June 28, 2013
Summer has been delayed but not denied. Though cool, damp weather calmed wildfire activity across Oregon in recent weeks, fire danger is forecast to rise with the temperature over the Fourth of July holiday. The Oregon Department of Forestry urges recreationists heading to the woods to be mindful of common fire causes: off-road driving and riding, campfires, smoking, and, of course, fireworks.
Even if the forest is not bone dry by Independence Day, the 1,200-degree-plus temperatures generated by fireworks can ignite grass, tree needles, and brush nearly instantly. Please leave the fireworks at home over the Fourth.
Four-wheel-drives, ATVs, and motorcycles pose a threat as well. From only a few seconds of contact with dry grass, their exhaust systems can start a smoldering burn that may flare into a wildfire minutes or even hours later. Stay on established roads and trails, and park on gravel surfaces or developed roadside pull-outs to avoid this fire scenario.
A burning cigarette discarded into forest vegetation is like a time-delay fuse. The smoke and flames likely won’t appear till long after the smoker departs. Safely dispose of smoking materials to prevent these wildfires from happening!
As the weather warms and dries, fire safety restrictions in the forest may change. These include rules for campfires, off-road vehicle use, and other activities. Check the rules before you go.