Last updated: September 7, 2021
Conditions on the ground in Oregon’s high desert can change rapidly and recreational facilities can become partially or fully closed due to any number of circumstances, including snowfall, wildfire — or a pandemic, as 2020 brought to light. It’s always best practice to check land management agency websites for current conditions before you head out on a desert adventure.
FIRE: Always be mindful of fire bans, which include bans on campfires.
The following fire restrictions are in effect:
- Campfires prohibited on many public lands including all lands east of I-5. That includes within designated campgrounds.
- Only liquid-fueled camp stoves may be used. No charcoal briquettes or other flammable solid materials are allowed.
- No smoking except inside an enclosed vehicle.
- Off-road driving is also prohibited in most areas, which includes motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Driving on vegetation could spark a fire.
- Vehicles must have either a gallon of water or a fully charged and operational 2½-pound fire extinguisher and shovel (except when travelling on state highways or county roads).
- ATVs must have a charged and operational 2½ pound fire extinguisher.
- Additional restrictions may be in effect. You can use this statewide map of fire restrictions to zoom in on your destination and check restrictions before you head out. If you are headed to BLM land, look up the restrictions by district.
You can check for active wildfires and area closures from the following sources:
- Central Oregon Fire Info provides detailed updates on fires in Central Oregon.
- This interagency fire status map shows which recreation sites statewide are closed or have reduced services due to fire and post-fire recovery work.
- Interagency dispatch centers in Burns, Vale, and Lakeview keep track of fires of all sizes in southeastern Oregon.
- Oregon Department of Forestry updates a map of active fires throughout Oregon.
- InciWeb tracks large fires nationally.
Section 7 of the Oregon Desert Trail along the Fremont National Recreation Trail is closed due to the Cougar Peak Fire (9/9/21).
COVID-19: The spread of COVID-19 created the widespread closure of public lands and recreational facilities. Areas have largely reopened, but some closures or restrictions may still be in effect. The list of links below covers land management agencies in Oregon’s high desert.
Effective August 2021, masks are required indoors and in public outdoor settings where physical distancing is not possible. Be prepared to mask up in high-use outdoor areas, such as trailheads and viewpoints, and in all indoor facilities.