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Abandoned campfires pose wildfire risk on Tillamook State Forest
Oregon Department of Forestry News Release
Abandoned campfires pose wildfire risk on Tillamook State Forest
August 15, 2012
Local media distribution
Contact:  Mike Cafferata, 503-359-7430, mcafferata@odf.state.or.us
Last weekend, patrols on the Tillamook State Forest made an alarming discovery: 10 campfires left burning and abandoned by recreationists.
“This type of carelessness under hot, dry conditions can result in wildfires,” Oregon Department of Forestry’s Mike Cafferata said. “In addition, we found five groups that had built campfires outside of designated locations.”
The Forest Grove District Forester encouraged Oregonians to recreate on the state forests but to exercise extra caution with fire during the current period of high wildfire danger. Over the past five years, 581 campfires built on state-protected lands burned 54,318 acres and cost $9.4 million to suppress.
The Keep Oregon Green Association offers these tips for ensuring your campfire is a safe one:
  • Always call your local fire district to assure that fires are allowed where you’re going to camp. If they are allowed, here are a few suggestions to help ensure that your campfires will be safe.
  • When selecting a site for a campfire, avoid areas near buildings, fallen trees, tree trunks, or low overhanging branches.
    Scrape all leaves and litter away down to bare earth for at least five feet on all sides of the fire. Surround your campfire site with rocks.
  • Build your campfire downwind and at a safe distance from your tent, never leave it unattended, and after you light it, thrown your match into the fire. If any sparks escape the campfire, have a shovel or water handy to put them out.
  • The location of your campsite will determine the fire tools that you will need to take with you. But, at a minimum, always be prepared with a bucket (USFS requires one gallon of water), shovel, and ax.
  • When it’s time to leave the campfire and head to bed or back to town, make sure you put the campfire out – DEAD OUT! Drown all embers, sticks, and coals, especially those that might have fallen under the rocks. Stir the coals to make sure all heat has been removed. Drown the area again