Vale Bureau of Land Management expanding fire restrictions effective July 1
VALE, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management’s Vale District Office announced today additional fire restrictions will take effect Thursday, July 1.
“It is uncommonly drier than normal in Eastern Oregon, which is why we are entering into fire restrictions earlier than we have the last few years,” Vale District Fire Management Officer Tracy Skerjanec said. “Rising temperatures combined with minimal precipitation throughout June have now cured the annual grasses and other fine fuels that carry fire quickly.”
Large wildfires are already starting in the Pacific Northwest, where wildfire season normally occurs in late summer. Vale joins the Oregon Department of Forestry and the USDA Forest Service in issuing restrictions intended to protect public and private lands and communities in eastern Oregon.
“We need the public’s help in preventing the next human-caused fire,” Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist Al Crouch said. “We urge everyone to implement fire safe practices immediately, especially during the current heat wave.”
Copies of the restrictions are available to the public at Vale District offices and posted at campgrounds, developed recreation sites and kiosks throughout the district. The restrictions will apply to all public lands, campgrounds and recreation sites administered by the Vale District Bureau of Land Management, including the Malheur Resource Area, Baker City Resource Area, the 500-acre National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center site, and Bureau of Reclamation lands within Vale District boundaries, which includes the Owyhee Dam area.
Members of the public should be aware all cross-country travel is prohibited until the order is lifted. Operating or parking motor vehicles or combustion engines is restricted to areas clear of all vegetation.
“We still want people to enjoy their public lands, but we have to balance that with reasonable restrictions to prevent wildfires,” Crouch said. “The largest culprit for human-caused fires on lands managed by Vale BLM is equipment. Statistically, fires caused by motorized vehicles and trailers are second only to lightning starts.”
Equipment refers to many things besides cars and trucks, including, ATVs and side-by-sides, industrial and commercial vehicles and equipment, recreational vehicles, power lines and other electrical mechanisms, chainsaws and mowers, generators, welders, and more.
Although the use of wood fueled campfires, smokers, woodstoves, portable braziers and charcoal briquettes are prohibited, campers and other visitors can use liquefied and bottle-gas stoves and heaters, provided they are used within an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable materials.
Smoking outdoors is only permitted within areas barren of all flammable materials for at least a 6-foot diameter, aboard boats on rivers and lakes, or inside a motor vehicle.
Prohibitions against the use of fireworks, tracer and incendiary ammunition, and exploding or metal targets on public lands have been in place across the Oregon/Washington BLM region since May 12.
Any and all wildfire starts should be reported by calling 911.
For more information about current fire restrictions within Vale District BLM-protected lands, go to www.blm.gov/office/vale-district-office; for all Eastern Oregon agencies, go to http://bmidc.org; or contact the Vale District Office at 541-473-3144.
For more information about Bureau of Land Management Oregon/Washington seasonal fire restrictions and fire closures, visit https://www.blm.gov/orwafire
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.