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Fire Alert

ODFW, BLM warn: Follow fire, other restrictions outdoors or face more closures


Agency monitoring access as hunting seasons approach

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Nearly 2,000 firefighters are fighting the 640-square-mile Bootleg Fire in Klamath and Lake counties, the nation's largest wildfire. The Umatilla National Forest is closed to all public access because if another fire starts, there are limited resources available to fight it.

Natural resource agencies are imploring outdoor recreationists to follow all fire restrictions. Access to public land during late summer and fall depends on it.

"We need the public's help in preventing wildfires as our resources are stretched very thin," said Todd Forbes, Bureau of Land Management. "All human-caused wildfires are preventable, if visitors will just follow the fire restrictions that land managers put in place. These simple rules will keep you safe and avoid you being responsible for accidentally starting a wildfire. "

The rules are:

  • Campfires prohibited on many public lands including all lands east of I-5. That includes within designated campgrounds. 
  • Only liquid-fueled camp stoves may be used. No charcoal briquettes or other flammable solid materials are allowed.
  • No smoking except inside an enclosed vehicle.
  • Off-road driving is also prohibited in most areas, which includes motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Driving on vegetation could spark a fire.
  • Vehicles must have either a gallon of water or a fully charged and operational 2½-pound fire extinguisher and shovel (except when travelling on state highways or county roads).
  • ATVs must have a charged and operational 2½-pound fire extinguisher.
  • Additional restrictions as set by landowner.

Know before you go - How to check for access and restrictions
Hunters, anglers and other visitors to public lands are responsible for checking on access and restrictions beforehand. Here are some links to help: - Interagency status map of recreation sites impacted by current and past fires - Oregon Department of Forestry fire restrictions - National Forests in Oregon (U.S. Forest Service) - Bureau of Land Management - Inciweb—Current fires and fire-related closures in Orego - Private forestland closure information.

Access and Habitat property closures are typically announced by ODFW via press release.

ODFW tag refund, preference point reinstatement policies during fire season
ODFW is closely monitoring access for hunters as fall seasons approach, with staff meeting weekly to assess the situation. Currently, southeast Oregon pronghorn hunters are most impacted as their seasons begin in August. Pronghorn hunters with a tag for areas affected by the Bootleg Fire have been contacted with their options which include preference point reinstatement from the controlled hunt drawing in June and tag refund.

"We recognize many hunters have waited years to draw a tag in the most sought-after hunts, and if the majority of the area is closed due to fire, we have a policy and process in place to restore points and refund tags," said Brian Wolfer, ODFW Game Program Manager. "We plan to be proactive in reaching out to hunters whose hunts are impacted, though we do need a good email address for you in our system to be able to reach you."

Hunters are strongly encouraged to provide an active email address within ODFW's licensing system so they can be contacted quickly if their hunt is impacted. Verify your account or update your email address online via ODFW's licensing system or provide the email address to a license sales agent.

Decisions on restoring points are ordinarily not made until close to the season opener—or even later in the season during long seasons—as conditions can change quickly.

ODFW will be proactive about reaching out to hunters with a tag for an area that has been impacted. But hunters should know that voluntarily deciding to not go hunting is not a reason for preference point reinstatement unless ODFW has offered that as an option for your hunt. Nor are restrictions against campfires, camping or vehicle/road restrictions. Inability to scout before a season is also not necessarily considered a loss of hunting opportunity.

Hunters who exchange controlled tags for general seasons tags before their controlled hunt begins may be ineligible for any preference point reinstatement if no decision has been made yet on options.

"Hunters should not apply for point reinstatement weeks before their season even starts," said Wolfer. "We are actively monitoring and considering access issues and will proactively provide hunters with options if their hunt is impacted.

The agency reinstates preference points (+1 point for the current year' drawing) and refunds tags when reasonable public access to the entire hunt area is substantially restricted for the entire hunt period. (Reasonable access means some access to at least a portion of the hunt area during the time period when hunting can occur.)

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  1. Regressive, hillbilly hunters won’t follow these. It’s an infringement on their freedom to do whatever they want. These people don’t care about anyone but themselves. Pathetic failed losers following a big fat failed and fired loser. Sooooooo much losing, they’re addicted to it!!

  2. Incorrect and ignorant – the majority of these fires are being started by liberal free loader idiots who are being paid not to work and want to camp for free. Take a drive out through the forestry roads and see for yourself.

  3. $100k Sprinter Van – check
    $10k worth of Mt Bikes – check
    $5k of kayaks – check

    Save Mother Earth Sticker – check

    Dispersed camping near Phil’s trail is full of these on both sides of Skyliner Road. Yeah, tehre are homeless camps with their blue tarps, but most are Earth lovers, driving a metal and plastic diesel using van, lighting fires at night “because they can keep it under control” and then dumping human waste in the woods.

    The Dispersed areas near Wickiup have been hammered too. New to RV’ing campers and LOSERS dump their tanks on the road as they drive home.

    Gross. I can think of some fitting punishments if we’d be willing to do it.

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