Thursday, October 11, 2018

Fire Season Ends for Department of Forestry Protected Lands in Central Oregon District


[Prineville, Ore.] – The Central Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will terminate fire season as of 12:01 a.m., Friday, October 12, 2018.  Continued cool moist weather over the last few weeks has significantly reduced the fire danger within the Central Oregon District.  Fuel conditions in Central Oregon are heavily influenced by weather patterns, and while the risk is diminished erratic winds and lack of precipitation can quickly cause a rise in fire danger.  Monitoring weather forecasts, following prevention tips such as having a shovel and water available when burning, and being aware of fire risk will help limit wildfires this fall.  “We live and work in an environment prone to wildfires, termination of fire season doesn’t mean the risk of wildfires is gone”, explains Rob Pentzer, Acting District Forester for the Central Oregon District.  “It means the risk is reduced to a point where we can work with landowners, operators, and the public so they can have campfires and operate chainsaws without restrictions, but are still cautious and aware of the risks.”
Year to date the Central Oregon District has had 74 human caused fires, up over 20% compared to the ten year average of 61 and up from the 65 fires in 2017.  These fires have burned over 8,000 acres of land.  Fires started by lightning were down by 35%, with only 45 fires year-to-date versus the ten-year-average of 70. 
The information below is specific to the various Units within the Central Oregon District.
Prineville-Sisters Unit—Residential open burning is still prohibited within Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties.  Please check with your local fire departments for the most current restrictions within the area that you live.  Industrial slash burning requires a burn permit from the local ODF office in Prineville or Sisters.  
The Dalles Unit—The seasonal burn ban in Wasco and Hood River counties will terminate October 15, 2018.  Please wait to burn until after this timeframe.  Check with local fire departments to determine if a burn permit is needed before burning.  Logging debris and slash burning requires a burn permit from the local ODF office in The Dalles.   
John Day Unit—ODF does not require burn permits for burning yard debris.  Contact your local fire department to determine if a permit is necessary prior to burning.  Use caution when burning yard debris, never leave a fire unattended and monitor weather forecasts before deciding to burn.  A burn permit from ODF is required before burning logging slash or debris from fuel reduction activities. Contact the John Day ODF office to obtain a permit.
If you have questions please contact your local Oregon Department of Forestry Office.  Contact information is available at www.odfcentraloregon.com.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Oregon Department of Forestry Terminates Regulated Closure Restrictions


[Prineville, Ore.] – Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District will terminate the Regulated Use Closure in effect for lands within the District at 12:01 a.m. on October 9, 2018.  Cooler fall weather combined with precipitation over the weekend has reduced the need for these restrictions.  Fire Season remains in effect for the District.  While the risk of ignitions from certain activities is diminished there is still the potential for fires to start or become out of control based on current fuel conditions.  Campfires/warming fires should never be left unattended and should be fully extinguished when you leave.  “We don’t want to see people become complacent just because it is fall,” says Braden Britt, John Day Assistant Unit Forester.  “Everyone should continue to be cautious with their actions.” 
Year to date the Central Oregon District has had 74 human caused fires, up over 20% compared to the ten year average of 61.  These fires have burned over 8,000 acres of land.
The information below provides specific restrictions in place within the Central Oregon District.
Prineville-Sisters Unit—No open burning is allowed on lands within the Prineville-Sisters Unit, including burn barrels.
The Dalles Unit—The seasonal burn ban in Wasco and Hood River counties remains in effect.  At this time, all open burning, including burn barrels is prohibited. MH-1 and MH-4 are currently at Industrial Fire Precaution Level 1.  Information for these restrictions can be found at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/ifpl.html.  
John Day Unit—All open burning, including burn barrels, is not allowed for lands protected by the John Day Unit during Fire Season. 
If you are unsure of any restriction or have questions please contact your local Oregon Department of Forestry Office.  Contact information is available at www.odfcentraloregon.com.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Reduced restrictions for lands protected by Department of Forestry in Central Oregon District

[Prineville, Ore.] – Regulated Closure restrictions on lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District will be reduced as of 12:01 a.m. on September 12, 2018.  These restrictions are intended to limit human caused fires, which represent nearly 60% of the fires in the District this year.  Fuel conditions are still very dry for this time of year and have the potential for rapid fire growth as recent fires have exhibited.  Cooler temperatures, increased humidity, and shorter days have significant influence on fire behavior and the ability of firefighters to control wildfires.  “Our concern now, is that people become complacent and don’t recognize that the fire risk remains just because it feels like fall,” says Kristin Dodd, Unit Forester in The Dalles Unit.  “We need everyone to remain vigilant and follow the restrictions.”
The primary change to the Regulated Closure is mowing of dried grass, chainsaw use, and welding/cutting of metal is now restricted between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.  All of the restrictions can be found at www.odfcentraloregon.com and are listed at the bottom of this news release.

In addition to reducing the Regulated Closure there are some changes and conditions specific to each unit within the Central Oregon District.  These details are explained below.
Prineville-Sisters Unit— Fuel conditions in the Unit remain extremely flammable.  The additional restrictions in place on industrial operations remain in effect.  No open burning is allowed on lands within the Prineville Unit, including burn barrels.
The Dalles Unit— The current burn ban in Wasco and Hood River counties remains in effect.  All open burning, including burn barrels is prohibited. Industrial Fire Precaution Levels in MH-1 and MH-4 will be reduced to Level 2 at 12:01 a.m. on September 12, 2018.  Information for these restrictions can be found at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/ifpl.html.
John Day Unit— All open burning, including burn barrels, on lands protected by the John Day Unit is prohibited during Fire Season.  Additional restrictions on industrial operations remain in effect.     
The weather forecast calls for continued dry conditions with a slight chance of precipitation later this week.  Managers will continue to evaluate fire danger and adjust restrictions as conditions allow.  If you are unsure of any restriction or have questions please contact your local Oregon Department of Forestry Office.  Contact information is available at www.odfcentraloregon.com
Activities below are restricted by this closure.  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.  Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed. Open fires are allowed if conducted in compliance with a valid Burning Permit issued pursuant to ORS 477.515.
·       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.
·       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 operational 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.
·       Use of fireworks is prohibited.
·       Blasting is prohibited.
·       Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed be a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and 2) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Aside from these restrictions, also prohibited throughout fire season is backyard debris burning, the use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Restrictions tighten on ODF protected lands in Central Oregon


Regulated Closure Link
[Prineville, Ore,] Prompted by fuel conditions and weather trends, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District is increasing restrictions for lands within their protection boundary.  The District will implement Regulated Closure-Phase 2 as of 12:01 a.m. Friday July 20, 2018.  This Closure will modify the timeframe when some high risk activities are prohibited.  All other restrictions remain in effect.  The restricted timeframe is now 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for mowing of dried grass, chainsaw use and cutting or grinding of metal.  Leadership within the District considered current fire activity in Oregon, limited resources due to the increased fire activity, and the risk of rapid fire spread in current fuel and weather conditions. Acting District Forester Rob Pentzer explains, “It just made sense to make changes to our restrictions that will limit potential ignitions.”  Fewer ignitions reduces risk to firefighters and the public, limits damage to natural resources and limits financial impact to landowners and all Oregonians.
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 public use restrictions the District is also implementing additionalFire Prevention Requirements for Industrial Operations in the Prineville and John Day Units effective July 22, 2018 at 1:00 a.m.  Regulated Closure Areas MH-1 and MH-4 in The Dalles Unit are currently in Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3. 
More information on these restrictions and closures as well as additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Drying fuel conditions prompts fire season for Department of Forestry lands in Central Oregon District


[Prineville, Ore.]  O Fuel conditions and drier/warmer long term weather forecasts prompted the declaration.  “Across the District spring has brought limited rainfall and right now we are seeing fuel conditions drier than they were at this time last year,” states District Forester Mike Shaw.  “Last week’s rain was really localized, with very little soaking in due to how quickly it came down in many areas.” 
Fires in mid-May readily burned through dry wildland fuels.
regon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District (COD) will enter fire season at 12:01 am on June 1, 2018.
With the implementation of fire season, logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF.  In addition to fire season restrictions Industrial Fire Precaution Level 1 (IFPL) will be in effect for lands protected by ODF in Hood River and Wasco counties.  Details for fire season and IFPL requirements are available at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/pages/FirePrevention.aspx, or contact your local stewardship forester for more information.
Landowners and operators should check burn piles/areas which were burned earlier this spring or late last fall for any hold-over heat.  Open debris burning, including burn barrels will no longer be allowed on ODF protected lands in the Prineville and John Day Units.  Burn barrels are allowed by permit in The Dalles Unit (Hood River and Wasco County lands), however open burning such as yard debris is prohibited.   
Campfires are allowed, however please never leave a fire unattended, clear the area around the campfire including overhead, fully extinguish the fire using the drown, stir, drown method, and ensure the fire is DEAD OUT before leaving.  The use of tracer ammunition and exploding targets is prohibited during fire season.  Sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited at all times in Oregon.
In 2017 there were 114 fires in the District burning nearly 2,500 acres, well less than the ten year average of 11,600 acres. Seventy fires were human caused, up from the ten year average of 68.  Following fire season restrictions and prevention tips can reduce fire ignitions, causing less damage to our natural resources including air, water, and soil. 
For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.