Lightning sparks blazes; city, state and feds impose fire restrictions
By Jayson Jacoby
Northeastern Oregon's reprieve from the fire season is over.
A series of lightning storms, combined with the hot, dry weather that has dominated during July, has brought more than a dozen wildfires to the region this week.
And with no significant change in the weather forecast, local, state and federal agencies will soon impose more stringent fire restrictions.
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, starting Saturday, will prohibit the use of chain saws between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day.
Firewood cutting is still allowed, but chain saws can't be used during that seven-hour period.
Also taking effect Saturday on the Wallowa-Whitman is a ban on driving motorized vehicles off designated roads, or on roads that are blocked by an dirt berm, logs, boulders, gates or other barricade.
The Oregon Department of Forestry on Tuesday instituted a regulated use closure, which tightens fire restrictions on lands the agency protects.
Lightning, meanwhile, has ignited fires across the region. The largest are in Wallowa County and across the Snake River in Idaho.
The Pittsburg fire is in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area has burned more than 6,400 acres north of Pittsburg Landing.
The fire is burning mainly in grass.
In Oregon, the Hurricane Creek fire in the Eagle Cap Wilderness near Joseph has burned 120 acres of timber and forced the Forest Service to close the Hurricane Creek trailhead, a popular entry point into the Eagle Cap.
See more in Wednesday's Baker City Herald.