Juanita Jacobson of Lostine has an elk tag for archery season that’s good for Sled Springs.
Well, that’s a gimme, isn’t it?
But Jaunita isn’t going to try to fill it.
“The smoke is so heavy that my husband can’t breath in it,” she said. “Wenaha is closed, and there’s no way we could get in to the woods,” she said.
Even if they got up into the woods in what they think is a safe area, Juanita said, it might not be safe for long.
“We’re scared to death to have our trailer out there (as a base camp),” she said. “There’s going to be more fires and people out there and I don’t care how careful you are, someone is going to do something stupid. We could come back to camp and find it on fire.”
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is not canceling archery season (Aug. 29 – Sept. 27), but hunters may be limited in where they can hunt — or, like Juanita Jacobson, may limit themselves because of safety issues.
“Because of the extreme fire danger, hunters should be aware that there are fire restrictions throughout Oregon and some local closures of public land associated with active fires and firefighting,” said Ron Anglin, ODFW wildlife division administrator.
Hunters need to know what those fire restrictions and closures are before they go afield.
The InciWeb website (inciweb.nwcg.gov/) has information on fires and closures due to firefighting, plus maps of closure areas in some cases. Currently, there are active fires and related closures on the Malheur, Rogue-River-Siskiyou, Umatilla, Umpqua, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. Closures are also in effect on some BLM lands where there is fire activity.
All state, federal and industrial forests are also under public use restrictions to prevent more fires. Restrictions vary by area but some key rules to follow are:
• No smoking except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats or at designated locations.
• No open fires such as campfires, charcoal fires or cooking fires except in designated locations. (Currently campfires are prohibited, even in designated fire pits, in all Oregon state parks, Tillamook County and in some national forests, too.) Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
• No off-roading by motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Vehicles are only allowed on improved roads. Keep your vehicle off vegetation, it could start a fire!
• No exploding targets or tracer ammunition.
• Carry firefighting tools (one gallon of water or 2.5 pound fire extinguisher and one shovel at least 26 inches long with an 8-inch blade) when traveling in a motor vehicle in timber, brush or grass.
Hunters should also consider that many private forestlands are currently closed to public access, including hunting.
For a partial list of these closures, visit ODF’s website at Oregon.gov/odf under Wildfires /Forest Restrictions & Closures / Landowner / Corporate Closure Chart. This chart is updated frequently and also contains a phone number to get the latest information about restrictions directly from the timber company. If the land where you hunt is not represented, call the landowner directly for access information.
“Private landowners will reopen their land when conditions significantly improve and it is safe to do so,” says Mike Dykzeul, director of forest protection at the Oregon Forest Industries Council.