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Fire restrictions issued for Columbia River Gorge

Restrictions have been placed starting this week on campfires, smoking, and other activities in the National Forest System.
Credit: Jeff Kastner

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area has announced restrictions on campfires, smoking, and other activities on National Forest System lands in the gorge.

The restrictions were issued Thursday due to wildfire risk and will remain in effect through Nov. 1, 2022, unless repealed sooner.

Building, maintaining, attending, or using fire is prohibited in lands, roads, and trails within the gorge area. The ban includes campfires, stove fire and charcoal fire.

RELATED: Oregon wildfires burning between Bend and Crater Lake after lightning storms

Smoking is prohibited unless outside of cars, buildings or designated campgrounds that are in barren areas at least three feet in diameter from flammable material.

Firearms and other explosives are also banned on National Forest System land. Motorized vehicles are prohibited from trails, as is the use of welding equipment and torches. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture put the restrictions in place to try to avoid additional wildfires. The ban comes during a week that has seen several wildfires break out around Oregon.

RELATED: Growing wildfire in Eastern Washington prompting evacuation of entire town

The Miller Road wildfire began Tuesday afternoon near Maupin, about 30 miles south of The Dalles, and has since grown to more than 10,000 acres, prompting the Wasco County Sheriff's office to issue evacuation orders for nearby communities.

On Thursday morning, a separate large fire broke out near Interstate 84 in The Dalles.

Highway 197 was closed around noon in The Dalles due to the fire and open back up around 4 p.m. 

Firefighters have since managed to knock down and begin mop-up of the fire area. The fire was estimated at 10 acres. It destroyed a homeless camp by the railroad tracks, but did not appear to have reached any structures.

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