Fire Alert

Fire restrictions to rise on C.O. public lands

Precautionary level raised across Central Oregon

BEND, Ore. - Fire managers will institute Industrial Fire Precaution Level-II restrictions for the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grassland, and Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management at midnight Sunday.

"Our conditions are relatively dry for this time of year, it's been getting drier," Fire Manager Doug Johnson said Thursday.

Under an Industrial Fire Precaution Level-II (IFPL-II), the following only can be done between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time:

•       Using power saws, except at loading sites;

•       Cable yarding;

•       Blasting;

•       Welding or cutting of metal.

The regulations affect both commercial and personal use firewood cutters, and industrial operators.

"If you have a permit to cut firewood, that certainly is something by 1 p.m. you have to have shut down," Johnson said. "I would ask that as people go into this hot dry weekend that we have coming up that we be very careful with fire."

To check Industrial Fire Precaution Levels and Public Use Restrictions for Central Oregon call 1-800-523-4737 or log onto:

To report fires, call 9-1-1 or the nearest sheriff's office.

Federal officials ordered the restrictions after weather observations and moisture readings in woody material showed increased fire danger.

The public is encouraged to check local fire restrictions before visiting public or private lands by checking agency websites or calling local Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or Oregon Department of Forestry offices.

Fire managers urge people to be extremely careful with outdoor activities involving campfires, lanterns, charcoal briquettes, chainsaws and recreational vehicles.  People who start wildland fires can be fined, jailed and billed for suppression costs, which can total millions of dollars.

"For this time of year, historically we have about 50 percent of our fires caused by humans here in Central Oregon," Johnson said.

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