Hunters heading into Oregon forestlands should be aware that August and September are periods of high fire danger in Northwest Oregon. Large numbers of wildfires are currently burning in many parts of Oregon and resources are stretched thin. Before heading out, hunters should check to see if any of these wildfires have caused road or area closures. Even if roads to a favorite hunting spot are not closed, there could be increased traffic due to firefighting vehicles coming and going.
Most public lands will be open to hunters during fire season, although restrictions designed to prevent wildfires are in effect in most places (see the most common ones below). Hunters should use caution such as not parking on dry grass, or backing into areas with tall cured fuels.
Here are some of the most common fire restrictions:
- Campfires are either prohibited accept for approved campgrounds.
- Smoking and off-road driving is also prohibited, which includes motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.
- All vehicles must have either a gallon of water or a fully charged and operational 2½-pound fire extinguisher and shovel (except when traveling on state highways or county roads).
Private landowners may close their properties to all access or have restrictions (such as no camping).
Here are some helpful places to find information about fire restrictions and access conditions:
- Oregon Department of Forestry Click on any area in the map to see a list of fire restrictions in areas protected by ODF. Click within public lands areas to find out the land manager and contact info.
- Forest Grove Fire information – www.fgdfire.com
- Tillamook State Forest blog – http://tillamookstateforest.blogspot.com/
- US Forest Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- InciWeb (Current fires and fire-related closures in Oregon)
- Corporate Closures (covers several private industrial timberlands in Oregon)
More about access to private land during fire season
Landowners have the right to close their lands during fire seasons. These landowners typically pull even their own logging contractors and workers (off their property when fire danger reaches a certain level.) Their first obligation is to protect their property from a devastating wildfire.
Hunters can help keep landowners willing to open their lands to hunting by taking good care of the private property they use to hunt. Respect gate closures and travel restrictions, don’t litter and leave no trace.
For more information about hunting and access to private and public lands, see the website of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.