Local

Authorities To Impose Central Ore. Restrictions As Wildfires Burn

OPB | July 23, 2013 9:20 a.m. | Updated: July 20, 2014 10:09 a.m.

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A large wildfire continues to burn on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The fire has burned more than 20,000  acres, and is only about 20 percent contained.

Fire managers are worried about both heat and wind. Residents in the area are still unable to return to about 40 homes that were evacuated over the weekend. The fire has also closed down the Kah-Nee-Ta resort.

Buddy Hicks Jr. said he was at home with his wife on Saturday morning when when he first saw the smoke.

“There was just a little pillar of smoke coming up from a — it looked like an old extinct volcano bowl up there,” Hicks said. “And that’s all it was. And then we went and sat in our house in the air conditioning for a few hours and came back out and the whole thing’s burning up.”

Meanwhile, federal authorities in central Oregon say they will impose restrictions later this week, designed to prevent fires on federal lands. Those restrictions go into effect Thursday at midnight, and limit the use of campfires and stove fires to designated campground areas. The rules also limit where motor vehicles can drive to prevent contact with vegetation.

The restrictions will also apply to smoking:

“It’s a very high danger, and smoking’s only allowed in an enclosed vehicle, buildings or developed recreational sites where there’s at least a 3-foot diameter void of all flammable material and this includes any vegetation,” said Kevin Abel, a public affairs officer with the Bureau of Land Management’s Lakeview district.

The rules also prohibit the use of power saws. The restrictions will apply to the Fremont-Winema National Forest, BLM Lakeview District and the Sheldon Hart Mountain and Klamath Basin national wildlife refuge complexes.

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