PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Record-setting heat. Drought. A holiday where fireworks are traditional. Increased travel to waterways and mountains. This combination has Forest Service officials worried there could be wildfires this week.
This wildfire warning stretches from Eastern Oregon to the Columbia Basin in Washington and the Okanogan Highlands in northeast Washington.
Forest Service and fire officials want people to heed campfire bans, to keep them in designated fire rings and to make sure they are totally and completely out.
“People really need to be aware of their surroundings and there’s going to be a lot of people outdoors,” said Northwest Fire Prevention Specialist Michael Starkovich. “Just try to keep that fire prevention thought in your mind, as you go out to enjoy yourself and find some relief.”
The campfire restrictions are already in place in some areas of the Pacific Northwest. Some areas are closing dispersed camping, 2-3 weeks sooner than normal.
Among the tips to help prevent fires:
- Don’t drive over dry grass
- Make sure no chains are dragging on trailers, because sparks can fly off the side of the highway
- Target shooting is not allowed
- Fireworks are illegal on Bureau of Land Management and national land
There is also an effort to reduce human activity in at-risk areas. And the Forest Service is considering bringing in education teams to get the message out for a safe summer.
“It’s becoming more common that we’re having more of these large fires at one time, and it’s really, decreasing our air quality and our visual quality of our air,” Starkovich said. “I hope that people feel that from last year and take that extra bit of caution and think about what they’re doing before they get too far into having a fire or doing something that could cause a fire.”