Deschutes County commissioners on Wednesday unanimously approved the first-ever imposition of public use restrictions on all county-owned property and land outside fire districts, a move aimed at reducing the threat of major wildfires in what's shaping up as a dry summer fire season.
The 3-0 vote puts the restrictions into effect immediately and through mid-October, officials said.
Commissioners asked a few questions of staff at Wednesday's meeting, and only one testimonial phone call (in support) was received by Commissioner Tammy Baney, said county spokeswoman Anna Johnson. Baney mentioned it for the record, Johnson said, and the restrictions were passed without debate.
Unprotected lands are defined as lands outside of urban or rural fire protection districts, and outside of lands protected by federal agencies or the Oregon Department of Forestry.
The rules are patterned after ODF restrictions that took effect last weekend, to lessen any confusion, said Deschutes County Forester Ed Keith.
An interactive map that land owners can use to look at their own property is viewable at https://maps.deschutes.org/custom/basic/PublicUseRestrictions.html .
The resolution includes the following public use restrictions:
- 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. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
- Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.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 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
- Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. At all other times the area is to be cleared of flammable vegetation and the following fire equipment is required: one axe, one shovel, and one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher in good working order.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 fireworks is prohibited.
- The release of sky lanterns is prohibited.
- The discharging of exploding targets or tracer ammunition is prohibited.
- Blasting is prohibited.
- Any electric fence controller in use shall be: a) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and b) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.