Beginning Friday, the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman national forests will move into Phase C public use restrictions amid extreme wildfire danger.
The restrictions mean all campfires and internal combustion engines — including chainsaws — are prohibited within the forests. Off-road and off-trail vehicle travel is not allowed, and smoking is permitted only in enclosed vehicles, developed recreation sites or in cleared areas.
Liquid and bottle gas stoves are still allowed, as are electrical generators. Generators, however, are allowed only if:
• Fully contained within a pickup truck bed that is empty of flammable material.
• Placed at the center of an area cleared of all flammable material within a 10-foot diameter.
• When factory installed in a recreational vehicle, and the exhaust is discharged at the center of an area cleared of all flammable material within a 10-foot diameter.
Similar restrictions are also in place on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. Landowners in the Northeast Oregon District are also prohibited from grinding, cutting or welding metal or mowing dried grass with power-drive equipment.
As of Tuesday, firefighters on the Umatilla National Forest continue to strengthen containment lines and mop up hot spots on the 167-acre Tupper Corral fire, located 20 miles southeast of Heppner. The blaze, which was reported Tuesday near the Tupper Guard Station, is now 40 percent contained. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Doug Baxter, fire management officer on the Heppner Ranger District, said interagency cooperation was key in catching the fire before it could get out of control.
“The additional firefighting resources provided by our partners at the Oregon Department of Forestry successfully assisted the district with catching this fire,” Baxter said.
On the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, crews are making progress on the Bear Butte fire along the road that leads to Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort near Haines. The fire is holding steady at 492 acres and is now 45 percent contained. Anthony Lakes Highway remains closed, and the resort is still under evacuation.
For the latest information on fires and restrictions in Northeast Oregon, call the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center at 541-963-7171 or visit www.bmidc.org.