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.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Burn Ban Lifted for Hood River and Wasco Counties

As a cooperative effort between The Oregon Department of Forestry, and local fire agencies within Hood River and Wasco Counties, the Burn Ban in Wasco county and the modified Burn Ban in Hood River county will be lifted as of 1:00 am on October 14th 2017.  This applies to burn barrels and small back yard piles.  At this time large industrial piles or fuels treatment project piles are not being allowed.  Burning permits are still required for all outdoor burning activities.  Make sure you have a valid permit from either the Oregon Department of Forestry or your local fire department, and use caution with any burning you plan to do. 

Make sure you have an adequate buffer around your pile or barrel.  Have a good water source on site that is operational and ready for use.  Digging tools are required to have on site in the case there is an escaped fire.  Plan your burning activities on cool days when the wind is calm.  Make sure you know the specific requirements that pertain to your area before conducting any burn and follow all burn permit instructions.  As always, if you have any questions, want to report any unsafe burning, or have an escaped fire please contact your local fire agency.

Fire Season Ends for Oregon Department of Forestry in Central Oregon

[Prineville, Ore.]  Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District terminated fire season at 12:01 a.m. on October 16, 2017.  Recent weather patterns combined with shorter days and cooler nights have reduced the risk of large fire growth.  “Under these conditions fuels won’t be able to dry out enough to be a significant hazard and they no longer warrant the need for us to be in fire season,” says District Forester Mike Shaw.
Termination of fire season brings an increase in outdoor burning from activities such as fuel reduction, yard debris clean-up, and operations to reduce slash in managed forests.  Consider alternatives to burning such as chipping, composting and debris removal programs through your local landfill.  Covering piles is also a good option to allow burning later in the fall when risk of escaped fire is further reduced. 
Fall weather can vary day to day, cold temperatures and wind can dry fuels and fan flames when fires are left unattended or not fully extinguished.  Uncontrolled fire can result in citations and fines, as well as liability for any costs associated with suppression of the fire.  Following these tips will help reduce the risk of an uncontrolled fire:
·       Check with your local fire agency and/or local ODF office to determine if you need a permit, what restrictions are in place, and if it is a burn day.
·       Follow all instructions on your burn permit (if one is required)
·       Never leave a fire unattended.
·       Keep fires small and manageable.
·       Do not burn on windy days.
·       Have water and a shovel available.
·       Clear the area around the fire to mineral soil.
·       To extinguish your fire:  Drown with water and stir until it is cold to the touch.
·       Report any uncontrolled fire to 9-1-1.
Burn permits can be requested on-line on Central Oregon Districts website, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com for information.
Year to date for 2017 human caused fires have accounted for 60% of the fires in the Central Oregon District, burning 703 acres in 67 fires.  Uncontrolled fires damage our natural resources including air, water, and soil.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Regulated Closure ends in Central Oregon District

[Prineville, Ore.]  Over the last few weeks cooler temperatures and increased precipitation has reduced the fire danger throughout lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in central Oregon.  As a result of this reduced fire danger the Regulated Closure in ODF’s Central Oregon District terminates at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, October 3, 2017.  These restrictions were in place to limit human caused fires during high fire danger when rapid fire growth may occur.  While fire danger is reduced the potential for fires to burn uncontrolled or ignite due to carelessness remains.  Gordon Foster, Prineville Unit Forester reminds us, “We need the public to maintain a high level of awareness and be vigilant in their prevention actions.  The risk of fire is reduced, not eliminated.”  Fire season is still in effect for the Central Oregon District, restricting the use of tracer ammunition and exploding targets as well as other forestry activities.

Campfires are allowed on ODF protected lands in central Oregon, however open burning in The Dalles Unit and Prineville-Sisters Unit require burn permits.  This includes yard debris and burning forestry slash.  Never leave a fire unattended, whether a campfire or debris burn.  To reduce the risk of an uncontrolled fire always clear the area around burn area, have tools handy, and follow all requirements on your permit.  Other safe burning practices can be found online at www.keeporegongreen.org.  Debris burning in the John Day Unit, including the Fossil Sub-Unit is prohibited during fire season.  Information for obtaining burn permits from the Central Oregon District can be found at www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) for MH-1 and MH-4 in Hood River and Wasco counties has been reduced to Level 1.  Requirements for industrial operators and a map of this area can be found at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/ifpl.html.  Fire season restrictions are still in place in COD, including requirements for hand tools, fire watch, equipment standards, and water supply.  Smoking is not allowed while working or traveling in an operation area.

ODF’s Central Oregon District includes private lands in Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Hood River, Jefferson, Wasco, Wheeler, Gilliam, Morrow, and Harney counties, as well as small parts of Umatilla and Lake counties.  Landowners, local agencies, and land managers may have additional restrictions in place, always check to be certain you are in compliance.  Federal land public use restrictions are available at local National Forest offices, or on their websites.

Year to date for 2017 human caused fires have accounted for 60% of the fires in the Central Oregon District, an increase of 15% over the District’s ten year average.  Uncontrolled fires damage our natural resources including air, water, and soil.  For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.