Beginning Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at midnight, all lands administered by the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests and the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management will move to an Industrial Fire Precaution Level II (IFPL). This level restricts hours of operation for permitted commercial and industrial operations on public lands to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. and is known as a "partial hootowl." The restrictions at this level apply to the use of power saws (except at commercial loading sites), cable yarding, blasting, welding, and cutting of metal.
Fire precaution levels begin with Level I at the start of fire season and can increase to Level IV as the fire danger increases. Each fire precaution level requires adherence to the restrictions applied under all lower levels, in addition to the limits placed by the current level. Operators may apply for waivers from the responsible land management agency.
Industrial Fire Precaution Levels are based on current and expected fire conditions, and govern permitted commercial and industrial operations on public lands such as woodcutting, off-road travel, road maintenance, welding, and timber cutting operations including felling, cable yarding, and loading. It is the responsibility of the individual operating on public land to know the precaution level for the day and to take the correct fire precautions.
Fire conditions around Central Oregon have also prompted the Deschutes National Forest to increase the Fire Danger Rating level to HIGH. The Fire Danger Rating System lets recreational users and visitors to public lands know to increase their level of caution while in the forests or rangelands. Under HIGH conditions, smaller dead vegetation ignites easily and unattended campfires or debris fires are likely to escape. Any fire that starts could be difficult to control if not caught while small.
In response to the recent Two Bulls Wildfire, the Bend Fire Department also wants to remind residents and visitors to areas protected by the Bend Fire Dept. and Deschutes County Rural Fire Protection District #2 that personal responsibility and good decision-making needs to be at the front of their minds when doing any legal burning, such as having a campfire or a warming fire. With dry, windy weather predicted and many of our local fire resources tied up on the Two Bulls Fires, the potential for a disastrous escaped burn is very real. Early fire reporting is critical due to these facts. Bend Fire officials ask that citizens take all steps necessary to ensure BBQ's, fire pits and similar legal burning that is allowed within the City of Bend and DCRFPD#2 districts, are safe and completely extinguished when done. A copy of the current burning regulations needs to be on hand for warming fires and can be found at www.bendoregon/fire. Similar conditions are present throughout Central Oregon, so please check with your local fire agency for information related to areas outside the Bend area.
For more information about the Industrial Fire Precaution Level system, please visit the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon.