The Oregon Dept. of Forestry News Release – Sept. 29, 2015
Weary and wary…Residents in the John Day Valley have been living with fire for more than a month; smoke, loss, and fear have all affected the community, making “normal” seem unachievable. Fall rains will eventually extinguish the interior fire within the Canyon Creek Complex Fire, but in the meantime some residents within the fire perimeter are working with the local Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Unit in John Day to remove hazards and clean-up fire damaged vegetation. This is the first step for these landowners to move toward their new “normal.” Fire may be used to burn debris piles from these activities. Smoke and flames may be visible from these fires, however the public should not be concerned as piles are well within the black perimeter and have no chance for escape. ODF personnel is working closely with landowners to ensure there is no risk of fire growth.
ODF’s Central Oregon District remains in fire season with a regulated closure in effect. Open fires, including debris burns, warming and campfires are allowed by permit only. Permits will only be issued inside the Canyon Creek Complex Fire perimeter until there is widespread moisture in the area, and regulated closure is terminated. The John Day Unit is issuing these permits to homeowners as they prepare to rebuild. Removing fuels near new building sites will provide for defensible space in future years and allow residents to return home sooner. For more information about the burn permits please contact ODF’s John Day Office at (541-575-1139).
Fall conditions can provide the perfect opportunity for prescribed burns to remove fuels and unwanted vegetation. Fuels remain dry enough to carry a lower intensity fire with limited risk of fire spreading outside pre-constructed containment lines. Several prescribed fires are planned this fall to eradicate juniper on the landscape. Smoke from these prescribed burns will also be visible.
The public is asked to report any fires to the John Day Interagency Dispatch Center (541-575-1321), or 911. Reports will be verified to determine whether permits have been issued, and that landowners are following all permit requirements. The John Day Unit continues to staff fire engines and air resources to suppress fires. Fire managers monitor fuel conditions and weather forecasts to determine fire danger and determine necessary restrictions to limit risk of human caused fires.
Additional information and guidance for fire restrictions is available on ODF’s Central Oregon District website: www.oregon.gov/odf/centraloregon.