Oregon Department of Forestry officials raise public use restrictions

LA GRANDE, OR – (Release from ODF) Conditions across the region have shifted to a much warmer and drier weather pattern as we reach the height of summer. This shift has prompted Oregon Department of Forestry-Northeast Oregon District to implement public use restrictions, or Regulated Use Closure, on lands protected by ODF. The prevention of human caused fires is the primary objective of these additional fire prevention measures. ODF will institute a set of fire prevention measures in a Regulated-Use Closure starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday July 31, 2020. These restrictions affect private, state, county, and municipal forestlands protected by ODF. The public use restrictions consist of the following: 

• Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Designated locations within the Oregon State Parks system include but are not limited to the following Oregon State Parks: Emigrant Springs, Ukiah Dale, Catherine Creek, Hilgard Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam and Unity Lake. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed. 

• 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. 

• Non-Industrial chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 12:00 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 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least 1 hour following the use of each saw. 

• Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited, between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present. 

• Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops. 

-More- 

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

• Use of fireworks is prohibited. 

• 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 1⁄2 pound or larger fire extinguisher. 

Other general fire season restrictions are: 

• Debris burning is prohibited. 

• Use of exploding targets is prohibited. 

• Use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited. 

The use of sky lanterns is prohibited throughout the year in Oregon. 

The Regulated Use Closure for ODF’s Northeast Oregon District affects private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in seven counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, and small portions of Malheur, Morrow and Grant. 

Please note that when traveling from private lands onto federally managed lands, land use restrictions may differ. Please check restrictions before conducting outdoor activities. More information regarding fire danger can be found at www.bmidc.org/restrictions.shtml. 

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