For Immediate Release July 28, 2021 Media Contacts:
David N. Duncan
Public Use Restrictions and Fire Precaution Level increase Thursday in South Central Oregon
LAKEVIEW, Ore. – Public Use Restrictions (PURs) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) are increasing this Thursday, July 29 on public lands in South Central Oregon as a result of ongoing hot, dry conditions this summer.
Several agencies are increasing PURs, including banning all open fires, campfires and charcoal use, restricting smoking to enclosed vehicles only, and prohibiting motor vehicle use except on designated roads and trails.
The public is responsible for ensuring that they have reviewed and are aware of the restrictions in place for the landscape they plan to recreate or work on. For all agencies, violation of these prohibitions could result in citations, fines, and even imprisonment, depending on the agency and order.
For more information on the ODF Public Regulated Use Closure, please visit https://www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/pages/restrictions.aspx. For more information on the federal agency Public Use Restrictions and Fire Prevention Orders, please visit https://scofmp.org/restrictions.shtml.
Additionally, the IFPL is being raised to a Level IV – General Shutdown on federal lands. Under IFPL IV all operations are prohibited unless specifically permitted. There will be public notification when conditions allow for the IFPL to be lowered.
Fire Danger has been at the highest level – “Extreme” – since June 30 for all federal, state, county and private lands in Klamath and Lake counties protected by the agencies of the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP).
Conditions have continued to deteriorate with hot, dry and windy conditions this summer. Things are not expected to improve as summer continues, despite brief periods of cooler weather and even some precipitation providing some relief in recent days.
“Human-caused wildfires are entirely preventable,” said Interagency Fire Management Officer Jeb Koons. “We met the conditions for us to move into IFPL IV this week, which will reduce the risk of a wildfire start from industrial operations, including timber, on area public lands. These conditions also indicate that it is time to increase PURs to prevent wildfires from recreation and other wildland use.”
To help prevent wildfires, it’s advised to do the following:
· Carry firefighting equipment in vehicles, including a shovel, at least one gallon of water or one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher. · Call 911 to report suspected wildfires immediately. South Central Oregon has already seen an active and unprecedented fire season, with wildfires starting as early as late March and the Bootleg Fire, the third largest fire in Oregon history, currently burning in Klamath and Lake counties.
“The wildland firefighters from the SCOFMP agencies have been remarkable during one of the earliest and most active fire seasons in the area, fighting fire in unprecedented conditions with skill, determination, commitment, cooperation and resiliency,” said Fremont-Winema National Forest Supervisor Barry Imler. “Our agencies and the communities we serve are all grateful for the efforts of our firefighters, whether they are engaged with the Bootleg Fire, responding on initial attack or at the ready as part of preparedness.” The Bootleg Fire has also brought firefighters from outside South Central Oregon to help with wildfire suppression. “We are also thankful for the wildland firefighting resources from throughout Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and the country who have traveled here and are working on the Bootleg Fire, providing additional capacity and support, even with initial attack near the Bootleg Fire,” Imler said.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect Thursday from 2 to 11 p.m. over a large part of the SCOFMP area for abundant lightning on dry fuels.
“SCOFMP wildland firefighting resources are prepared to respond to the incoming weather and possible natural fire starts over the coming days,” said Andrew Taylor, Fire Management Officer for the Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex. “The public’s cooperation in preventing wildfires allows us to quickly address lightning starts, which under the current fuel conditions can grow rapidly.”
Fire managers are asking for area residents and visitors to remain vigilant and continue to help prevent new wildfire starts by following the latest restrictions.
“We have truly appreciated the public helping prevent wildfires over the past few months,” said Randall Baley, Protection Unit Forester for Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). “Fire season isn’t over yet and it is essential that we all work together to minimize the risk of human-caused wildfires to protect our communities and the wildlands we all enjoy.”
The Fire Danger includes all private, county and state wildlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Klamath-Lake District. It also applies to the Fremont-Winema National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District, Crater Lake National Park and the Sheldon-Hart Mountain and Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complexes.
South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership provides comprehensive wildland fire services to more than eight million acres of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management Lakeview District; Fremont-Winema National Forest; Oregon Department of Forestry Klamath-Lake District; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex; and Crater Lake National Park. The area encompasses federal, state, and private lands within south central Oregon and northwest Nevada.