The Curry Coastal Pilot

Fire season officially started this week in Curry County, throughout Oregon and much of the Western United States. And, coincidently enough, fireworks stands opened for business this week.

Already we are hearing reports of dry conditions and an abundance of vegetation andndash; a deadly combination just waiting for a spark from lightning or, worse yet, human error.

It happened before andndash; remember the 500,000-acre Biscuit Fire in 2002? And it can happen again. In fact, firefighters responded to a brush fire on the Chetco River Monday night that was started by fireworks.

Extreme diligence is necessary for all of us.

From now until November, Curry County citizens are required to obtain permits from various local fire agencies to use burn barrels and burn brush. In the city of Brookings, open burn piles are allowed, but only with a permit. Burn barrels are illegal within city limits. Controls have been tightened on campers who want to have campfires and cook over an open flame.

The time will come this summer when fires will be prohibited at nearly all locations .

Fire officials also encourage property owners to cut the tall grass and brush to minimize the opportunity of fire on their property for the rest of the summer.

To obtain permits contact call the Brookings Fire Department at (541) 469-1140. Please leave an address and phone number. In Gold Beach, apply for a fire permit at city hall or call (541) 247-7029. In Port Orford contact George Gehrke at (541) 332-5383. In Harbor, contact the Harbor Fire Department at (541) 469-5301. All other areas of the county contact Coos Forest Protection at (541) 469-2302.

The restrictions, while a hassle for some people, can save our forests, homes and lives andndash; and that's well worth the inconvenience.