Restrictions implemented on national forests

Written by Observer staff July 16, 2013 01:46 pm

BAKER CITY — Phase A public-use restrictions on campfires, smoking, off-road travel and chainsaw use will go into effect on the Umatilla National and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, according to Brian Goff, fire staff officer for the Umatilla National Forest and Bret Ruby, fire staff officer on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Restrictions are being implemented due to increased fire danger, hot and dry weather conditions and concern for public safety.

“Phase A is the lowest level of restriction, generally implemented when the fire danger is moderate to high,” Goff said.

PURs are phased in collectively, as conditions warrant, and may differ from forest to forest.

Among the changes, campfires must be in fire pits in areas cleared of flammable vegetation; a 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. shut down of chainsaws, with a required one-hour watch after shutting down the chainsaw to watch for and suppress any fire starts; limits smoking to inside vehicles and buildings, developed recreation sites or cleared areas; prohibits off-road/off-trail travel; and prohibits use of exploding targets.

Also beginning Thursday, a regulated closure will be in effect on state and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry in Northeast and Central Oregon.  Specific information on ODF’s restrictions is available on the web at http://www.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.