FIRE RESTRICTIONS: -Fire Season began June 7. Read about the restrictions. Regulated Closure in effect.
MH1 and MH4 IFPL: -IFPL 2 as of September 19, 2017. Read about the restrictions.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fire Prevention Restrictions Ease on ODF Protected Lands in Central Oregon

[Prineville, Ore.] Cooler and wetter weather across most of central Oregon has reduced the wildland fire danger allowing Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District (COD) to modify the current fire prevention restrictions.  Campfires will still only be allowed at designated locations, primarily at local state parks.  However, use of chainsaws, mowing of dried grass, and welding/cutting of metal will be allowed between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.  All other rules remain the same for these activities including on-site firefighting tools and fire watch as required.  These restrictions are intended to reduce human caused fires.  Changes to the restrictions took effect at 12:01 a.m., September 19, 2017.  More information regarding the specific restrictions can be found at www.odfcentraloregon.com
In addition to the Regulated Closure changes the District is modifying current restrictions for industrial activities in the forest.  For lands in MH-1 and MH-4 in Hood River and Wasco counties the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) has been reduced to Level 2.  Requirements for industrial operators and a map of this area can be found at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/ifpl.html.  In the John Day and Prineville units the Additional Restrictions Order has been rescinded.  Fire season restrictions are still in place in COD, including requirements for hand tools, fire watch, equipment standards, and water supply.  Smoking is not allowed while working or traveling in an operation area.
Open burning, including campfires, warming fires, burning yard debris, and slash burning from logging is prohibited on lands protected by ODF in central Oregon.  Following a long dry fire season this cooler, wet weather may seem like an indicator of the end of fire season, however the recent record fuel conditions prior to this weather pattern requires significant wetting rain to reduce the danger of fires.  The risk of rapid large fire growth has diminished, but the potential for fires to burn in the wildland fuels remain.
The public is also reminded that the use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the District during fire season.  As of January 1, 2017 sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.
Landowners, local agencies, and land managers may have additional restrictions in place, always check to be certain you are in compliance.  Federal land public use restrictions are available at local National Forest offices, or on their websites.
Year to date for 2017 human caused fires have accounted for 57% of the fires in the Central Oregon District, an increase of nearly 10% over the District’s ten year average.  Following Regulated Closure restrictions can reduce ignitions and limit damage to our natural resources including air, water, and soil.  For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Friday, August 25, 2017

ODF fire prevention restrictions still in effect in central Oregon

August 25, 2017
Contact:  Christie Shaw, Public Information Office
                 541-263-0661

[Prineville, Ore.] Regulated Closure restrictions for lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District (COD) remain in effect. These restrictions are intended to prevent fire starts from human activities. Numerous large fires currently burning in Oregon and adjacent states, continue to strain firefighting resources and initial attack capacity in the region.

There is increased activity in the forests as archery season begins this weekend and many families try to get camping trips in before school starts. Warming fires and campfires are prohibited, except in designated sites. Contact your local ODF Office if you are unsure whether campfires are allowed at your campsite.

“While the smoke in the air is a good reminder that we are still in fire season, there were a lot of changes to local restrictions and for ODF’s partner agencies around the eclipse time period,” states COD’s Public Information Officer, Christie Shaw. “We want to clear up any confusion and remind the public that restrictions for ODF’s Central Oregon District are still in effect and have not changed.” Fuels are still extremely dry and there is a high risk of rapid fire growth. Cooler weather the last couple days may give a false sense of reduced fire danger, however warmer temperatures and reduced humidity is in the forecast. Significant precipitation is necessary to reduce the current fire danger.

Activities below are restricted by this closure.  Additional restrictions and the full proclamation can be accessed at www.Oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx

  • Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling in a motorized vehicle, except on federal and state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher, except all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles which must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.
  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.
  • Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas.
  • Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.  Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher.  In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
  • Mowing of dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner upon their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood. 
  • The use of fireworks and blasting is prohibited.
  • This Regulated Closure flyer is available to provide additional information, and as a reminder of the restrictions.

The public is also reminded that the use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the District during fire season. As of January 1, 2017 sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.

Year to date for 2017 human caused fires have accounted for 57% of the fires in the Central Oregon District. Following Regulated Closure restrictions can reduce ignitions and limit damage to our natural resources including air, water, and soil. For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fire Update: Howard Meadows Fire

News Release—For Immediate Release
August 15, 2017
Oregon Department of Forestry
Umatilla National Forest

Contacts:  Christie Shaw (ODF), 541-263-0661
 Darcy Weseman (USFS), 541-215-2224

[John Day, Ore.] Firefighters from Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) John Day Unit and the Umatilla National Forest suppressed a fire near Howard Meadows in northern Grant County late Monday afternoon.  The Howard Meadows Fire was sparked by one of the many lightning strikes from last week’s thunderstorms.  Monday’s warm temperatures and afternoon winds fanned smoldering embers into dry fuels, accelerating fire growth.  Burning in grass and open pine, the fire was initially reported at fifteen acres and quickly grew.  Firefighters were able to contain the fire Monday evening at 185 acres.  The fire burned on private land protected by ODF and on the Umatilla National Forest.

The fire was running through the grass and lighter fuels and torching the open grown pine, challenging firefighters to stop the quick moving flame front.  Two helicopters and two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT’s) were used to slow the progression and allow firefighters to dig handline and place dozer line around the fire.  John Day Unit Forester Ryan Miller praised firefighter efforts, “Stopping the fire at 185 acres, in these fuel types is a huge success.  We have been doing all we can to stop these new fire starts.” ODF resources responded to two additional fire starts yesterday to protect private lands from wildfire.  Both of these fires were kept under an acre.

In addition to the SEAT’s and helicopters, on the ground resources included six engines from ODF and the Malheur National Forest, one tender, the Umatilla Veterans Crew (20 person), and two dozers.  Firefighters continued to work late into the night and were able to get a dozer line around 95% of the fire.  This morning resources will complete the dozer line, begin mopping up interior heat, and work to secure fireline.

Fire crews continue to patrol and mop up existing fires detected the past few days on Umatilla National Forest lands and lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry.  The public is reminded that fuels remain extremely dry and that the passing thunderstorms did not provide enough moisture to reduce the fire danger.  Some areas did not see any precipitation from the storms and the return to seasonable temperatures quickly dried fuels that did.

Regulated Closure is in effect for lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District.  Year to date for 2017 human caused fires have accounted for forty-four of the seventy-seven fires in the Central Oregon District.  Following Regulated Closure restrictions can reduce ignitions and limit damage to our natural resources including air, water, and soil.  For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District including the Regulated Closure restrictions, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.