ODF Urges Caution With Hot Dry Weather

[Prineville, Ore.]  Hot, dry conditions persist across Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District, presenting extreme fire risk in wildland fuels.  Numerous fire starts across the area and the fire behavior associated with these fires concerns managers as we head toward the holiday weekend.  There are many options for celebrating with friends and family while following fire prevention measures.  Please recreate responsibly and be mindful of activities which may create a fire ignition source.

Regulated-Use Closure is in effect for lands protected by the Central Oregon District.  Activities on private, state, and municipally owned lands within the protection district boundary must adhere to the restrictions.  The Regulated-Use Closure prohibits fireworks and campfires (except in designated areas) within the district boundary; tracer ammunition and exploding targets are prohibited during fire season. Additional restrictions can be found at www.odfcentraloregon.com.  

Numerous cities and counties within Central Oregon and the Columbia Gorge have implemented restrictions intended to reduce wildfires.  Many of these restrictions include bans on fireworks and campfires.  Verify prevention measures with local fire department or ODF office prior to planning your activities. 

“Fuels are extremely receptive to ignitions, even from small embers, and when combined with wind and low humidity fires are really growing quickly,” says Rob Pentzer, Assistant District Forester for the Central Oregon District.  “We need to do whatever we can to keep fire off the landscape.  We’ve been pretty successful so far catching fires small but every day the fires are pushing our firefighters harder and they are getting harder to catch, requiring more resources to stop them where they threaten homes and communities.”

While wildland fuels may be burning like we would typically see in August, it is still early in a fire season which may last well into September.  In 2021 fire fighters within the Central Oregon District have responded to 39 human caused fires on ODF protected lands, 13 more than the ten-year average.  Eleven lightning fires have been suppressed this year, with the ten-year average being nine.  In addition to responses on ODF protection they have provided mutual aid and support to partner agencies such as the BLM, US Forest Service, and rural fire departments.    

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.