Deschutes County Commissioners on Monday declared a state of emergency and announced public use restrictions due to dangerously high wildfire conditions.
Low snowpack this past winter has created an early and possibly severe 2020 wildfire season.
“The restrictions will help prevent human-caused summer wildfires on all unprotected lands and Deschutes County-owned lands,” according to the resolution.
The restrictions go into effect immediately and will remain in place 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. This interactive map allows landowners to look at their own property.
The following public use restrictions are now in place:
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 1:00 p.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.
Other Regulated Closures and Public Use Restrictions
Information and maps of regulated closures for the Oregon Department of Forestry can be found at the following website: https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/pages/fire/precautionlevel.aspx.
Information and maps of public use restrictions on Deschutes National Forest can be found at the following website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon .