Thursday, September 26, 2019

Fire Season Ends for Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District


[Prineville, Ore]  Recent cool temperatures and precipitation have brought an end to the 2019 fire season for Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District.  At 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, September 26, 2019 fire season will officially be terminated.  Wildland fuels across the District do not pose a significant risk of rapid fire growth, however weather and fuel conditions during the fall can change quickly.  The public is reminded to follow all local burning restrictions to reduce the risk of escaped debris burns.
“We still want everyone to be careful with their burning, and to follow recommendations and restrictions,” reminds Kristin Dodd, Unit Forester in The Dalles.  “Terminating fire season doesn’t mean fire won’t burn, especially on dry windy days.”
Landowners who plan to burn industrial logging slash, fuel reduction or defensible space materials, or other debris from forest activities should contact their local ODF Office to obtain a burn permit.  Burning of yard debris or burn barrels should follow fire department restrictions and do not require a permit from ODF.  

On THE DALLES UNIT (Hood River and Wasco counties)—Yard debris (small piles) and burn barrels are allowed from dawn until 11:00 a.m.  Burn permits are required by ODF or the local fire district.  Please call for details to obtain a permit.
On PRINEVILLE-SISTERS and JOHN DAY UNITS—Contact your local fire department for information regarding yard debris and burn barrels.
Fires should never be left unattended.  A shovel and water source on site are recommended when burning, even small piles.  Landowners may be liable for fires which escape.    
Firefighters within the Central Oregon District responded to 126 fires across the 2.3 million protected acres, burning just over 230 acres year-to-date.  The ten-year average for acres burned within the District is over 8,000 acres annually. The small number of acres burned in 2019 can be attributed to the quick, coordinated response of firefighting resources, wet thunderstorms, and a more moderate fire season across the region allowing more resources to be available for initial attack and extended attack for suppression efforts.  Human ignitions accounted for 49 fires, with 77 fires attributed to lightning. 
For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Regulated-Use Closure Terminated for Private Lands in Central Oregon District


[Prineville, Ore]  Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has terminated Regulated-Use Closure for lands within the Central Oregon District (COD) effective 12:01 a.m.  September 16, 2019.  Lands affected include private, county, and municipal ownership inside the Central Oregon District Protection Boundary within the following counties:  Wasco, Hood River, Wheeler, Sherman, Umatilla, Grant, Harney, Morrow, Gilliam, Jefferson, Lake, Crook, and Deschutes.  While campfires will be allowed with owner permission inside the District, Rob Pentzer, District Forester for COD, reminds the public “Conditions can change rapidly in the fall and a fire should never be left unattended.  Be sure your fire is DEAD-OUT before you leave.”  Check for local county or fire department restrictions and burn bans before lighting a campfire or traveling off-road.
Fire season remains in effect for the Central Oregon District.  Cool temperatures and typical fall weather have reduced fire danger in wildland fuels and the potential for large fire growth is diminished.  However wind quickly dries fuels even following rain and changing weather and fuel conditions can result in unexpected fire spread.  Please use caution and respect fire season restrictions.  Open burning, including yard debris is prohibited during fire season.  Fuel and weather conditions will continue to be monitored. 
Industrial Fire Precaution Level for MH-1 and MH-4 for Wasco and Hood River counties remains at Level 1.   
For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fire Prevention Restrictions Reduced for Private Lands in ODF’s Central Oregon District

[Prineville, Ore]  Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is reducing fire prevention restrictions for lands within the Central Oregon District beginning at 12:01 a.m. on September 5, 2019.  Lands affected include private, county, and municipal lands inside the Central Oregon District Protection Boundary within the following counties:  Wasco, Hood River, Wheeler, Sherman, Umatilla, Grant, Harney, Gilliam, Jefferson, Lake, Crook, and Deschutes.  The lessened restrictions reflect a reduced potential for large fire growth based on current fuel conditions, improved humidity recovery, shorter burn periods typical in fall, and the current weather forecast for cooler temperatures and increased precipitation.
The reduced restrictions rescinds the Fire Precaution Order (dated August 7, 2019) for industrial forest operations restricting certain harvest machinery and operations within the John Day and Prineville-Sisters Units. Industrial Fire Precaution Level for MH-1 and MH-4 for Wasco and Hood River counties remains at Level 2.   Burn bans and local county or fire department restrictions remain in effect.  High risk activities identified in the Regulated Use Closure will be restricted between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.  Activities below are restricted by this closure.  Additional restrictions and the full proclamation can be accessed at www.Oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx
·        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 operational 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.
·        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.
·        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 operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher.  In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
·        Mowing of dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
·        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.
·        The use of fireworks and blasting is prohibited.
For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Fire Risk Not Diminished by Recent Rains


[Prineville, Ore]  Fire season remains in effect for lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District despite recent rains and cooler temperatures.  A Regulated Use Closure restricting activities with an increased risk of ignition is also in effect for the District.  Rain from earlier this week has not reduced the risk of large fire growth.  Fire managers continue to monitor fuels and evaluate conditions for fire danger.  “While we haven’t seen the wildfire activity in central Oregon like we have in recent years, we need everyone to remember it’s still August and there is significant warm dry weather ahead of us,” reminds Gordon Foster, Prineville-Sisters Unit Forester. 
Open burning, including debris burning is not allowed within the District.  Cover debris piles for burning later in the fall after significant rainfall, outside of fire season.  The weather forecast call for warmer weather in the coming days, which will quickly dry fuels dampened by the rain. 
As part of the Regulated Use Closure campfires are not allowed on lands protected by ODF unless in a designated location.  With archery season beginning Saturday, hunters should know the current restrictions before heading to their favorite hunting spot. Hunters should be prepared for cool conditions and remember that warming fires are prohibited.
Activities below are restricted by the Regulated Closure.  Additional restrictions and the full proclamation can be accessed at www.Oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx
·      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 operational 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.
·      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.
·      Mowing dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture/harvest of agricultural crops.
·      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.
·      The use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the District during fire season.  As of January 1, 2017 sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.
The specific time restrictions and activities can be found at www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Increased Restrictions for Lands Protected by Oregon Department of Forestry

[Prineville, Ore]  Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District will be increasing restrictions to reduce human caused wildfires at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, August 7, 2019.  Private, state, and municipally owned lands protected by the Central Oregon District in the following counties are affected by these restrictions:  Hood River, Wasco, Gilliam, Wheeler, Grant, Umatilla, Harney, Lake, Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook, and Morrow.  The increased restrictions are being implemented based on current fuel conditions and potential of rapid fire spread, future weather forecasts of high temperatures and the possibility of lightning, and increased initial attack and extended attack activity locally and statewide. 
Activities below are restricted by the Regulated Closure.  Additional restrictions and the full proclamation can be accessed at www.Oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx
·      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 operational 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.
·      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.
·      Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.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 operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher.  In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
·      Mowing dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture/harvest of agricultural crops.
·      Cutting, grinding & welding of metal is prohibited between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m
·      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.
·      The use of fireworks and blasting is prohibited.
The use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the District during fire season.  As of January 1, 2017 sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.
In addition to the Regulated Closure, industrial operations in Hood River and Wasco counties (MH-1 & MH-4) will also move to Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3 on August 7th.  Cable yarding systems and power drive machinery are restricted to reduce potential ignitions.  The specific time restrictions and activities can be found at www.ODFcentraloregon.com.