Central Oregon

Fire restrictions lowered on C.O. public lands

Wet thunderstorms help as crews still chase smokes

After a series of wet thunderstorms, and with cooler fall days approaching, the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes National Forest and the Crooked River National Grassland are lifting most public use restrictions related to campfires and lowering the Industrial Fire Precaution Level from a Level III (Partial Shutdown) to a Level II (Partial Hootowl).

Effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, open fires, including charcoal fires, will be allowed, except in the following areas that have annual restrictions on BLM-administered lands that will remain in effect:

Until October 15, 2013:

·         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.

 Until September 30, 2013:

 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 main stem 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).

Also effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will reduce to a Level II (Partial Hootowl) on the Crooked River National Grassland, Deschutes National Forest, and the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management. It has already been lowered on the Ochoco National Forest. Level II (Partial Hootowl) means that power saws, cable yarding, blasting, and welding equipment may only operate between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time.

The Forest Service and BLM want to remind the public that State of Oregon fire restrictions established and enforced by the Oregon Department of Forestry remain in place.

For more information about fire restrictions, the public can call the Fire Restrictions Hotline at 1-800-523-4737 or go to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/fire/ .

The Ochoco National Forest reduced its industrial fire precaution level early Friday as crews continue to go after new smoke reports from the latest round of thunderstorms that again were accompanied by significant rain (and hail) in places.

There have been 10 new smoke reports in Central Oregon since Thursday's storms, said Forest Service spokeswoman Jean Nelson-Dean.

Two were found to be human-caused and the others are likely lightning, although all had not been found by late Friday morning. Nelson-Dean said a reconnaissance flight was planned Friday in the areas where lightning tracked, to see if there are any other new, small fires to tackle.

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