(Update: Adding lower danger rating on public lands)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Due to cooler temperatures and recent moisture, fire officials on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grassland, and Prineville District BLM will lower the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) to a Level 1. The fire danger rating will decrease to “high.”
Additionally, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, campfires will be allowed in developed campgrounds and dispersed sites on lands managed by the Ochoco National Forest, Crooked River National Grassland, and Prineville District BLM.
Public fire use restrictions remain in place for the Deschutes National Forest. Campfires are currently only allowed in open, designated, developed campgrounds. A list of approved campgrounds can be found here: fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/home/?cid=stelprdb5297376. Campfires are not allowed in Wilderness areas.
The IFPL in Central Oregon will drop to IFPL 1, which removes restrictions on the type and timing of commercial activities, including personal woodcutting. Operators are still required to remain onsite for an hour to complete a Fire Watch after equipment is shut down.
Annual campfire restrictions along portions of the Crooked, Deschutes, John Day, and White Rivers, as well as on BLM-administered lands along Lake Billy Chinook and Lake Simtustus remain in effect until October 15, 2022. Under these annual restrictions, portable propane campfires are prohibited, and campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds. More details on these seasonal restrictions can be found at https://www.blm.gov/orwafire.
Although recent cooler temperatures and scattered moisture have reduced fire risk, these conditions have not eliminated the potential for wildfires, officials said.
Fire officials would like to remind the public to continue to be cautious with any possible ignition sources and ensure that all campfires are thoroughly extinguished. Remember to have plenty of water nearby and a shovel on-hand when maintaining a campfire.
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 October 31.
For current wildland fire information, the public can visit centraloregonfire.org or follow fire information on Twitter @CentralORfire. Call 9-1-1 to report a wildfire.
Earlier Thursday, Bend Fire & Rescue said even though the weather is changing and Central Oregon is seeing some rain and colder temperatures, the fire danger is still high and outdoor burning is still closed.
"Fire danger levels have reduced to High from Extreme throughout Central Oregon, but we’re not done with fire season just yet," Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said in a news release. "Warmer, drier weather returns this weekend and next week, and the potential for wildfires return with those conditions."
Derlacki said Central Oregon fire agencies are working collaboratively to determine the best time to open burning, based on weather and fire safety factors.
"Escaped debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires in Oregon," he said. "Once a debris burn escapes, there is instant threat to your home, neighboring properties and forest lands. Ensuring the conditions are good for safe burning is key to allowing burning to commence."
The fire official advised to "remember to always check with your local fire agency about specific regulations in your area. There are many cities and communities, like the City of Bend, that do not allow debris burning at all due to air quality concerns. Be sure to always check before your fire, every time."
"Being sure burning is allowed and safe to conduct is a great first step in preventing escaped fires," Derlacki said. Call 541-322-6335 for up-to-date burning information for anyone living in an area covered by Bend Fire & Rescue.