Restrictions on campfires and smoking take effect July 31, 2012
Pendleton, OR: Public-use restrictions on campfires and smoking will go into effect on the Umatilla National Forest at 12:01 AM on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 announced Chris Johnson, Deputy Fire Staff Officer. Restrictions are being implemented due to increased fire danger, hot and dry weather conditions, and concern for public safety.
“Though we’ve had a fairly quiet fire season on the forest so far, the continued hot, dry weather conditions have cured fine fuels and increased the potential for wildfire,” said Johnson. “Fires that do occur become more difficult to control as we head into August,” said Johnson.
Public awareness of the increasing fire danger and cooperation are essential to a safe fire season. Under the current public-use restrictions, the following apply:
· Building and tending of open campfires, including charcoal briquettes, cooking fires and warming fires are prohibited until further notice, except in fire pits at designated recreation sites (designated recreation sites are listed at the bottom of this release.) Permissible sources for cooking or heat include pressurized gas BBQs, stoves and space-heating devices.
· Smoking is only allowed within enclosed vehicles, buildings, developed recreation sites or when stopped in an area cleared of all flammable material.
At this time firewood cutting is still allowed though land managers are anticipating the need for additional restrictions in the near future. Woodcutters are reminded to check daily for a change in restrictions. All forest users should carry an axe, shovel and an 8 oz. or more capacity fire extinguisher when visiting the forest.
As a reminder, travel restrictions prohibit motor vehicles traveling off of designated forest roads and trails, except for the purposes of going to or from campsites located within 300 feet of an open road. Motorized travel on segments of road where access is blocked by gate, barricade, log, boulder or earthen berm is also prohibited. Vehicles must still abide by all laws and regulations pertaining to the area of travel.
A regulated closure is in effect on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in Central and Northeast Oregon. Specific information on ODF’s restrictions is available on the web at: http://cms.oregon.gov/odf/pages/fire/precautionlevel.aspx. Similar restrictions are in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR). More information can be found on the WA-DNR website at: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx.
“We’re moving into our hottest and driest part of the summer. The fire danger will only increase. Please help us keep the forests safe this summer by being aware of fire danger and current restrictions in effect,” said Johnson.
For more information, please contact the Umatilla National Forest Office at (541) 278-3716. Public-use restrictions will be updated on the toll-free message line at 1-877-958-9663 and are also available online at: www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla/.