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Thursday, August 18, 2016

8/18/16 Public Use Restrictions Increase on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests

News Contact:  Joani Bosworth (541) 278-3722                                                  August 18, 2016
                             Katy Gray (541) 523-1246

PUBLIC USE RESTRICTIONS INCREASE
Chainsaw use prohibited and campfires allowed only in designated recreation sites.
Pendleton and Baker City, Oregon - Forest officials will implement Phase B public use restrictions at 12:01 AM on Friday, August 19, 2016 on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests due to high fire danger, the potential for human caused fires, and concern for public safety.   The increased restrictions pertain to the use of campfires, smoking, chainsaws, internal combustion engines, and generators.

“We all enjoy and appreciate our forests and we need to minimize the chance of an accidental human-caused fire, said Brian Goff, Fire Staff Officer on the Umatilla National Forest.  “It’s mid-August and there’s still several weeks of fire season ahead of us.  We all need to be aware of these conditions, be cautious when recreating in the forest, and think about fire prevention,” said Goff.

Beginning Friday, campfires will ONLY be allowed in designated campgrounds and recreation sites. Liquefied or bottled gas stoves and heaters are allowed for cooking and heating.  A list of designated recreation sites is available on the forest’s websites. 

Operating an internal combustion engine, such as a chainsaw, is prohibited. The public is reminded that personal-use firewood cutting is governed under current Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) restrictions.   Current IFPL Levels are posted on the Blue Mountain Interagency website at http://bmidc.org/ifpls.shtml.

Generators will only be allowed in the center of an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable material, or; when fully contained within a pickup truck bed that is devoid of all flammable material, or; when factory installed in a recreational vehicle and the generator exhaust discharge is located in the center of an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable material.

Smoking is only allowed within enclosed vehicles, buildings, and developed recreation sites or when stopped in an area cleared of all flammable material.

As a reminder, travel restrictions prohibit motor vehicles traveling off of designated Forest roads and trails, except for the purposes of going to or from campsites located within 300 feet of an open road. Motorized travel on segments of road where access is blocked by gate, barricade, log, boulder or earthen berm is also prohibited.  Vehicles must still abide by all laws and regulations pertaining to the area of travel.

Regulated closures are in effect on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in northeast and central Oregon.  Please check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry office for public use restrictions on lands protected by ODF.  Visit the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at: www.bmidc.org or contact a local Oregon Department of Forestry office for more complete information.  Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR).  More information can be found on the WA-DNR website at: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/
For more information and a list of designated recreation areas and campsites where campfires are permitted during Phase B Public Use Restrictions, please contact:

Umatilla NF: 541-278-3716
Umatilla NF Information Hotline at 1-877-958-9663

Wallowa-Whitman NF: 541-523-6391 or Forest Information Hotlines
·        Baker City 541-523-1234
·        La Grande 541-962-8679
·        Joseph 541-426-5552

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