Public Use Restrictions FAQs
What are Public Use Restrictions?
When fuel moistures and weather conditions create increased wildfire potential in Central Oregon, public fire restrictions will be put in place on federal public lands, like the BLM and Forest Service managed lands. These fire restrictions help reduce the chance of a human-caused wildfire starts.
In Central Oregon human-caused fire starts lead to 60% of wildfires on public lands. When these starts can be reduced, or eliminated, we protect the forests, our communities, and our local economies for the future.
We want you to know these restrictions are always carefully considered and are based on data before being implemented. Though we understand the joy of sitting around a campfire with hot dogs and marshmallows, we hope everyone wants to enjoy and protect the forest for future camping adventures, rather than being the reason the forest and the adventures are gone. Also, depending on the level of fire restriction, you may be able to use a propane stove or portable campfire to make those marshmallows toasty.
Restrictions can affect where you are allowed to smoke, the types of roads you can travel, and where – or even if – you are allowed to have a campfire. So always KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!
(Current as of Oct. 6, 2022)
Public use restrictions on the Deschutes National Forest have been lifted. The lifting of the Public Use Restrictions means that campfires are now allowed outside of designated campgrounds. However, given recent warm temperatures, fire officials remind the public to continue to be cautious with any possible ignition sources and ensure that all campfires are thoroughly extinguished. Remember to have plenty of water nearby and a shovel on-hand when maintaining a campfire. Using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, explosives, and fireworks are always prohibited on all national forest lands.
To ensure that a fire is completely extinguished, people should use the “Drown, Stir, and Feel” method. Using that method a person drowns the fire with water, then stirs around the fire area with a shovel to wet any remaining embers and ash. People should be sure to turn wood and coals over and wet all sides. Then people should move some dirt onto the fire site and mix thoroughly to fully smother it. And finally, people should feel the area with the back of your hand to ensure nothing is still smoldering. If a person still feels heat, they should repeat the process. A little wind on a small ember can still make a spark that will be the beginning of a fire.
Central Oregon Forest Service & BLM Fire Restrictions
How can Public Use Restrictions affect travel?
On unmaintained dirt roads, often called “two-track” roads, the grass and brush that may grow down the center can dry out and be an extreme fire risk.
Vehicles traveling along these roads can pick up this vegetation under their vehicles where it can quickly ignite.
Travel restrictions limit access to these types of roads. The public will still have access to maintained dirt roads or paved roads, and people will still have access to their private property.
Can I have a campfire?
- Check the map above to see if the place you’re heading allows campfires
- Or call 1-800-523-4737 for more information
If a campfire is allowed where you’re planning to go, remember –
- Campfires should be contained within a campfire ring and the surrounding area should be clear of combustible material at least 15 feet from the campfire ring.
- Always bring a shovel and make sure you have plenty of water on hand to fully extinguish your fire.
Drown. Stir. Feel.
Make sure your campfire is dead out whenever it’s left unattended. Dead out means you can place your hand on top of where the campfire was located, and it is cool to the touch.
Fireworks are always illegal on federal lands in Central Oregon!
Fireworks restrictions vary from city to city throughout central Oregon, but they are ALWAYS illegal on federal lands. Remember: possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device on public lands is against the law.
Do your part to prevent a spark!
- Never park or drive on dry vegetation. On unmaintained dirt roads, often called “two-track” roads, the grass and brush that may grow down the center can dry out and be an extreme fire risk. Vehicles traveling along these roads can pick up this vegetation under their vehicles where it can quickly ignite.
- Secure trailer chains. Loose chains can drag on pavement creating sparks that can ignite vegetation.
- Properly discard smoking materials. Never toss them from a vehicle or on the ground where vegetation can ignite.
- Sparks arrestors are required for OHVs, chainsaws and other motorized equipment.
Central Oregon Fire Information
Visit centraloregonfire.org for information about current fire information, fire restrictions & smoke updates.