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Fire safety in the forest: It is not just for loggers
Contact: Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425

“Wildfire prevention and readiness are critical now more than ever,” said Steve Wilson of the Oregon Department of Forestry.
 
While the fire prevention manager was speaking to forestry workers, his advice holds for all Oregonians who recreate in the forest or live near it. Loggers follow operating rules to avoid sparking a blaze. By increasing our safety awareness, the rest of us can also prevent accidental fires that damage forest ecosystems and destroy homes.
 
Lightning-caused fires typically account for the majority of acres burned in Oregon’s forests annually. But about two-thirds of the total fires are caused by people, not Nature. At this time of year when lightning fires often stretch state, local and federal firefighting agencies thin, human-caused fires can further deplete scarce resources.
 
To convey the need for vigilance to woods workers, Mike Dykzeul of the Oregon Forest Industries Council described the current conditions in the forest.
 
“Temperatures in the last week across the state were in record triple digits, while fuel moisture readings were also setting records on the low end of the scale, even in western Oregon,” Dykzeul said.
 
Those of us who may never pick up a chainsaw would do well to heed the advice of these professional foresters in the weeks ahead.
 
Fire safety rules are currently in place for recreational and industrial activities on all forestlands across Oregon. Before heading to the forest, contact the agency that manages the lands at your destination for an update on the current restrictions.
 
Many agencies and organizations offer fire safety advice for outings in the forest. The Keep Oregon Green Association lists helpful tips at: www.keeporegongreen.org/.