The Oregon Department of Forestry declared fire season starting at 12 p.m. Friday, June 1, for the lands in the John Day and Prineville/Sisters Units. 

This includes Grant, Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Harney, Jefferson, Morrow, and Wheeler Counties.

What this means to the landowner/resident:

? Burning permits are required on all private and state forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry within Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Gilliam, Harney, Jefferson, Morrow, and Wheeler Counties.  The Oregon Department of Forestry will generally not issue permits within rural fire districts where burn bans are in effect.

? Fire tools, water supply and a watchman service are required on commercial forest operations occurring on private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.  Information on industrial fire prevention requirements may be obtained from your local Oregon Department of Forestry office.

 ? Fire officials urge landowners who burned any yard debris or slash last fall or this spring, to check those piles for residual heat.  Backyard and other debris burn piles can hold fire for weeks and even months; they may appear to be out however landowners should check the piles for heat. 

If a holdover fire escapes, the responsible party could be held liable for firefighting costs.  

They also remind residents that even if burning is allowed in their area, they must have a permit.

 ? Campfires on private forestlands are allowed with landowner permission only.

To-date the District has had 10 fires this season burning almost 140 acres.

 "The recent wind-driven Wilt Fire was a clear sign of what could be in store for us in the upcoming fire season," said Travis Medema, Central Oregon District Forester.  "While fire season holds many unknowns we vigilantly prepare through historical data and predicted weather analysis, we train personnel, inform the public of the conditions and what they can do to help prevent wildfires, as well as work closely with cooperators to ensure we are ready for fire season."

Restrictions do vary from private to public lands so residents should contact their local fire department or land management agency and find out what restrictions are in place before striking that match.


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