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Don’t Forget Fire Safety During Your Labor Day Camping Trips
September 2, 2010
Contact: Kevin Weeks (503) 945-7427 or Lena Tucker (541) 726-3588 
 
As the last holiday weekend of the summer is here and outdoor adventurers are preparing for fall hunting seasons, don’t let the cooler weather fool you!  Recent rains and cooler temperatures have not eliminated the risk of wildfire throughout Oregon, especially in the southern Cascade Range.  
 
“September is typically when we get east winds blowing very dry air over the Cascades into the western side of the state,” said Lena Tucker, District Forester for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s South Cascade District in Springfield. “These dry winds are notorious for bringing abandoned campfires back to life.” 
 
Local Oregon Department of Forestry fire managers are asking fall campers and hunters to do their part to make their outings enjoyable and fire-safe.
 
Campfires - Unattended campfires that spread to adjacent vegetation account for many of the human-caused wildfires each year.  A campfire should be kept small and the surrounding area cleared of vegetation.  Don't build a campfire where overhanging tree limbs could catch fire.  And while it may seem obvious, never build a fire atop exposed or shallow tree roots.  The heat can ignite the roots and start a "sleeper fire."  This smoldering, smokeless blaze may go unnoticed, and then flare up days later.  Never leave a campfire unattended and completely drown the fire before leaving.  Most landowners prohibit campfires on their property, so be sure and seek their permission ahead of time.
 
Off-road riding - Driving or riding motorized vehicles off of improved roads can also cause fire in the forest.  Four-wheel-drives, motorcycles and quads pose a common threat from the heat and sparks they generate.  Oregon law requires a muffler, and on cycles and ATVs, a spark arrester is recommended.  On full-size vehicles, be sure the exhaust pipe, catalytic converter and muffler are free of grass and twigs that could ignite.
 
Smoking - Discarded cigarettes rank high among the causes of wildfire year after year. Smoke only in open areas free of tall grass and vegetation, and make sure cigarettes and matches are completely extinguished before discarding.
 
Fire prevention restrictions are subject to change on short notice during the transition into fall weather, so it’s a good idea to call your local Oregon Department of Forestry office or visit the ODF web site at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/FIRE/precautionlevel.shtml for current restrictions before heading out into the great outdoors!
 
You can follow wildfire activity across Oregon this summer on the Wildfire Blog for the Oregon Department of Forestry – check out the Blog at http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/ 
 
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