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As fire danger eases, public use limits eased; campfires to be allowed on federal, state-protected lands

KTVZ file

(Update: Oregon Dept. of Forestry announcement)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Due to the recent moisture and cooler daytime and nighttime temperatures, fire officials on the Deschutes and Ochoco national forests, Crooked River National Grassland and Prineville District BLM will downgrade public use restrictions to allow campfires and lower the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) to a Level 1.

Effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, campfires are allowed once again in both developed campgrounds and dispersed sites on the Deschutes and Ochoco national forests, Crooked River National Grassland and Prineville District Bureau of Land Management.  

But even with the recent cooling, officials note that fire danger is still present. Remember to have plenty of water and a shovel on-hand and make sure your campfire is cold to the touch before leaving it unattended.

Seasonal campfire restrictions on BLM-administered lands along the John Day River will lift as well, while campfire restrictions on the Lower Deschutes, and portions of the White and Crooked Rivers, and Lake Billy Chinook remain in effect until Oct. 15. A description of the BLM lands under fire restrictions in Oregon can be found at https://www.blm.gov/orwafire.

At the same time, the IFPL across Central Oregon will drop to an IFPL 1, removing restrictions on the type and timing of commercial activities, including personal woodcutting. Operators are still required to remain for an hour as a fire watch, once equipment is shut down.

Fire officials would like to remind people to continue being diligent with possible ignition sources. Although many areas received rain this week, vegetation has not recovered from the long, dry summer and could still ignite.

Using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, explosives, and fireworks are always prohibited on all National Forest lands and remain prohibited on BLM-administered lands in Central Oregon until Oct. 31. For current wildland fire information, the public can visit centraloregonfire.org or follow fire information on Twitter @CentralORfire.


Oregon Dept. of Forestry news release:

Regulated-Use Closure Terminated for ODF’s Central Oregon District

Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District will terminate Regulated-Use Closure at 12:01 a.m. on October 1, 2021.  Fire Season remains in effect.  Burning of slash piles or other debris from forest operations is not permitted at this time.  Recent precipitation, cooler temperatures, and increased humidity has significantly reduced fire behavior and ignition potential from sparks and other heat sources, however the public is reminded to be attentive to activities which could start a wildfire.  Weather can change quickly in the fall and winds can often be erratic.

Burn barrels and burning of small piles of yard debris may be allowed by permit.  Contact your local fire department or Oregon Department of Forestry office to determine if burning is allowed or to request a permit.

Campfires, warming fires and cooking fires may be allowed with the termination of Regulated-Use Closure.  These fires should be kept small and any surrounding fuel should be cleared away to reduce potential spread.  A fire tool, such as a shovel, and water or a fire extinguisher should be available to help control the fire if needed.  Fires should not be left unattended, should be DEAD OUT! and cool to the touch when you leave.  Check with your local fire district for burning regulations in your area, including restrictions on campfires and recreational fires.

Activities such as mowing of dry grass, non-industrial chainsaw use, and cutting and grinding of metal will no longer have restrictions such as timing of activities or firewatch requirements. Fire Season restrictions banning the use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition are still in effect.  MH-1 and MH-4, ODF protected lands within Hood River and Wasco counties, are in an Industrial Fire Precaution Level 1.

Failure to follow current restrictions may result in a citation or liability for fire suppression work.  Wildfires cause damage to Oregon’s natural resources, including affecting water, soil and air quality and impact local communities. 

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including Fire Season requirements, contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

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