The Blue Mountain and Prairie City ranger districts on the Malheur National Forest implemented Phase A public use restrictions Aug. 3.

The Emigrant Creek Ranger District and the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman national forests have already implemented Phase A with an Industrial Fire Precaution Level II, according to press releases.

The restrictions regulate activities on the forest such as firewood cutting, logging, thinning and other commercial activities. At IFPL II internal combustion engines, such as chainsaws, may not be operated between 1-8 p.m.

Phase A is the second level of restrictions, generally implemented when the fire danger is moderate to high. Prohibited activities include:

1. Smoking, except within enclosed vehicles and buildings or areas cleared of flammable material with a minimum clearance of 3 feet.

2. Operating a chainsaw outside the hours of 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. local time. A one-hour fire watch is required after saw operations cease. Saw operators are required to have an ax (minimum 2-pound head, 26-inch length), shovel (8-inch wide, 26-inch length) and fire extinguisher (minimum ABC 8 ounces) in their possession.

3. Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order in accordance with U.S Forest Service Standard 5100-1.

4. Possessing or using a vehicle off National Forest System road where access has been impeded or blocked by earthen berm, logs, boulders, barrier, barricade or gate.

a. Except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.

Campfires should be in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock or commercial rings, and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread. Campfires should have a minimum clearance of a 3 feet from the edge of the fire pit. Please use existing pits wherever possible. Campfires must be attended at all times, and completely extinguished prior to leaving.

Persons with campfires should have a tool such as a shovel and 1 gallon of water in their possession. The shovel and water can be used to extinguish the fire before leaving your campsite. Use the “drown, stir, feel” method to ensure your campfire is completely extinguished before leaving.

Campfires in designated wilderness areas should be located so minimal disturbance is necessary to prevent fire spread. Naturally cleared areas, previously used sites and areas where vegetation is non-flammable (green grass) are examples. Use of a folding shovel when backpacking will aid in completely extinguishing a campfire.

Check with local Bureau of Land Management and Oregon Department of Forestry offices for any public use restrictions in effect on lands protected by them.

For more information about Industrial Fire Precaution Levels and Malheur National Forest public use restrictions and a list of developed recreation sites, call 541-575-3000 or visit fs.usda.gov/malheur.

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