller CampgroundRock Springs CampTip Top CampgroundYellowjacket Campground
The entire forest is in Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) Level I:
Level I: Fire precaution requirements are in effect. A fire watch/security is required at this and all higher levels unless otherwise waived.

The entire Forest is at Moderate Fire Danger:

MODERATE – 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.

No matter the weather or time of year, there is always the potential for human-caused fires. We ask that you be careful when out enjoying your forest.

For more information and all the latest forest news on the Malheur National Forest, please visit our website at, follow U.S. Forest Service-Malheur National Forest on Facebook, and follow @MalheurNF on Twitter.