FIRE RESTRICTIONS: - Fire Season terminated as of September 26, 2019
FIRE RESTRICTIONS: - Regulated Closure terminated as of September 16, 2019
MH1 and MH4 IFPL: - IFPL no longer in effect as of September 26, 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019

Fire Risk Not Diminished by Recent Rains


[Prineville, Ore]  Fire season remains in effect for lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District despite recent rains and cooler temperatures.  A Regulated Use Closure restricting activities with an increased risk of ignition is also in effect for the District.  Rain from earlier this week has not reduced the risk of large fire growth.  Fire managers continue to monitor fuels and evaluate conditions for fire danger.  “While we haven’t seen the wildfire activity in central Oregon like we have in recent years, we need everyone to remember it’s still August and there is significant warm dry weather ahead of us,” reminds Gordon Foster, Prineville-Sisters Unit Forester. 
Open burning, including debris burning is not allowed within the District.  Cover debris piles for burning later in the fall after significant rainfall, outside of fire season.  The weather forecast call for warmer weather in the coming days, which will quickly dry fuels dampened by the rain. 
As part of the Regulated Use Closure campfires are not allowed on lands protected by ODF unless in a designated location.  With archery season beginning Saturday, hunters should know the current restrictions before heading to their favorite hunting spot. Hunters should be prepared for cool conditions and remember that warming fires are prohibited.
Activities below are restricted by the Regulated 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.
·      Mowing dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture/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 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.
The specific time restrictions and activities can be found at www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Oregon Department of Forestry successful in initial attack of lightning fires


[Prineville, Oregon]  Eastern Oregon received over 13,000 lightning strikes as numerous thunderstorms moved across eastern Oregon in the last ten days.  Firefighters have taken action on seventy fires across the six million acres of land protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and Walker Range Forest Patrol in the Eastern Oregon Area.  Of these seventy fires only one grew larger than ten acres, and the majority were suppressed as single trees or less than a tenth of an acre.  ODF firefighters also assisted federal partners and rural fire departments with fires on their jurisdictions to limit fires across the landscape.  Jamie Paul, Eastern Oregon Area Assistant Director, praised Area fire crews for their efforts and hard work, “Responding to so many fires in such a short time period, and keeping them small demonstrates how dedicated and aggressive ODF firefighters are to initial attack fire suppression.” 

In anticipation of these thunderstorms additional resources were requested to support the District and Association personnel.   These resources included engines from local rural fire departments, the Oregon Military Department, and ODF in western Oregon, as well as contract bull dozers. In addition to District and Association staffing and these move-up resources, severity aircraft specially funded by the Oregon Legislature were instrumental in the success of initial attack during this lightning event.  These aircraft, include single engine air tankers, a heli-tack platform capable of delivering firefighters with gear quickly to remote fires, and helicopters capable of dropping water to cool hotspots so that ground troops have time to engage.

Reconnaissance planes and spotters were effective in finding fires immediately following the storms, and were utilized to provide intelligence back to fire managers and crews as they navigated into the fires.  Detection cameras across Eastern Oregon Area are manned with specialized lookouts trained to spot and locate fires through this remote technology. In the Central Oregon District, detection camera operators were responsible for discovery of approximately 20% of the fires in the District during this lightning event.  These early detections allow firefighters to take action quickly while the fires are still small, reducing exposure for firefighters and damage to natural resources as well as financial impacts to landowners and Oregonians.  
  
In addition to the fires on ODF protected lands Rangeland Fire Protection Associations, volunteer firefighting entities in Central and Eastern Oregon’s high desert and range country, suppressed more than thirty fires during this time period.

Year to date there have been 114 lightning fires in the Eastern Oregon Area burning just over 1,300 acres compared to the ten year average of 107 fires burning just over 12,000 acres.  91 human caused fires have burned 374 acres year to date for 2019 compared to 102 fires burning 2,630 acres for the ten year average.

The Eastern Oregon Area (EOA) is comprised of three forest protection districts, one operating forest protective association, twenty-four rangeland fire protection associations, and two state forests.   

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Increased Restrictions for Lands Protected by Oregon Department of Forestry


[Prineville, Ore]  Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District will be increasing restrictions to reduce human caused wildfires at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, August 7, 2019.  Private, state, and municipally owned lands protected by the Central Oregon District in the following counties are affected by these restrictions:  Hood River, Wasco, Gilliam, Wheeler, Grant, Umatilla, Harney, Lake, Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook, and Morrow.  The increased restrictions are being implemented based on current fuel conditions and potential of rapid fire spread, future weather forecasts of high temperatures and the possibility of lightning, and increased initial attack and extended attack activity locally and statewide. 
Activities below are restricted by the Regulated 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 dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture/harvest of agricultural crops.
·      Cutting, grinding & welding of metal is prohibited between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m
·      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.
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.
In addition to the Regulated Closure, industrial operations in Hood River and Wasco counties (MH-1 & MH-4) will also move to Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3 on August 7th.  Cable yarding systems and power drive machinery are restricted to reduce potential ignitions.  The specific time restrictions and activities can be found at www.ODFcentraloregon.com.