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Campfire restrictions to be lifted on C.O. public lands

ODF also reduces limits on state-protected lands

BEND, Ore. - (Update: Federal agencies lift campfire restrictions)

With consistently cooler nights and reduced fire activity around the Pacific Northwest, the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland are lifting campfire restrictions effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday on public lands in Central Oregon.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will drop to Level 2, which means that personal firewood cutting is again allowed between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.

For the reduction in Public Use Restrictions, open fires, including charcoal fires, will be allowed. Be aware that some federal sites still have campfire restrictions such as Hosmer Lake, and that the seasonal restrictions on BLM-administered lands in the following areas remain in effect:

Until September 30, 2016:

On public lands within 1/4 mile of the river’s edge in the following locations:

Mainstem John Day River from Tumwater Falls (River Mile 10) upstream to Kimberly (River Mile 185);

North Fork John Day River, from the confluence with the mainstem at Kimberly (River Mile 0) upstream to the Umatilla National Forest boundary (River Mile 62);

South Fork John Day River from Smokey Creek (River Mile 6) upstream to Malheur National Forest boundary (River Mile 47).

Until October 15, 2016:

Crooked River - Within ½ mile of the river’s edge along the Lower Crooked River from the Highway 97 Bridge to Lake Billy Chinook.

Deschutes River - Within ½ mile of the river’s edge from the Highway 20 bridge to Lake Billy Chinook; including all BLM-administered lands north of the Jefferson county line and between the Deschutes River and

Crooked River. Within ½ mile of Lake Simtustus (between Round Butte Dam and Pelton Dam)

Within the Lower Deschutes National Wild and Scenic River corridor (Pelton Dam to the Columbia River)

Lake Billy Chinook - Those public lands located within ½ mile of Lake Billy Chinook; including BLM Beach dispersed recreation site located approximately ½ mile east of the Three Rivers Recreation Area on the south shore of the Metolius River Arm of the lake.

White River - Within ½ mile of the river’s edge from its confluence with the Deschutes River upstream to the eastern boundary of the Mount Hood National Forest.

At the same time, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL), which regulates permitted and commercial activities on federal lands, will drop to a Level II (called a Partial Hootowl). Under this level, commercial and personal woodcutting, welding, cable yarding and blasting is allowed, where authorized, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. with a minimum of a one-hour fire watch following activity.

Officials want to remind the public that using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, explosives, and fireworks continue to be prohibited on all federal lands.

Officials carefully consider the current fire situation, fuel moisture and predicted weather before making the decision to lift fire restrictions. Fire Officials want to remind people recreating on public lands to continue to use caution even though fall is approaching and temperatures are cooling down; wildfires are still possible. All campfires, including warming fires used by hunters, should be cold to the touch when not being watched. Every fire that’s prevented protects our communities and helps our firefighters remain available, rested, and safe.

For Central Oregon Fire Information Fire hotline, please call 541-316-7711 or keep up-to-date on fire activity by following us on Twitter at @CentralORFire.

Earlier Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Forestry issued their announcement:

Cooler and wetter weather across most of central Oregon has reduced the wildland fire danger, allowing the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District 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., Tuesday.  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 ODF's Central Oregon District 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, officials said. 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 Central Oregon 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 percent of the fires in the Central Oregon District, an increase of nearly 10 percent over the District’s 10-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, visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.


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