Campfire restrictions start Thursday on BLM rivers in Central Oregon


Annual campfire restrictions will begin Thursday, June 1, on portions of the Crooked, Deschutes, John Day and White Rivers, the Bureau of Land Management announced Tuesday. The restrictions also affect BLM-administered lands along Lake Billy Chinook and Lake Simtustus.  

Here are more details from BLM about what is and isn’t allowed, and the specific campfire closure areas:

The river canyons present a combination of limited access, grassy fuels that dry out quickly and steep slopes that allow wildfires to spread rapidly. The number one goal of the BLM is promoting employee and public safety. Reducing the risk of wildfire helps BLM be a good neighbor in the river canyons, while facilitating commercial recreation and multiple-use opportunities.  

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Under these restrictions, commercially manufactured lanterns and metal camp stoves used for cooking are allowed, when fueled with bottled propane or liquid fuel and operated in a responsible manner. The river fire closures prohibit building, igniting, maintaining, attending, using, tending or being within 20 feet of a campfire, charcoal fire or any other type of open flame.  

This closure also bans the use of portable propane campfires and wood pellet burning devices and restricts areas where visitors can smoke to non-public buildings, inside vehicles, in boats on the water or while standing in the water.  

The specific campfire closure locations apply to BLM-administered lands in the following areas:  

    • Within ½ mile of the Crooked River’s edge from the Bowman Dam to Lake Billy Chinook, excluding campfire rings established by the BLM at the following posted, developed and designated campgrounds: Castle Rock, Still Water, Lone Pine, Palisades, Chimney Rock, Cobble Rock, Post Pile and Poison Butte.  
    • Within ½ mile of the Deschutes River’s edge from the Highway 20 bridge to the Columbia River, including Lake Billy Chinook and Lake Simtustus.  
    • Within ½ mile of Lake Billy Chinook’s edge, including BLM Beach dispersed recreation site located approximately ½ mile east of the Three Rivers Recreation Area on the south shore of the Metolius River arm of the lake.  
    • Within ½ mile of the Lower White River’s edge from its confluence with the Deschutes River upstream to the eastern boundary of the Mount Hood National Forest.  
    • Within ¼ mile of the John Day River’s edge in the following locations:  
      • The Mainstem John Day River from Tumwater Falls (River Mile 10) upstream to Kimberly (River Mile 185).  
      • The North Fork John Day River, from the confluence with the mainstem at Kimberly (River Mile 0) upstream to the Umatilla National Forest boundary (River Mile 62).  
      • The South Fork John Day River from Smokey Creek (River Mile 6) upstream to the Malheur National Forest boundary (River Mile 47). 

Closures are in effect until October 15, 2023. Except in emergency conditions or with permission by an agency authorized officer, there are no exceptions to this closure. A violation of this closure is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 months, or both.  

For more information about these closures, or other fire restrictions on BLM-administered lands in central Oregon, please call the Prineville BLM District Office at (541) 416-6700 or visit For current information on public use restrictions, fire closures or changes to the Industrial Fire Precaution Level on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Prineville BLM, please call the information line at 1-800-523-4737. Additional information about fire activity in Central Oregon is available online at:


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