News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Fire danger high in Willamette National Forest

The Willamette National Forest has raised its fire danger level to “high” effective July 5.

U.S. Forest Service officials said the change was due to the lack of recent moisture and temperatures likely to remain in the 80s for the next week or so. Officials also noted that no public use restrictions are in place at this time.

Key changes include restrictions on forest-related operations. The following only may be used  between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.:

• Power saws except at loading sites

• Feller-bunchers with rotary head saws

• Cable yarding

• Blasting

• Welding, cutting, or grinding of metal.

“We want the public to be extra prepared when visiting the forest and be mindful of the drier weather conditions,” said Eric Miller, acting fire staff officer for the Northwest Oregon Interagency Fire Management Organization in a statement released by the USFS. “There are no fireworks allowed on National Forest lands and (we) would appreciate the public’s support to help us prevent human-caused fire starts.”

Forest Service officials urge everyone to exercise caution while recreating in the woods, especially if they have a campfire. A campfire should be contained in a pre-existing or robust fire ring with a shovel and water in reach. The campfire should be kept small and at least 5 feet away from any flammable material, including overhanging tree limbs. Never leave a campfire unattended and ensure any burning material is cold to the touch before leaving the area.

Residents are cautioned to please be aware of current restrictions before heading out and sharing current information with others who may be unaware of the restrictions. As fire restrictions change, information will be available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/willamette/fire. To report a wildfire, please call 9-1-1.

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