Sections of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway travel through the Wallowa Whitman National Forest and the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. We have been experiencing very hot, dry weather and there have been thunder and lightening storms in recent days. This has made fire danger throughout the byway high. For everyone’s safety, please follow all restrictions and use all precautions necessary to help lower the risk of our beautiful area burning. Following is a press release from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest:
BAKER CITY, Ore. (July 30, 2020) – In response to rising fire danger levels, additional Public Use Restrictions, or Phase B PURs, will go into effect across the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest at 12:00 a.m. on July 31, 2020.
Phase B PURs prohibit campfires, wood stoves, and briquette fires. Campfires are allowed in fire pits provided at developed recreation sites, where all flammable material should be cleared 10 feet from the edge of the pit, and the pit should be free of overhanging material. Anyone with a campfire must have a tool that can serve as a shovel and at least one gallon of water. Campfires must be attended at all times and completely extinguished prior to leaving. Remember: “If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.”
Campfires are also allowed in Designated Wilderness Areas – however, campfires are not allowed in the Lakes Basin of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, where campfires are prohibited year-around to reduce their impact on this popular destination and reduce the risk to public safety.
Chainsaw use is not allowed during Phase B PURs without a permit. Firewood permit holders should follow the terms of their permits, which govern chainsaw use according to Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPLs). Generators are allowed only if fully contained in the bed of a pickup truck or in an area that has been cleared of all flammable material at least 10 feet away. Other internal combustion engines are prohibited, except for motor vehicles.
Motor vehicle travel off developed forest roads and trails is not allowed due to the risk of a vehicle sparking a wildfire in the dry grass and encroaching vegetation. Exception: Vehicles may be used to access campsites located within 300 feet of an open developed road. All motorized travel on roads closed by gates, barricades, berms, rocks, or logs is prohibited.
With tinder-dry forest fuels and high daytime temperatures, conditions are prime for human-caused forest fires. We ask that you be extremely careful when out in the forest. To learn more, contact your local Forest Service office or visit our websites (http://bmidc.org/restrictions.shtml, www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman, http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com).
Please call 911 to report a forest fire.
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
1550 Dewey Ave., Suite A
Baker City, OR 97814
Contact: Peter Fargo, 541-523-1231