Fire crews spent Monday afternoon and evening locating and fighting fires sparked by two days of thunderstorms and are expecting additional fires to emerge over the next few days.
Efforts by responding crews on the Malheur National Forest have kept the lightning caused fires to less than an acre in size, according to a Forest Service press release.
Crews will continue to staff and carry out suppression and mop-up efforts on existing fires and initial attack any new fires. Hots spots from lightning strikes can smolder for days before flaring up.
Reconnaissance flights were being conducted over the area Tuesday, watching for any new smokes or fires that may flare up as daytime heating sets in.
Continued hot and dry conditions forecast for this area will elevate fire danger, which is already high enough across the region that fire starts from light or moderate amounts of lightning or human sources will challenge initial attack resources.
The public’s awareness of the increasing fire danger and assistance is essential to a safe fire season. Recreationists, firewood cutters, hunters and other forest users can all help by closely adhering to restrictions, operating safely and cautiously and keeping up-to-date on the latest orders and regulations.
Seasonal restrictions are in effect annually from June 1 to Oct. 31 across the forest. Campfires are only allowed in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock or commercial rings clear of all flammable material at least three feet from the edge of the pit. Campers must have a shovel and gallon of water. Portable stoves are also regulated.
On the southern half of the forest, the Emigrant Creek Ranger District, Phase A public use restrictions are also in effect. Operating a chainsaw is prohibited except between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m., and a one-hour fire watch is required after operations cease. Operators must possess an ax, shovel and fire extinguisher.
Smoking is only allowed in enclosed vehicles or buildings or areas cleared of flammable material with at least 3 feet clearance. Operating a vehicle off-road, on a closed road or where vegetation comes into contact with the vehicle’s undercarriage is prohibited.
For more information, call 541-575-3000, or visit fs.usda.gov/malheur.