Dry conditions bring fire restrictions

Published on July 11, 2017 3:33PM

Last changed on July 11, 2017 3:54PM

Paul Wahl/ChieftainThis warning sign on the way to Wallowa Lake shows the fire danger as moderate. That could go to high or extreme, depending on the weather this week.

Paul Wahl/ChieftainThis warning sign on the way to Wallowa Lake shows the fire danger as moderate. That could go to high or extreme, depending on the weather this week.

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Hot and dry weather has prompted both the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry to issue restrictions on lands they oversee.

Stringent rules for campfires, smoking, off-road travel, and chainsaw use will go into effect on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest mean chainsaws may be operated 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time. A one-hour fire watch is required after saw operations cease.

Saw operators are required to have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher in their possession.

Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles, buildings or cleared areas.

No off-road or off-trail vehicle travel or travel on roads not cleared of standing grass or other flammable material; no vehicle travel on those Forest Service roads where access has been impeded or blocked by earthen berms, logs, boulders, barriers, barricades or gates.

Campfires are allowed only in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread. Campfires must be attended at all times, and completely extinguished prior to leaving.

Persons with campfires are required to have a tool that can serve as a shovel and one gallon of water in their possession. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled gas and wood burning stoves equipped with a chimney that is at least five feet in length with a spark-arresting screen consisting of quarter-inch mesh hardware cloth are allowed.

Northeast Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry will institute a set of fire prevention measures Wednesday, July 12. All lands protected by the district will be placed under heightened fire safety restrictions, including forestland within one-eighth mile of the district boundary.

These restrictions apply:

• Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Designated locations include Emigrant Springs, Ukiah Dale, Catherine Creek, Hilgard Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam and Unity Lake. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.

• Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area free of flammable vegetation.

• Nonindustrial chainsaw use is prohibited 1 p.m.to 8 p.m. Chainsaw users need to carry one axe, one shovel, and one eight-ounce or larger fire extinguisher.

• Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited, 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present.

• Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

On all public lands, debris burning is prohibited, except in burn barrels for which a permit has been issued. Use of exploding targets is prohibited.

Use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.



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