Following a warm and dry spring, drought is emerging and expanding across much of the west, and Central Oregon is expecting warmer and drier than average conditions this summer. At the same time, as many facilities and areas are closed or allowing a limited number of visitors due to COVID-19 response measures, a higher-than-normal number of people are using public lands for recreation. To reduce the number of preventable wildfires, the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes National Forest and the Ochoco National Forest, and the Crooked River National Grassland, are implementing public use restrictions.
Effective 12:01am Friday, June 26, open fires, including wood stoves and charcoal briquette fires, will be prohibited, except in the following designated campgrounds:
Crescent Ranger District: Contorta Flat, Contorta Point, Crescent Lake Resort and Campground, Odell Lake Resort and Campground, Princess Creek, Shelter Cove Resort and Campground, Simax Group Site, Spring, Sunset Cove, Trapper Creek, Whitefish Horse Camp and Windy Group Site.
Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District: Big River, Big River Group Camp, Bull Bend, Chief Paulina Horse Camp, Cinder Hill, Crane Prairie, Cultus Lake, East Lake, Elk Lake, Fall River, Fall River Guard Station, Gull Point, Lava Lake, Little Crater, Little Cultus Lake, Little Fawn, Little Fawn Group, Little Lava Lake, McKay Crossing, Mallard Marsh, McKay, Newberry Group Camp, North Twin, Ogden Group Camp, Paulina Lake, Prairie, Point, Quinn Meadow Horse Camp, Quinn River, Rock Creek, Sheep Bridge, South, South Twin, West South Twin and Wyeth
Sisters Ranger District: Allen Springs, Allingham, Blue Bay, Camp Sherman, Candle Creek, Cold Spring, Driftwood, Gorge, Graham Corral, Indian Ford, Jack Creek, Lava Camp Lake, Link Creek, Lower Bridge, Lower Canyon Creek, Perry South, Pine Rest, Pioneer Ford, Riverside, Scout Lake, Sheep Spring, Smiling River, South Shore, Three Creek Lake, Three Creek Meadow, Three Creek Horse Camp and Whispering Pines.
Paulina Ranger District: Deep Creek, Sugar Creek and Wolf Creek.
Lookout Mtn. Ranger District: Antelope Flat Reservoir, Ochoco Divide, Ochoco Forest, Walton Lake and Wildcat.
Crooked River National Grassland: Skull Hollow and Haystack Reservoir.
Prineville BLM: Campgrounds on the Lower Crooked River – Big Bend, Castle Rock, Chimney Rock, Cobble Rock, Lone Pine, Palisades, Poison Butte and Post Pile.
These restrictions do not apply to wildernesses on the Deschutes National Forest; however, these restrictions do apply to wildernesses and wilderness areas on the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville BLM.
Additionally, under the public use restrictions, smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material. Traveling off developed forest roads and trails also is not allowed, except for the purpose of going to and from a campsite located within 300 feet of the open developed road.
Public use restrictions protect the land, resources and visitors. Every year lightning-caused fires place a heavy demand on our firefighting resources and puts our forests, firefighters and communities at risk. Fires caused through carelessness or negligence create unnecessary risk. This year, every preventable fire also could increase our firefighter’s exposure to the COVID-19 virus, which could impact our firefighting resources unnecessarily.
Officials also want to remind the public that using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, explosives and fireworks is prohibited on all federal lands.
For current wildland fire information, the public can visit centraloregonfire.org or follow fire information on Twitter @CentralORfire.