September 28, 2001 11:00 pm

Deer hunters will be happy to know that, effective immediately, all public-use restrictions, including the prohibition of campfires, woodstoves and briquet barbecues have been lifted on the Umatilla National Forest.

The building and tending of an open campfire is now allowed.

The campfire ban is being lifted in spite of forecasted dry and warm weather conditions.

The recent rains were scattered across our forest, leaving some areas, like our Heppner District bone-dry, while other areas are wet and soggy, said Les Holsapple, fire/fuels specialist. We are asking hunters to be extremely careful with campfires and warming fires.

Campfires should never be left unattended and coals should be cool to the touch before leaving the area. If found negligent, recreationists can be held legally and financially liable for any wildfires occurring from an abandoned campfire, Holsapple said.

Firewood cutting is also permitted at this time. Woodcutters are encouraged to call the forests toll-free message phone at 1-877-958-9663 for up-to-date information on firewood-cutting restrictions.