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Oops! The Curry Coastal Pilot jumped to the wrong conclusion regarding the current ban on fires on Curry County beaches. (See our July 26 editorial “Beach fire ban is premature.”)
We also learned more about the history of the summertime closures — and we’d like to set the record straight.
In the editorial, we suggested the decision by Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA) to implement the ban was perhaps a “knee-jerk reaction” to a brush fire ignited by illegal fireworks in Brookings Dawson Tract area.
That was not the case, according to Derwin Boggs, a CFPA forester based in Gold Beach. The ban, he told us, was already planned before the fire happened. It’s something the state agency does every summer, usually in mid- to late July, as the fire danger increases.
The timing of the ban, which currently extends from Florence south to the Oregon border, is based on weather and science, Boggs said.
As for the Pilot’s suggestion to limit the ban — and post warning signs — at beaches where dry grass, driftwood piles and heavy vegetation pose a danger, Boggs said while it sounds good in theory, it is not practical in implementation.
He used Sporthaven Beach at the Port of Brookings Harbor, a popular place for beach fires, as an example. The scarcity of vegetation there, he said, makes it safer to have fires. However, in the past, when signs were placed farther south, past the hotel where there is more vegetation, people tore them down and burned them.
Also, it’s not uncommon for CFPA employees to be called in the middle of the night to put out abandoned fires at Sporthaven Beach.
“Last year I spent $1,000 to $2,000 in employee overtime to put out fires there,” he said.
Boggs said the last thing his agency wants to do is put a damper on citizens’ enjoyment of beach fires, but he has a responsibility to keep people and structures safe.
We get it.
We also apologize for casting a negative light on CFPA and its employees who labor to keep us all safe.