Public Use Restrictions Proposed to Help Prevent Summer Wildfires


Central Oregon had a low level 65 percent snow pack this past winter, and as a result, the threat of wild land fires is both early-and possibly severe-for the 2014 fire season. The recent Two Bulls Fire, which resulted in significant evacuations, evacuation notices, a FEMA declaration (which was the earliest declaration in Oregon history), and extreme fire behavior, is compelling evidence that this may be an extraordinary fire season.

On Wednesday, June 25 at 10am the Board of County Commissioners will consider a resolution to impose public use restrictions and declaring a state of emergency, under the current dangerous wild land fire conditions. If imposed, the restrictions would help prevent human-caused summer wildfires on all unprotected lands, and Deschutes County-owned lands. If imposed, the restrictions could be in place immediately and through mid-October. 

Unprotected lands are defined as lands outside of Rural Fire Protection Districts, and outside of lands covered by the Oregon Department of Forestry (please see the attached map). An interactive map that land owners can look at their own property will soon be available at

The resolution being considered Wednesday includes the following public use restrictions:

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

2. Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas.  Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed. 

3. Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 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 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.

4. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.  At all other times the area is to be cleared of flammable vegetation and the following fire equipment is required: one axe, one shovel, and one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher in good working order.  

5. 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. 

6. 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 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher, except all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles which must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.

7. Mowing of dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

8. Use of fireworks is prohibited.

9. The release of sky lanterns is prohibited.

10. The discharging of exploding targets or tracer ammunition is prohibited.

11. Blasting is prohibited.

12. Any electric fence controller in use shall be: a) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and b) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Members of the public or cooperating agencies wanting to know more about the proposed resolution may attend the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners Business Meeting taking place Wednesday, June 25 at 10:00 a.m., Deschutes Services Center-1300 NW Wall St., first floor in the Hearing Room.

Information and maps of regulated closures for the Oregon Department of Forestry can be found at the following website: 


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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