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ODF's Central Oregon District declares fire season due to dry fuel conditions and warmer weather forecasts.

Oregon Department of Forestry's Central Oregon District entered fire season on June 1. Fuel conditions and drier, warmer long-term weather forecasts prompted the declaration.

"Across the district, spring has brought limited rainfall and right now, we are seeing fuel conditions drier than they were at this time last year," said District Forester Mike Shaw. "Last week's rain was really localized, with very little soaking in due to how quickly it came down in many areas."

With the implementation of fire season, logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF.

In addition to fire season restrictions, Industrial Fire Precaution Level 1 will be in effect for lands protected by ODF in Hood River and Wasco counties. Details for fire season and IFPL requirements are available at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/pages/FirePrevention.aspx, or by contacting the Prineville stewardship forester at 541-447-5658, ext. 232, or Sisters stewardship forester at 541-549-2731, ext. 223, for more information.

Landowners and operators should check burn piles/areas which were burned earlier this spring or late last fall for any hold-over heat. Open debris burning, including burn barrels will no longer be allowed on ODF-protected lands in the Prineville and John Day units.

Burn barrels are allowed by permit in The Dalles Unit (Hood River and Wasco County lands), however open burning, such as yard debris, is prohibited.

Campfires are allowed, however, people are advised to never leave a fire unattended, clear the area around the campfire, including overhead, fully extinguish the fire using the drown, stir, drown method, and ensure the fire is dead out before leaving.

The use of tracer ammunition and exploding targets is prohibited during fire season. Sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited at all times in Oregon.

In 2017, there were 114 fires in the district burning nearly 2,500 acres, well less than the 10-year average of 11,600 acres. Seventy fires were human caused, up from the 10-year average of 68.

Following fire season restrictions and prevention tips can reduce fire ignitions, causing less damage to natural resources, including air, water, and soil.

For additional information on ODF's Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

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