The South Coast has been experiencing relatively cool weather this summer, but the fire danger has steadily been rising in our nearby wilderness. The recent thunderstorms, with accompanying lightning strikes, are reminders that it’s imperative that we continue to practice fire-safe procedures.
While lightning often ignites the largest wildfires, officials say human carelessness accounts for 69 percent of all fire starts on the 16 million acres of forestland protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. Backyard debris burning, equipment use and campfires left unattended top the list of wildfire causes every year. Increased wildfire prevention awareness can bring down the incidence of these “people fires” and free up resources to battle Nature-spawned fires.
It would be best not to tempt fate and refrain from doing any commercial or recreational burning. However, if you do choose to use fire, fire agencies suggest the following tips to reduce the risks:
•If campfires are allowed where you are camping, extinguish them completely.
•Use care when barbecuing: Keeping the ground under and around the barbecue clear of vegetation and away from combustible material or structures.
•If you must smoke when in the forest, please use an ashtray and make sure the cigarette is out when done.
If you have any questions about burning or want more information about fire-safe procedures, call your local fire department or the Coos Forest Protective Association at (541) 267-3161.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent wildfires.