LA GRANDE — Warming temperatures and changing fuel conditions are prompting the Oregon Department of Forestry to begin fire season on private forest lands in Northeast Oregon.
Fire season will be at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 1, for forest and range lands protected by ODF Northeast Oregon District, according to an announcement from the department.
“We’ve seen a little reprieve this spring and early summer. Fire season has been announced in June for the past few years, so it’s been good to have some delay this year,” Matt Howard, an ODF district forester, said.
The fire season declaration places fire prevention restrictions on landowners and the public. Additionally, fire prevention regulations on industrial logging and forest management activities are put into place. Lands affected include private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands in Union, Baker, Wallowa and Umatilla counties along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow and Grant counties within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District. This area encompasses approximately 2 million acres of protected lands.
“Those spring storms have provided some much-needed moisture. However, this moisture has caused a lot of growth in our fine fuels, such as grasses, small brush and shrubs,” Howard said. “These are often our carrier fuels and are more susceptible to quickly drying and becoming ready-to-burn faster.”
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