PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As we continue to navigate wildfire season, the Oregon Department of Forestry is asking people to be vigilant while camping and enjoying the outdoors.

While Oregon had an unusually late rain in the spring, officials said this does not make up for the years of drought the state has experienced.

Furthermore, all the new grass, brush and greenery that’s grown because of the rain has possibly created more fuel for wildfires — as all that vegetation dries out quickly.

The Oregon Department of Forestry explained that even though the fire danger level in our area is low to moderate, Oregonians should be on their toes as more people head outdoors. ODF notes it just takes one deserted campfire to spread into a large fire, especially since Oregon is not expected to see rain until next week.

Jessica Prakke of ODF says if you are headed outdoors and plan on building a campfire, remember to practice what’s called the “drown, stir, repeat” method when putting it out.

Oregon Department of Forestry fire restrictions
  

“What that is, is basically they drown their campfire with water, stir the ashes, drown it again with water, stir the ashes, and then they do that until it’s cold to the touch. We don’t wanna have any residual embers hanging out underneath all of that. And then later re-sparking because of the hot and dry weather,” Prakke said.

According to Prakke, embers can easily get caught in the wind and move through grasses that are now dry — easily catching fire and can quickly get out of control.

Prakke pointed out that even though the Willowcreek Fire in eastern Oregon that burned 45,000 acres is not in our region, it is a marker that fire season is here. She says this slower start to fire season has helped ODF be better prepared.