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.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fire Prevention Restrictions Ease on ODF Protected Lands in Central Oregon

[Prineville, Ore.] Cooler and wetter weather across most of central Oregon has reduced the wildland fire danger allowing Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District (COD) to modify the current fire prevention restrictions.  Campfires will still only be allowed at designated locations, primarily at local state parks.  However, use of chainsaws, mowing of dried grass, and welding/cutting of metal will be allowed between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.  All other rules remain the same for these activities including on-site firefighting tools and fire watch as required.  These restrictions are intended to reduce human caused fires.  Changes to the restrictions took effect at 12:01 a.m., September 19, 2017.  More information regarding the specific restrictions can be found at www.odfcentraloregon.com
In addition to the Regulated Closure changes the District is modifying current restrictions for industrial activities in the forest.  For lands in MH-1 and MH-4 in Hood River and Wasco counties the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) has been reduced to Level 2.  Requirements for industrial operators and a map of this area can be found at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/ifpl.html.  In the John Day and Prineville units the Additional Restrictions Order has been rescinded.  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.
Open burning, including campfires, warming fires, burning yard debris, and slash burning from logging is prohibited on lands protected by ODF in central Oregon.  Following a long dry fire season this cooler, wet weather may seem like an indicator of the end of fire season, however the recent record fuel conditions prior to this weather pattern requires significant wetting rain to reduce the danger of fires.  The risk of rapid large fire growth has diminished, but the potential for fires to burn in the wildland fuels remain.
The public is also reminded that 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.
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 57% of the fires in the Central Oregon District, an increase of nearly 10% over the District’s ten year average.  Following Regulated Closure restrictions can reduce ignitions and limit damage to our natural resources including air, water, and soil.  For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Recent lightning activity

While it may look like a messy finger paint picture...each in the picture below represents a ground strike from the last 24 hours. ~1500 strikes in Oregon since yesterday, starting many new fires across the landscape. Pink are the newest strikes, <1 hour then red, gold, blue, purple with black being 16-24 hours old. These thunderstorms will keep firefighters busy for the next few days, chasing holdover or sleeper fires started by these lightning strikes, as well as the fires they are battling today.
Fire danger throughout the region is extreme. Precipitation from these thunderstorms is not enough to mitigate the record fuel conditions and reduce the risk of rapid fire spread. With firefighting resources being scarce, every new fire on the landscape stresses the complete and coordinated fire suppression system. This means every new fire is harder to stop than the last one.
Preventing the fires we can is our first priority. Being mindful of activities which can cause fires, and being vigilant with your actions is needed.#knowbeforeyougo... we hear this all the time, what does it mean? It means call your local Oregon Department of ForestryU.S. Forest ServiceBureau of Land Management - Oregon, fire department, or county office to find out what the current fire danger is and what activities are restricted including activities at home. #Prevention #KeepOregonGreen #Thankyou