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The Oregon Department of Forestry has increased restrictions to prevent wildfire.

MADRAS PIONEER LOGO - ODF increases restrictions in Central Oregon District.Prompted by fuel conditions and weather trends, the Oregon Department of Forestry's Central Oregon District has increased restrictions for lands within their protection boundary.

The district implemented the second phase of its regulated closure July 20. The closure modifed the timeframe when some high-risk activities became prohibited. All other restrictions remain in effect. The restricted timeframe is now 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for mowing of dried grass, chainsaw use and cutting or grinding of metal.

Leadership within the district considered current fire activity in Oregon, limited resources due to the increased fire activity, and the risk of rapid fire spread in current fuel and weather conditions. Acting District Forester Rob Pentzer explained, "It just made sense to make changes to our restrictions that will limit potential ignitions."

Fewer ignitions reduce risk to firefighters and the public, limit damage to natural resources and limit financial impact to landowners and all Oregonians.

Activities below are restricted by the regulated closure. Additional restrictions and the full proclamation can be accessed at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

- Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling in a motorized vehicle, except on federal and state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2.5-pound or larger fire extinguisher, except all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles, which must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.

- Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.

- Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas.

- Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.

- Mowing dried grass with power-driven equipment is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., except for the commercial culture/harvest of agricultural crops.

- Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

- Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner upon their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood.

- The use of fireworks and blasting is prohibited.

The use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the district during fire season. Since Jan. 1, 2017, sky lanterns and other luminaries have been prohibited in Oregon.

In addition to the public-use restrictions the district has also implemented additional fire prevention requirements for industrial operations in the Prineville and John Day units. Regulated closure areas MH-1 and MH-4 in The Dalles Unit are currently in Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3.

More information on the restrictions and closures, as well as additional information on ODF's Central Oregon District, including contact information, is available at www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

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