After the parched summer, the recent rainfall in central Oregon was heartily welcomed by local residents. But it wasn’t enough to end wildfire danger, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Tracy Wrolson.
“It was not a soaking rain,” he said. “It helped, but we can’t let ourselves be lulled into a false sense of security. It’s still dry out there and the risk of fire has not been abated.” Even with the shorter days and cooler nights, fires can still pick up and move.
For that reason, the department is keeping heightened fire safety rules – known as Regulated-Use Restrictions – in place for now.
Enacted June 21, the following rules remain in effect:
– Open fires prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
– Smoking prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.
– Chainsaw use prohibited between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, with firefighting equipment present.
– Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner on their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood.
– Mowing of dried grass with power-driven equipment prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
– Use of fireworks, exploding targets, tracer ammunition and sky lanterns prohibited.
Other agencies may have reduced or lifted their restrictions based on the lands they have jurisdictional responsibility for. This may lead to confusion for the general public. When in doubt, please call to find out what the restrictions are in the areas where you plan to be.
A complete list of the current fire safety restrictions in ODF’s Central Oregon District is available online: www.oregon.gov/odf/FIRE/Closures/RUCO0114.pdf, or by calling the local ODF office.
ODF-John Day Unit
ODF-The Dalles Unit