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

Wildfire prevention tips from the ODF

The wildfire season has been heating up and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is urging Oregonians to stay vigilant this fire summer, which has featured an increase in human-caused wildfires. 

With dry fuels, higher temperatures and low humidity, now is the time for Oregonians to actively practice wildfire prevention, said Mike Shaw, ODF fire protection chief. 

“We all need to do our part to prevent wildfires from starting throughout the year, but right now everyone needs to be extremely careful,” Shaw said in a press release posted by the ODF. 

“With the current conditions, just one spark, cigarette, or open flame could result in Oregon’s next wildfire. Preventing fires from starting helps protect our firefighters and communities from the health, safety, and economic impacts of wildfires and smoke.”

Key ways in which residents can “actively practice” wildfire prevention, the release said, include:

• Check your local fire regulations. Public use and industry restrictions are put in place to help prevent wildfires. By following these regulations, you can help reduce the risk of a human-caused wildfire.

• Recreate responsibly. If allowed, only build campfires in approved campgrounds and make sure your campfire is OUT COLD before leaving. If campfires are banned, use a camp stove.

• Check your vehicle. Servicing your car regularly helps reduce the risk of a faulty part throwing sparks into dry grass while you’re driving. Also, make sure to not park or idle over dry grass if you pull over. The heat from your undercarriage or exhaust could ignite the grass below.

• Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. The ODF recommends keeping one in your car just in case you need it while traveling.

• Don’t burn debris. Debris burning is prohibited across Oregon during fire season.

• Fires in the outdoors start for several reasons (vehicles, campfires, smoking, cutting, grinding and welding metal, power saw use, fireworks, electric fences, mowing dry grass, etc), the ODF said. Years of research has found that these activities are prone to start fires when vegetation dries out, humidity drops, and temperatures rise. 

Based on these studies, fire professionals impose fire restrictions to alert the public and forest workers of these dangers. Check with your local wildland fire protection agency or rural fire district for restrictions specific to your area. 

Currently, the state remains between moderate and extreme fire danger, depending on where you are. Human-caused wildfires can be prevented. It only takes a minute to curb your actions before disaster strikes.

Visit Oregon.gov/odf to find local fire restrictions and keeporegongreen.org for more wildfire prevention tips.

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