Forest Service Increases Patrol After Surge in Human Caused Fires
BEND – Fire officials have seen an increase in human caused fires since implementing Public Use Restrictions on July 10. While the majority of the offenses have been abandoned or escaped campfires, a few of the fires are still under investigation.
To date, Central Oregon has seen 208 wildfires in the 2015 wildfire season and of that number, 119 have been human caused starts, which is an increase from the past few years. Due to this surge, Forest Service law enforcement officers will be increasing patrols on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland.
Public Use Restrictions are in place across Central Oregon. Campfires, warming fires and cooking fires, including charcoal fires, portable propane campfires, biomass or particle wood-burning stoves, and wood pellet grills or smokers, are prohibited on Forest Service and BLM lands except in established fire rings at designated campgrounds. For more information on these restrictions, including a list of designated campgrounds visit this website.
The Central Oregon public is reminded that we are still in EXTREME fire danger. Based on monitoring conducted by OSU-Cascades, Central Oregon fuel moistures in ceanothus and manzanita are currently 1-2 months ahead of their normal moisture levels and sagebrush, in some areas, is currently at its lowest level of moisture in 7 years of study.
In addition to Public Use Restrictions, the Prineville BLM, Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland are currently in Industrial Fire Precaution Level III (IFPL). The IFPL applies to permitted and industrial operations, including woodcutting, on federal lands.