BLM prohibits fireworks starting May 10

Portland — Effective May 10, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is prohibiting the use of fireworks, target shooting with exploding targets, and firing tracer or incendiary devices on all BLM-managed public lands throughout Oregon and Washington. The prohibition will remain in effect until October 31.

“BLM-managed public lands start to see more visitors in May due to the beautiful weather, especially during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. This annual fire prevention order reminds people to be fire-wise to reduce the number of human-caused wildfires in the Pacific Northwest,” said Jose Linares, acting State Director, BLM Oregon/Washington. “In dry conditions, sparks can spread quickly from fireworks or exploding targets, putting people, wildlife, and habitats at risk.”

Those who violate the prohibition can be fined up to $1,000 and/or receive a prison term of up to one year. In addition, people responsible for starting wildland fires on federal lands can be billed for the cost of fire suppression. An incendiary device is defined as any firebomb or device designed or specially adapted to cause physical harm to persons or property by means of fire, consisting of an incendiary substance or agent and a means to ignite it. Examples include, but are not limited to, flamethrowers, Molotov cocktails, or accelerants.

OMB warns of cold water dangers

SALEM — There have been five boating fatalities on Oregon’s waterways during COVID-19 this spring, all have two things in common: Not wearing life jackets, and cold water, according to the Oregon State Marine Board.

OMB is urging boaters headed to the water during, especially people in canoes, kayaks, and on stand-up paddleboards, to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. The water is cold.

“We are concerned,” said Randy Henry, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Marine Board. “People are anxious to get out and have fun, but water is serious business. If you go boating, wear your life jacket, buckle it up, and make sure it’s a snug fit. Always dress appropriately, and if you’re paddling, dress for the water. A dunking this time of year can be deadly.”

This season, many people new to paddling or people who haven’t paddled in a while are strongly encouraged to take a free, online Paddling Course to learn about self-rescue, how to re-board your paddlecraft, important equipment/requirements and other safety skills to develop.

For more Paddle Smart boating safety tips from the Marine Board and the U.S. Coast Guard, visit

State offers help finding insurance

SALEM — Job loss due to COVID-19 has also caused many Oregonians to lose their health insurance. The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace can help them find new coverage, often with financial help.

More than 300,000 Oregonians have filed for unemployment insurance since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Oregon. For those who have lost insurance through their job, the path to coverage is available through several programs: Marketplace coverage, Oregon Health Plan, COBRA, state continuation, and Medicare. Navigating the process can be confusing, but the Marketplace has a network of community partners and insurance agents who are trained to help Oregonians figure out which resources they qualify for and how to apply.

Those who have recently lost a job or insurance through their employer, have experienced a change in income, or had other major life changes are eligible to sign up for health insurance plans through the Marketplace for a 60-day special enrollment period after a qualifying event such as job loss.

Community partners and insurance agents can help via phone and virtually so Oregonians don’t have to navigate the process alone. There are also tools at that allow people to shop for plans using their information to look at the cost of plans and see if they qualify for subsidies.

State requires insurance grace periods

Salem — The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a new emergency order for health insurance companies during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order requires health insurance companies to:

• Provide at least a 60-day grace period to pay any past due premiums

• Pay claims for any covered services during the first 30 days of the grace period

• Extend all deadlines for reporting claims and other communications, and provide members with communication options that meet physical distancing standards

The order enables Oregonians to continue receiving health insurance coverage and have their claims paid. It also ensures health care providers receive payment for the services they are diligently providing their patients as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to disrupt everyone’s daily lives and the state’s ordinary course of business.

The order is in effect through June 3 and can be extended in 30-day increments during the course of the COVID-19 outbreak. This order does not apply to self-insured plans.

If you have questions about a health insurance company or agent or need to file a complaint, call the Division of Financial Regulation’s advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or visit

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