ODF’s John Day Unit begins fire season June 27

JOHN DAY – Public and private lands protected by ODF in Grant, Harney and Wheeler Counties will begin fire season Monday, June 27th. Find the full details below in the release from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry:

(Press Release provided by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District)

The Dalles and John Day units of Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District will enter fire season at 12:01 a.m., June 27, 2022.  This declaration includes private and non-federal public lands in Hood River, Wasco, Grant, Wheeler, Gilliam, Harney, and Morrow counties protected by ODF; the Prineville-Sisters Unit (Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes counties) declared fire season June 13, 2022. 

Activities prohibited during fire season include smoking in forest operation areas, blasting without a permit, use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition.  Backyard debris burning, including burn barrels are prohibited, except in Hood River County where the Burn Ban will go into effect on July 1, 2022.  In addition to these restrictions forest operations are required to follow the following prevention guidelines:

·       firefighting tools and fire extinguishers on-site

·       power saws must be equipped with a spark arrester and additional restrictions must be followed during use

·       vehicles used in the operation must have a firefighting tool and fire extinguisher

·       fire truck/water wagon on site

·       fire watch

A full description of all Fire Season restrictions is available at www.oregon.gov/odf. These guidelines are intended to reduce the risk of fire ignition, quickly detect fires, and allow for a swift suppression response.

In addition to the on-set of Fire Season in The Dalles Unit, MH-4 (west of Hwy 35 in Hood River County) and MH-1 (east of Hwy 35 in Hood River and Wasco counties) will move into Industrial Fire Precaution Level 1.  Included in these restrictions is the use of fire or power-driven machinery in any forest operation unless in compliance with all fire prevention requirements (ORS Chapter 477 and OAR Chapter 629 Divisions 41 to 43).  A one-hour fire watch is required after all forest operations, unless waived.

Recent cool, moist weather is transitioning to warmer temperatures with limited potential for precipitation in the forecast.  This seasonal weather pattern, combined with existing long-term drought conditions increases the risk of rapid fire spread.  The Central Oregon District will implement Regulated-Use Closure, intended to reduce potential wildfire starts by restricting activities associated with fire ignitions. 

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. July 1, 2022, the following restrictions will be in effect:

·       Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.

·       Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas. The use of portable appliances such as camp stoves and fire pits using liquified or bottled fuels are allowed in clear areas free of flammable vegetation. The following is required where open fires and appliances are allowed; one shovel and one gallon of water or one 2 ½ pound fire extinguisher.

·       Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.  Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.

·       Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. At all other times the area is to be cleared of flammable vegetation and the following fire equipment is required: one axe, one shovel, and one operational 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher in good working order.

·       Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner upon their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood.

·       Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling in a motorized vehicle, except on federal and state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher, except all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles which must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.

·       Mowing of dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

·       Use of fireworks is prohibited.

·       Blasting is prohibited.

·       Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed be 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.

Additional restrictions, a map, and the official proclamation can be found at www.Oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.