Observer staff

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lifted public use restrictions pertaining to recreational chainsaw use, smoking and motorized travel, according to a press release Wednesday from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Seasonal campfire restrictions will remain in place until Oct. 31, with the intent to allow recreational users to be able to enjoy campfires on public land in a responsible way, the release said. Although cooler temperatures and periodic precipitation lessen fire danger, conditions can change very quickly this time of year. A day or two of warmer weather, combined with wind can quickly increase fire danger.

Campfires are allowed only in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread, at a minimum clear of all flammable material within a radius of three feet from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. Shady spots away from dry logs, overhanging branches, bushes, and down needles or leaves are good. Existing fire pits should be used wherever possible.

Campfires must be attended at all times and completely extinguished prior to leaving. When leaving, be sure your fire is dead out. Drowning the campfire with water and stirring charred material to be sure no embers remain or roots or debris are smoldering is good technique.

Persons with campfires are required to have a tool that can serve as a shovel, and one gallon of water, in their possession, except in the following developed recreations sites where a campground host is present: Anthony Lakes Campground and Picnic Area, Fish Lake Campground and Union Creek Campground and Picnic Area.

Within designated wilderness areas — Eagle Cap Wilderness, Hells Canyon Wilderness, Monument Rock Wilderness and North Fork John Day Wilderness — users are encouraged to locate fires in areas where only minimal disturbance would be necessary to meet campfire requirements. For example, naturally cleared areas, previously used sites, and areas where vegetation is non-flammable.

Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled gas and wood-burning stoves equipped with a chimney that is a least 5 feet in length, with a spark-arresting screen consisting of a quarter inch mesh hardware cloth, are allowed.

Use of charcoal briquettes is permitted under the same restrictions as campfires.

General campfire safety precautions include having adults build and maintain campfires, keeping campfires small, using wood no bigger than the fire ring and keeping tents and other burnable materials away from the fire.

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