On average, about 140 human-caused wildfires occur in the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests every year. Through the first two weeks of July, firefighters responded to almost 30 such fires (when the stats include fires on private lands and rural fire departments the number plumps up to 90 blazes) and while all were contained quickly – the largest burned about 70 acres — most were easily preventable.
“Many of these fires are the result of fireworks and abandoned campfires,” said Craig Letz, Fire Staff Officer for the Central Oregon Fire Management.
You’ve heard it before, but keep in mind these simple principles when recreating in the woods this summer: confirm that campfires are allowed in your area and if they are, keep the fire within a small fire ring that will be attended at all times; avoid driving on dirt roads with vegetation growing in the middle of the road as it can easily ignite; fireworks of all kinds are illegal on public lands; tossing cigarettes is also illegal. The cooler temperatures don’t change the fact that the vegetation is still dry and easily combustible. (JW)