By Devan Schwartz
Fire season is in effect on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry's Northeast Oregon District.
That includes state and many private lands in the region.
A press release issued Friday said that the above average snowpack and below average temperatures which delayed the fire season should give way to warmer and drier conditions.
Of particular concern to fire managers are low elevation areas whose grass and brush are rapidly drying out.
The declaration applies to "private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in Union, Baker, Wallowa, and Umatilla counties, along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow, and Grant Counties within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District."
The district comprises more than 1.8 million acres.
So what does the fire season declaration mean?
First, burning permits are now required on all private forest and range lands.
Second, landowners who have burned slash piles in the spring or fall are encouraged to check that they are completely out and the heat is gone.
Third, logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention. Contact local ODF stewardship foresters for more information.
Fourth, campfires must be fully attended, and then fully extinguished before leaving them. Also, landowners must be contacted prior to starting any campfires.
For more information, local forestry offices can be reached at these phone numbers:
La Grande Unit: 541-963-3168
Baker City Sub-Unit: 541-523-5831
Wallowa Unit: 541-886-2881
Pendleton Unit: 541-276-3491
Otherwise, the Northeast Oregon Department of Forestry can also be found online at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/.