While it feels like fall with the cooler overnight temperatures and with the leaves changing color, fire officials want to remind Oregonians that it’s still fire season.
At this time of year, many property owners begin cleaning up brush and making backyard burn piles. But Marcus Kauffman with the Oregon Department of Forestry says, not so fast. “The burn ban on backyard burning is still in place and the conditions for fire growth still exist out there on the landscape,” says Kauffman.
The current fire danger is officially at the moderate level, but with temperatures in the 70s and with east wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour, that could change. Kauffman says “the conditions are a little bit more dangerous than what a moderate level would lead you to believe because we are right on the edge of going in to high.”
In addition, the mild fall temperatures are inviting many people back out to the forests for camping, hunting, and hiking. Kauffman says there is still potential for wildfire in the high country. He adds, “the fuel is dry, we’re experiencing this east wind event, and if you are at the higher elevations those winds are going to be more pronounced so anyone who’s out recreating needs to be very careful with fire.”
It’s important to constantly monitor campfires and make sure they are completely out if you leave them unattended. Vehicles and firearms can also spark fires.
ODF usually declares the end of fire season after a significant rain event. The current forecast does not call for wet weather in the immediate future. For current fire conditions, see the Oregon Department of Forestry Website.