PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Campfire restrictions went into effect Monday for campers visiting the Willamette National Forest.
The move by U.S. Forest Service comes following a July that was much drier than normal. Officials said August and September are poised to have higher than average temperatures, increasing the risk of wildfires.
With COVID-19 restrictions in place throughout the state, visitation has been extremely high, according to the Forest Service.
So far in 2020, 86% of wildfires in Oregon have been caused by humans.
“We have considered the current fire situation, fuel moisture and predicted weather before making this decision,” said Fire Staff Officer Ed Hiatt. “Every year lightning-caused fires place heavy demand on firefighters, and put our forests, our firefighters, and our communities at risk.”
Under the order, all campfires–charcoal or briquette fires, pellet fires, or any other open fires–will be banned outside of designated campgrounds and select wilderness areas. Chainsaws, off-highway vehicles, and smoking are also prohibited on campsites. Portable cooking stoves and lanterns using liquefied or bottled fuel are still allowed because they can be instantly switched off, officials said.
More information on restrictions can be found at the Willamette National Forest website.