Campfires still only allowed in designated campgrounds
"We are experiencing conditions far from normal for this time of year," says Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields. "The combination of dry, hot weather and exceptionally dry vegetation has created an environment that wildfires will thrive in."
Fire managers throughout the region are spreading the word: Proceed with extreme caution when working in or enjoying the outdoors.
"We continue to discover and extinguish illegal campfires in several remote areas," Fields said. "In one case, our crews found an escaped campfire left by a hunter two miles from any road." Fields says a different fire escaped its confines and burned more than two acres and cost more than $4,000 to suppress. Persons responsible for illegal campfires will be cited and held liable for fire suppression costs.
Public-use restrictions, or Regulated Use Closures, remain in effect on all lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. Campfires, while only allowed in designated campgrounds, should not be built at all under the current conditions. Back yard burning, smoking and off-road driving remain prohibited. For a complete list of restrictions in specific areas, log on to www.oregon.gov/ODF.
The three month period from July through September was the driest on record, dating back to the late 1800s, in most areas of the Willamette Valley. Weather forecasters do not see a change for at least another 10 days to two weeks. Fire season will remain in effect until significant precipitation occurs where the threat of a fire starting is close to nil.