Oregon Coast Range Forests Under Fire Watch, Restrictions
(Tillamook, Oregon) – The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has issued tighter restrictions on use of forests in the Oregon coast range and northwest Oregon because of serious fire dangers. The recent run of warm and dry weather has the ODF putting these restrictions in effect, starting tomorrow, July 19.
The "regulated-use closure" rules will place limits on a variety of activities that could ignite a wildfire, such as campfires, smoking and use of chainsaws. The Astoria, Tillamook and Forest Grove districts are encompassed by the stepped-up fire safety rules going into effect at 1 a.m. on Friday.
"Conditions in the forest have reached the point when we typically see fire starts," said Don Everingham, assistant to the Northwest Oregon Area director. "We haven't had a really significant event yet, but fuels are drying and the extended forecast is for hot, dry weather."
ODF said the following fire safety rules will cover all private and non-federal forest areas within those districts:
Smoking while in the forests is prohibited, including in your car – if it is open or not on fully paved roads. Smoking in closed vehicles on improved roads is allowed.
Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at some designated locations. The use of wood-burning devices, used in conjunction with temporary dwellings, including tents and trailers, is prohibited. Portable cooking stoves that use bottle fuels or liquefied fuels is allowed, however.
Motor vehicles of any kind on forest roads or trails is absolutely prohibited, such as motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles. Use of these on improved roads is allowed, or in some designated areas. The motor vehicle ban is waived in the following locations: Rogers, Jordan Creek and Trask basins; Diamond Mill and Nicolai Mountain OHV areas; and Nestucca Trail (near Pacific City) areas.
You are required to carry firefighting equipment while traveling through forest roads – although not on state highways, county roads and driveways. On these forest roads, you must carry one shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2-1/2-lb. or larger fire extinguisher.
The use of fireworks is prohibited, along with tracer ammunition, exploding targets and sky lanterns.
The use of chainsaws is not allowed, except by commercial companies (such as logging), between the hours of 1 p.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 shovel and one operational 8 oz. or larger fire extinguisher or suppressant. A chainsaw must have a spark-arresting screen with a maximum mesh size of .023 inches. A fire watch is required for one hour following the use of a saw.
ODF said these rules may change suddenly and on short notice, depending on fire dangers. For that reason, it is advisable to check with the local Oregon Department of Forestry office just prior to traveling to the forest. ODF offices and contact information can be found at: www.oregon.gov/odf/
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