As of Aug. 7, the Oregon Department of Forestry is increasing fire prevention measures for public use of equipment and raising the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) to a Level 3 in an attempt to reduce human-caused wildfires.
This means that motorized use on county trails and un-rocked roads is prohibited as of Aug. 7.
The restrictions affect Hood River County lands all lands protected by the Central Oregon Forest Protection District, and all forestland within one-eighth mile. In addition to Hood River County, Wasco, Gilliam, Wheeler, Grant, Umatilla, Harney, Lake, Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook and Morrow counties are also affected.
The increased restrictions are being implemented based on current fuel conditions and potential of rapid fire spread, weather forecasts of high temperatures and the possibility of lightning, and increased fire suppression activity locally and statewide, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Below are the full descriptions of these restrictions, effective Aug. 7, as defined by ODF.
Failure to comply with these restrictions could result in a citation, fine, and/or liability for fire suppression costs.
Under the State of Oregon regulated fire closure for Central Oregon Forest Protection District, it is unlawful to be in violation of the following restrictions:
Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.
- Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed. Open fires are allowed if conducted in compliance with a valid Burning Permit issued pursuant to ORS 477.515.
- Chainsaw use is prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: One axe, one shovel, and one operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
- Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. At all other times the area is to be cleared of flammable vegetation and the following fire equipment is required: One axe, one shovel, and one operational two-and-a-half pound or larger fire extinguisher in good working order.
- Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner upon their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood.
- Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling in a motorized vehicle, except on federal and state highways, county roads and driveways: One shovel and one gallon of water or one operational two-and-a-half-pound or larger fire extinguisher. All-terrain vehicles and motorcycles need only be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.
- Mowing of dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
- Use of fireworks is prohibited.
- Blasting is prohibited.
- Any electric fence controller in use should be listed with a nationally-recognized testing laboratory or certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services and operated in compliance with manufacturer instructions.
Aside from these restrictions, backyard debris burning and the use of exploding targets or tracer ammunition are also prohibited throughout fire season. As of Jan. 1, 2017, sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.
Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3
At Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3, otherwise known as the “restricted shutdown” level, industrial operations on all lands protected by the Central Oregon Forest Protection District, and all forestland within one-eighth mile, are subject to the following restrictions:
- Cable yarding is prohibited; but gravity operated logging systems employing non-motorized carriages or approved motorized carriages — defined by ODF as a cable yarding system employing a motorized carriage with two fire extinguishers, each with at least a 2A:10BC rating, mounted securely on opposite sides of the carriage, an emergency motor cutoff, and an approved exhaust system — may operate between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m., when all blocks and moving lines, except the line between the carriage and the chokers and during rigging, are suspended 10 feet above the ground.
- Ground-based operations — defined by ODF as mobile and stationary equipment operations other than cable yarding systems — as well as power saws on ground-based operations, rotary head saw feller-bunchers with a continuous Firewatch, non-rotary head saw feller-bunchers and tethered logging systems are permitted to operate between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. where mechanized equipment capable of constructing fire line is immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start.
- Power saws at loading sites, loading or hauling of any product or material, blasting, welding, cutting, or grinding of metal, as well as any other spark emitting operation not specifically mentioned, are permitted to operate between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.