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John Day River

An online launch permit is required year-round and available here to boat all sections of the Mainstem downstream of Spray. Permits to boat upstream of Spray are encouraged and available here and at launch points. Launch permits will be unlimited in 2017. Permits for trips launching through April 30 will be available January 1. Permits for trips launching May 1 or later will be available March 1.

When Wildfire Strikes

Safety Tips: Wildfire Along the Rivers

Some of the qualities that make for good rafting, create potential hazards when boaters encounter a wildfire. Steep canyons make cell phones unusable, and limited access makes it difficult to let rafters know a wildfire has started in the area. The following tips can help improve your safety and enjoyment of your trip.

Always check with local agencies to find out what fire restrictions are in place. Remember:

A few seconds of carelessness can ruin a fun day on the river.

To Report a Wildfire: call 9-1-1
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What to do:

  • If you see a wildfire start while you’re floating the river, call 9-1-1 as soon as you get to an area with cell phone coverage. Do not attempt to fight the fire yourself.
  • If you float through a wildfire, follow all directions of emergency personnel.
  • If necessary, river rangers may shut down the river to recreation traffic. If this happens, observe firefighter operations from a distance. Stay away from helicopters dipping buckets or other overhead flights.
  • Watch out for other boats and rafts that may be watching the fire and not you. If you have to stop, pull out on the opposite side of the river from a fire.
  • If possible, avoid walking through a burned area – even if the fire is out. There may still be rolling rocks and holes full of hot ashes left by burned stumps.

Plan Ahead! For Current Fire Restrictions Call:

  • Prineville BLM: 541-416-6700
  • Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center: 541-416-6800

You are our eyes on the river. Do you have information on a human-caused fire? Please contact a Law Enforcement Officer at the BLM!

Download a copy of Safety Tips: Wildfire Along the Rivers in PDF format.