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Campfires, recreational fires where banned in Central Oregon can bring fines up to $500

(Update: Adding video, comments, details)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Campfires and recreational fires are currently banned in the city of Bend and on all federal lands in Central Oregon. 

Jean Nelson-Dean, public affairs offer for the Deschutes National Forest, says the Forest Service has issued fines, but is also issuing warnings.

"We are in a really unprecedented fire season across the west, but Central Oregon is predicted to be one of the worst places,” Nelson-Dean said Friday.

On July 12, the Deschutes and Ochoco national forests, the Crooked River National Grassland, and the Prineville District of the BLM banned the use of campfires.

Since then, Nelson-Dean said they have received a number of calls, and given out four $250 tickets for open campfires.

"We do not want to see anything like that,” Nelson-Dean said. “One spark is all it takes to start a fire."

She said some of the calls have been about propane stoves, which are currently legal to use.

Generators are also legal, as long as they are 10 feet clear of any vegetation, or on a truck bed.

"Can't emphasize enough how much we ask people to still use any of those things with a great deal of caution,” Nelson-Dean said. 

The City of Bend enacted its own recreational fire ban on July 16.

Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said Friday they have responded to 11 calls. Three of the fires were legal, while eight were deemed illegal.

Of the eight illegal fires, two citations were given. 

Kettering said citations can cost $275 within city limits, and up to $500 when in rural areas.

"Right now, we're taking it on a case-by-case basis,” Kettering said. 

Nine of the 11 calls were on private residences.

Kettering said she is impressed with the community's acceptance of the new rules, but thinks those visiting Bend could improve.

"I think some of the visitors that we've had, because there are a number of residences that are vacation rentals or Air BnBs, we really need the property owners or property managers to help get the word out to their guests and tenants that they need to curtail any type of fires that are not within our guidelines,” Kettering said.

Nelson-Dean said she is also relatively satisfied with people’s compliance, but wants to remind everyone that the rule is there for a reason.

"We are going to have lightning, those are going to cause fires,” Nelson-Dean said. “If we could just respond to the one-third of our fires that are lighting, instead of the two-thirds that are human-caused."

For current wildland fire information, the public can visit or follow fire information on Twitter @CentralORfire.

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.



      1. Kooks only no locals. . .yep the same ones I would see hanging out at the breweries and micro brews in the old Mill district without masks during the middle of the pandemic. Masks were required, but some how that generation exempt themselves. They did not seem to care they could bring the covid home to other family members or elders.

        1. if only that were true – yup locals, and not kids either – have you paid any attention to the “protesters” around here over the last 16 months? – yea, you know who they are, and you also know who is out on public land (our land) “exercising their rights”, “no one tells me what to do”, and other assorted childish nonsense – “that” generation, of which i am a member, is the problem

          1. Yep I know what generation you’re talking about BLM antifa. Offspring of hippies who never grew up.
            Of course we have the current senile President indiscriminately letting in illegals without vetting them

            1. Almost 190,000 immigrants turned away from the border in June. Who’s not being vetted? BTW, this “senile” President can ride a bike whereas the loser needed help penguin walking down a slightly angled ramp. And this President can pick up a glass of water with just one hand. Imagine that!

    1. So you don’t care about the outcome? As long as it’s not your house/ street?

      It’s sheer stupidity to light a fire at this time. Nothing less. Aside from disrespectful.

      Maybe you should talk to the couple who lost everything in the Darlene fire. They might think different.

      I have a friend who lost everything in the Paradise fire, 3 years ago, barely made it out. The smell of smoke (think PTSD) puts him into a complete panic now.

      It’s not just about “three” tickets.

      Wake up.

    1. Make the citation a mandatory appearance before the judge who will issue a bench citation based on a percentage of net worth, really get their attention. Also, the LEO could do like catching a poacher, confiscate everything there including vehicles, trailers, atv/utv, bicycles, etc.

      1. Oregonn8tive, this is a really great idea, and I mean that wholeheartedly! I wish someone would make it so.

        Hubby was camping with friends this week and the peeps next to them started a campfire! Hubby explained about the ban and the campers immediately doused the (rather large) fire. They were from out of state and didn’t know. Crazy times.

      2. I like this idea! Good percentage of the proceeds from sale of confiscated property could go to a firefighter’s find for those injured on the job, etc.

      3. Thats a great idea! Confiscate goods on scene that are roughly equal to the ticket and hold them for say 30 days, handing them over when the ticket is paid. If the ticket isnt paid issue a warrant as normal and the goods are forfeited to be sold to fund firefighter related causes.

        Make people understand there are consequences for disobedience!

  1. Just heard the idiots who started the El Dorado fire in CA at their gender reveal party are charged with 29 crimes including manslaughter for killing a firefighter. We need more of this accountability!

  2. The propane fire pit I bought wasn’t entirely cheap, but I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it.

    Certainly cheaper than that citation…

      1. The odds of a propane fire pit starting a fire are basically zero. I’m more likely to start a fire driving my car around, and I still do that, too. So it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

  3. Thank you, those who are checking these complaints out and issuing cites…or warnings…and educating.

    This has ZERO to do with political rhetoric.

    Public Safety, pure and simple.

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