LA GRANDE – Fire danger is increasing in northeast Oregon weather is changing to a typical summer pattern of warmer and drier conditions. Fire managers are increasing the public use restrictions, also referred to as Regulated Use Closure, on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in northeast Oregon.
This declaration is initiated in an effort to prevent or minimize human-caused wildfires and to protect natural resources and public health and safety, as well as the rising fire danger and fuel conditions.
“The fuel conditions have changed rapidly in some areas of the district, we have some light and flashy fuels that are ready to carry fire. With dry and breezy weather in the extended forecast, our grass and timber fuels will cure quickly. These
types of fuels will often carry fire rapidly when they have dried out,” Matt Howard, District Forester said.
Effective at 12:01 a.m. July 22, 2022, 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.
The Public Use Restrictions (Regulated Use Closure) include the following fire prevention measures:
• All open debris burning and the use of burn barrels are prohibited.
• 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.
• Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires, and warming fires, except at designated locations. Designated locations within the Regulated Use Closure area are available at each ODF office. Designated locations within the Oregon State Parks system include but are not limited to: Emigrant Springs, Ukiah Dale, Catherine Creek, Hilgard Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam, and Unity Lake. Open fires may be allowed by waiver through a written order, if, in the judgment of a forester at your local ODF office, conditions so warrant.
• Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed. Open fires may be allowed by waiver through a written order, if, in the judgment of the forester at your local ODF office, conditions so warrant.
• 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.
• Non-Industrial use of chain saws is prohibited between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Chain saw use is permitted at all other hours if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one shovel or other firefighting tools, and one 8-ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
• 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 21⁄2 pound or larger fire extinguisher.
• 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.
• The mowing of dry, 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.
• 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 the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Use of fireworks is prohibited. Aside from these restrictions, also prohibited is the use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition. These restrictions shall remain in effect until replaced, suspended, or terminated by additional proclamations.