PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With Red Flag Warnings in effect across the western half of Oregon and Washington, local fire officials are warning citizens to avoid any activities that could potentially spark a fire.

John Saltenberger, Fire Weather Program Manager for the U.S. Department of the Interior, is urging Oregon residents to do their part in preventing “nuisance fires” this week.

“It’s astonishing how many times folks finish recreating on a weekend at a campground, and fail to properly extinguish campfires or barbecues,” Saltenberger said. “The number of times that firefighters are called to deal with a smoldering campfire that has the potential for growing, or folks without proper spark arresting gear on lawn mowers or tractors — those kinds of nuisance fires, so to speak, have a much greater potential during these dry, windy conditions.”

In response to this week’s extremely hazardous fire weather, the Oregon State Fire Marshal has released a list of ways to reduce wildfire risk:

  • Don’t park or drive on dry grass
  • Extinguish outdoor cooking fires
  • Don’t mow dry grass
  • Check and secure tow chains
  • If you see something, say something

The Multnomah County Health Department is asking citizens not to burn wood this week, unless absolutely necessary. A mandatory burn ban has been in effect in Multnomah County since July 25. The ban includes recreational campfires, fire pits, yard debris, agricultural burning and permits issued for open burning.

“Use extreme caution when cooking outside,” the county health department stated.

This message has been echoed around Western and Central Oregon by government agencies and local fire prevention groups like the Douglas Forest Protective Association.

“Forecasted triple digit temperatures, strong east winds with very dry air may promote the rapid spread of fires, which could quickly and unexpectedly lead to life threatening conditions, loss of property, homes, structures and natural resources,” the Douglas Forest Protective Association said. “Please do your part to avoid a spark over the next 48 hours or so. These east winds will likely bring the return of degraded air quality as smoke from fires to our east will be carried into the region.”

To further reduce wildfire risk, electric companies like PGE are actively turning off power to thousands of customers around the Pacific Northwest. CLICK HERE for the latest outage information.