Restrictions on campfires, smoking and off-road travel will go into effect Thursday on the Umatilla National Forest as the mountains enter the dry portion of the summer and become increasingly susceptible to fire.
Other national forests in the region are likely to follow the Umatilla’s lead soon, Forest Service officials say.
“The fire danger has been steadily increasing and our forest fuels are ready to burn,” said Brian Goff, Fire Staff Officer. “We need to reduce the threat of human caused fires by restricting activities that could start fires.”
Among the restrictions:
• Campfires and charcoal barbecues are banned forest-wide except in designated developed campgrounds with fire pits.
• Smoking is allowed only within enclosed vehicles, buildings, developed recreation sites or when stopped in an area cleared of all flammable material.
• Off-road motorized travel is prohibited except where specifically authorized.
Firewood cutting is still allowed, although restrictions could be enacted in the next few weeks, Goff said.
All national forest users should carry an axe, shovel and an 8 oz. or more capacity fire extinguisher when visiting, he said.