LA GRANDE – 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 the Oregon Department of Forestry-Northeast Oregon District to increase public use restrictions on lands protected by ODF, or Regulated Use Closure. The measurements that fire managers use to estimate seasonal fire severity are indicating extreme fire conditions across the region.
“This year has been unique with a slow start to warmer and drier conditions. However, with the extreme heat this last week, the vegetation, and fuels have changed dramatically. It does not take long for a fire to ignite and carry with the drier fuels that we are seeing in the district. We must consider our options in reducing the number of preventable fires,” said Matt Hoehna, Assistant District Forester.
Effective at 12:01 a.m. August 03, 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) Extreme include the following fire prevention measures:
• Open fires are prohibited, even at designated campgrounds, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires, and warming fires.
• Non-industrial use of chain saws is prohibited.
• Internal combustion engine use, except for motor vehicles is prohibited.
• Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area.
• Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), is prohibited except on improved roads, except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
• Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal is prohibited.
• Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited.
• Use of fireworks is prohibited.
• 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.
Aside from these restrictions, also prohibited is the use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition. Debris burning is prohibited which includes burn piles and burn barrels. These restrictions shall remain in effect until replaced, suspended, or terminated by additional proclamations.
For further information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at these local offices:
La Grande Unit (541) 963-3168
Baker City Sub-Unit (541) 523-5831
Wallowa Unit (541) 886-2881
Pendleton Unit (541) 276-3491
Current fire restrictions for forestlands in Northeast Oregon can be found at www.bmidc.org. The Northeast Oregon Fire Prevention line is (541) 975-3027.