Forestry district ends closure decree for private lands

By Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer October 22, 2012 01:07 pm
As of Tuesday, the regulated-use closure that was in place on private land has been terminated for forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry Northeast Oregon District.

This includes private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands in Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla and small portions of Grant, Malheur and Morrow counties. 

“This was a long, dry summer with record high fire danger that is finally coming to an end,” says ODF’s Northeast Oregon District Forester John Buckman. “Throughout the period of extended fire danger, the public and the landowners in Northeast Oregon have been understanding of the fire regulations and have been very fire safe. This is an illustration of their concerns for the forest and their support for fire protection,” added Buckman.

Rain and cooler temperatures have reduced the fire danger, allowing the termination of the regulated-use closure. But cooler fall weather may give a false sense of security that can result in a higher occurrence of human-caused fires. The department said it is important to practice fire prevention. 

Fire season is still in effect for the Oregon Department of Forestry Northeast Oregon District. That means burning permits are required on all private forestland within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District. To get a permit, contact a local ODF office in La Grande, Baker City, Wallowa or Pendleton.

Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply and watchman service, when those operations are occurring on private lands protected by ODF. Contact local Stewardship Foresters at any local ODF office for more information.

The department issued the following reminders:

Do not leave fires unattended. Get permission from the landowner before having a campfire. Have water and a shovel nearby. When practicing campfire safety, build your campfire on bare, level ground away from combustible materials and keep the fire small. Make sure any open burning or campfire is completely out before leaving it: drown the fire with water, stirring with a shovel until all embers are soaking wet and cold to the touch. Use these practices when disposing of ash from woodstoves and BBQs as well.

To report a fire call 911, or the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center at 541-963-7171.