This is a press release courtesy of the Public Affairs office of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Due to extreme fire conditions, a complete campfire ban is being imposed on the following state and federal lands in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington:
- Malheur National Forest
- Umatilla National Forest
- Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in the Burns BLM District
- Oregon State Parks (in the Northeast Oregon ODF Protection Area)
The three National Forests, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State Parks, and the Burn’s District BLM are working together to implement this campfire ban beginning Thursday, August 16, at 12:01 a.m.
Near record fire danger indices are currently being recorded and the addition of a complete campfire ban to present public-use restrictions is due to the increased fire danger. Public-use restrictions on campfires, smoking, travel and chainsaw use have been in effect since early July. These restrictions now include prohibiting campfires at all campgrounds.
Due to higher elevations, resulting in less risk of wildfire, two exceptions to the campfire ban are:
- The Eagle Cap Wilderness on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest – campfires are allowed, with the exception of standard campfire restrictions around specific lakes within the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Please check the Wallowa-Whitman N.F. website for more information.
- Jubilee Lake Campground on the Umatilla National Forest - campfires will be allowed in designated fire pits at Jubilee Campground. This campground is operated by a concessionaire who will provide 24-hour monitoring to prevent unattended campfires.
Public use fire restrictions within the Snake River corridor of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area remain consistent with information printed on river permits.
Current restrictions prohibit the building and tending of open campfires, including charcoal briquettes, cooking fires and warming fires until further notice. Permissible sources of heat include pressurized gas stoves and space-heating devices.
Smoking is only allowed within enclosed vehicles, buildings, developed recreation sites or when stopped in an area cleared of all flammable material. Operating an internal combustion engine, such as a chainsaw, is also prohibited. Firewood cutting is not allowed. This restriction applies to internal combustion engines other than a motor vehicle.
Electrical generators will be only allowed in the center of an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is barren or 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 barren or cleared of all flammable material.
Travel restrictions prohibit motor vehicles traveling off of developed 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.
All forest users should carry an axe, shovel and an 8 oz. or more capacity fire extinguisher when visiting the Forest.
A regulated use closure on private land in northeast Oregon protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has been in effect since July 10, 2007, which includes prohibiting open fires and campfires. All Oregon State Parks within the Northeast Oregon District protection boundary of ODF have implemented a campfire ban within their campgrounds. Similar restrictions are in effect on lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Even though eliminating campfires can be seen as an inconvenience, it is a necessary prevention measure to minimize human-caused fires. Public awareness of the fire danger and cooperation are essential to a safe fire season.
If unsure of which restrictions apply, please contact any Malheur, Umatilla or Wallowa-Whitman National Forest office.
Specific regulations are available online at:
- Malheur National Forest: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/malheur/
- Umatilla National Forest: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/uma/
- Wallowa-Whitman National Forest: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/w-w/
- Oregon Department of Forestry: http://www.odf.state.or.us/areas/eastern/northeast/default.asp
- Burns District - BLM: http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/burns/index.php