Oregon News

Willamette National Forest implements forest-wide open fire restrictions including in wilderness areas

Open fire restrictions are in effect on the Willamette National Forest as of Friday, July 2, at 12:01 a.m. This spring was significantly drier than normal with long-term drought persisting across much of the western Cascades. The recent heatwave has accelerated the drying of fuels across the forest.

The critically dry conditions are receptive to new ignitions and are conducive to rapid fire spread. The predicted weather forecast calls for continued warm and dry conditions with no precipitation expected in the foreseeable future. This creates an elevated risk of fire throughout the summer months.

forest service,wildfire risk map
U.S. Forest Service

“Visitor use on public lands has drastically increased which may also increase the potential of preventable human-caused fires,” said Fire Staff Officer Ed Hiatt. “We have taken this step to help reduce wildland fires. We are asking the public to adhere to these restrictions and encourage others to do the same while enjoying the outdoors.”

From 2020-2021, outdoor recreation visits have increased nearly 200 percent with many being first-time visitors to public lands.  To help meet this surge, we have been increasing our fire prevention messaging and developing more streamlined and standard fire restriction approaches across the Northwest Interagency Fire Management Organization to help folks recreate responsibly.

All campfires, charcoal or briquette fires, pellet fires, or any other open fires will be prohibited outside of designated campgrounds under a Forest Order. Restrictions will also go into effect for chainsaws in campgrounds off-highway vehicles and smoking. Portable cooking stoves and lanterns using liquefied or bottled fuel are still allowed as they can be instantly switched off.

Smoking is not allowed except within an enclosed vehicle or building or a developed recreation site. Additionally, welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame is also not allowed. Generators are permitted only in areas devoid of vegetation such as a paved area or developed campsite. Motorized vehicles may operate only on designated trails and roads.

Please be aware of current restrictions before you head out, and share current information with others who may be unaware of the restrictions. Additionally, fireworks are not allowed on national forests.  Visit the Forest Service website at www.fs.usda.gov/willamette and follow the agency on Facebook and Twitter @WillametteNF for current fire information.

 

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