LA GRANDE:  Fire season begins, Monday

LA GRANDE: Fire season begins, Monday

Although parts of northeast Oregon still appear green and damp, fire activity has begun to pick up around the region. This increase in fire activity has prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to declare fire season across the Northeast Oregon District. “Normal summer weather is forecast for the foreseeable future. These conditions, paired with rising fire danger have driven us to declare fire season.” Joe Hessel, District Forester said.
FIRE SEASON will begin at 12:01 a.m., Monday, June 17 for forest and rangelands protected by ODF Northeast Oregon District. “It won’t take much dry and breezy weather to cure out our fine fuels. Declaring fire season enables us to help prevent human-caused fires, which can be problematic throughout the summer.” Said Hessel. The fire season declaration places fire prevention restrictions on landowners and the public. Additionally, fire prevention regulations on industrial logging and forest management activities are put into place. Lands affected include private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in Union, Baker, Wallowa, and Umatilla counties along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow, and Grant counties within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District. This area encompasses approximately 2 million protected acres.
Hessel states “Early in the fire season, it’s easy to underestimate what level the fire danger really is. We really want to encourage folks to make sure they are getting out regularly and checking any place where slash or debris piles were burned late last winter and this spring. Those areas can hold heat for a long time and cause fires to rekindle months later.” Significant wildfires have been caused by these holdover fires from burning that occurred prior to official fire season.
During Fire Season:
• Burn Permits for burn barrels and all open burning except campfires are required on all private forest and rangelands within the Northeast Forest Protection District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). Contact your local ODF office in La Grande, Baker City, Wallowa, or Pendleton to acquire a Burn Permit.
• Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF. Contact your local Stewardship Forester at any ODF office for more information.
• Campfires must be DEAD OUT! Recreationists are reminded that campfires need to be attended and fully extinguished before being left. Get permission from the landowner prior to starting a campfire.
For further information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at these local offices:
La Grande Unit (541) 963-3168 Baker City Sub-Unit (541) 523-5831 Wallowa Unit (541) 886-2881 Pendleton Unit (541) 276-3491
To report a fire, dial 9-1-1.
For information on the weekends call Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center La Grande (541) 963-7171
Make sure you know what the fire restrictions are before you head out. Check with your local Forest Service office for fire regulations on National Forest land, or BLM office for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Information on Public-Use Restrictions on the Oregon Department of Forestry, Umatilla National Forest and Wallowa Whitman National Forest can be found at http://bmidc.org/index.shtml under Current Information: Fire Restrictions.
http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/ is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains.