Fire Marshal orders partial logging ban

Higher fire precaution levels today have sparked a partial shutdown of harvest activities on both private and public lands in Hood River County.

The Oregon Department of Forestry raised the industrial fire precaution levels at midnight Monday because of hot summer weather that has brought greater fire danger. According to ODF officials, the current preventive measures will stay in place until fall rains have sufficiently dampened the forest fuel load. If fire danger increases they could also escalate into a total ban on logging practices.

Under the partial shutdown, the following operations are allowed between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.:

* Cable yarding — only gravity operated logging systems employing non-motorized carriages. All blocks and moving lines must be suspended 10 feet above the ground except the line between the carriage and the chokers.

* Power saws — This equipment may only be used at loading sites and on tractor/skidder operations.

In addition, the following equipment is allowed to be used during the same hours:

* Tractor, skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fireline are immediately available to extinguish any sparks that ignite.

* Mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material; blasting.

* Welding or cutting of metal.

* Any other spark emitting operation not specifically mentioned.

For more information about the partial ban on industrial activities, call The Dalles office of the ODF at (541) 296-4626.

For other properties within the county, open burning is allowed only between 6-11 a.m. with a valid permit issued by the fire department overseeing that area.

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