BEND, Ore. - With consistently cooler nights, reduced fire activity around the Northwest and fewer human-caused wildfires of late, fire restrictions are being eased on public lands around the High Desert.
The Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes and Ochoco national forests and the Crooked River National Grassland are lifting campfire and smoking restrictions effective 12:01 a.m. Friday on federal lands in Central Oregon, officials said Wednesday.
For the reduction in public use restrictions, open fires, including charcoal fires, will be allowed.
Private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry remain under a regulated closure at this time. 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, 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 p.m. and 1 p.m. with a minimum of a one-hour fire watch following activity.
Officials said they 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, as 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," the agencies said.