Restrictions on campfires, chain saw use start Thursday

Written by Baker City Herald July 16, 2013 11:35 am

The first phase of public-use restrictions on campfires and chain saw use takes effect Thursday on the Wallowa-Whitman and Umatilla national forests.

Similar restrictions are already in effect on the BLM’s Vale District.

Continued hot, dry weather has increased the fire risk on the two national forests, according to a joint press release.

“Phase A is the lowest level of restriction, generally implemented when the fire danger is moderate to high,” Brian Goff, fire staff officer for the Umatilla, said in the press release.

During the first phase of restrictions:

• Campfires are restricted to fire pits in areas cleared of flammable vegetation

• Chain saws must be shut down between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily, with a required one-hour watch after shutting down the chain saw to watch for and suppress any fire starts

• Smoking is allowed only inside vehicles and buildings, developed recreation sites, or areas cleared of combustible debris

• Off/road or off/road travel by motorized vehicles is prohibited

• Exploding targets are prohibited

On BLM’s Vale District, campfires, included charcoal briquette fires, are allowed only within metal fire rings at Spring Recreation Site and Carters Landing in Baker County, and at Chukar Park in Malheur County.

Liquified and bottled gas stoves and heaters are allowed.

Chain saws are not allowed at any time on the Vale District, and off-road driving is prohibited.

Also starting Thursday, a regulated closure is in effect on state and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in Northeast Oregon.

Specific information on ODF’s restrictions is available on the web at: http://cms.oregon.gov/odf/pages/fire/precautionlevel.aspx.

In addition, beginning on Thursday, July 18, Bureau of Land Management lands in Baker County will be implementing their public use restrictions. More information can be found on the web at: http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/vale/index.php.

 Public-use restrictions will be updated on a recorded message line at: Baker City 541-523-1234, La Grande 541-962-8679, and Enterprise 541-426-5552, and are also available online at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/

Information about BLM restrictions is available by calling 541-473-6295 or online at www.blm.gov/or/districts/vale.