The fire danger rating has been moved to “high” by the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grassland and Prineville District Bureau of Land Management.
Central Oregon Fire said Friday that the rating change is due to sustained hot temperatures and increased drying of vegetation.
The agency reminds people that campfire restrictions are in effect on portions of the Crooked, Deschutes, John Day, and White Rivers, as well as BLM-administered lands along Lake Billy Chinook and Lake Simtustus.
“The river canyons present a combination of limited access, grassy fuels that dry out quickly, and steep slopes that allow wildfires to spread rapidly,” the agency said in a statement.
“The river fire closures prohibit building, igniting, maintaining, attending, using, tending or being within 20 feet of a campfire, charcoal fire, or any other type of open flame. Propane campfires and wood pellet burning devices are also prohibited. Commercially manufactured lanterns and metal camp stoves used for cooking are allowed, when fueled with bottled propane or liquid fuel and operated in a responsible manner.”
Fire restrictions are not currently in effect for the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland. Campers are reminded to keep campfires contained with a campfire ring and keep combustible material at least 15 feet from the ring. The best location for a campfire ring is a hardened surface away from vegetation and low-hanging branches.
Additionally, campers are urged to make sure campfires are “dead out.” That means the place where the campfire was located is cool to the touch. Never walk away from a campfire assuming it will go out on its own.
Be sure to pack a shovel and plenty of water to drown out the fire.
Finally, there’s a reminder for drivers to be sure loose chains are secure. Chains can drag on pavement and cause sparks, which can ignite vegetation. Never drive or park on dry grass since the heat from the vehicle can ignite vegetation. And don’t toss cigarettes out the window.