Human-caused Wildfires Keep Crews Busy

The public is reminded to use caution on public lands for the upcoming holiday week

Central Oregon — What has seemed to be a milder fire season for Central Oregon has still resulted in 79 human-caused wildfires in the past three months. Additionally, fire crews responded to 155 lightning-caused fires in July and August, with lightning again predicted later this week. Central Oregon Fire Management Service asks visitors to stay vigilant when it comes to fire safety.

Firefighting personnel have acted quickly and kept fires small this summer.  “Our days are going to continue to be warm and the fuels are dry—still very receptive to starting a wildfire with just the smallest spark,” said Fire Staff Officer Alex Robertson.  “Nights are cooling and days are shortening, but Central Oregon is still very much in fire season.”

The number of recreational visitors to public lands will increase with hunting season upon us. Visitors are reminded to always be sure to check public use restrictions for the area you will be visiting.  Campfires are currently allowed on most public lands in Central Oregon, outside of the annual restrictions put in place on BLM river corridors; however, if not put out properly, campfires have the potential for reemerging days after being ‘put out.’  Using the ‘Drown, Stir, Feel and Repeat’ method is the best way to ensure your campfire is completely extinguished. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

In addition to warming and cooking fires not being extinguished properly, parking or driving, shooting, and smoking near dry grass have all been found to be common ignition sources of human-caused fires in Central Oregon. General equipment uses, such as overheating or sparking, and debris burning, are also leading fire causes in the summer months.

Before cutting firewood on public lands, be sure to check local Industrial Fire Precaution Levels.  The Ochoco NF, Deschutes NF and Prineville BLM are currently in an IFPL 2, restricting personal use cutting hours to between 8 pm and 1 pm. Current IFPL information can be obtained by calling 1-800-523-4737, or by visiting agency websites. 

Officials want to remind the public that using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, and the use of explosives and fireworks continue to be prohibited on all federal lands.

For current Central Oregon wildfire and prescribed fire information visit www.centraloregonfire.org  or follow us on Twitter: @CentralORFire. 

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