CENTRAL OREGON -- This Labor Day Weekend, Fire officials say wildfire season isn’t over yet, and ask that everyone shows extra caution with fire. Jean Nelson-Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest, is concerned that campers and other outdoor enthusiasts may not be as careful as they should be, because fire season has seemed so much more mild this year. "We're just asking people to remain vigilant, we're continuing on a warming trend, these fuels dry out quickly, and it just takes a single spark to get things going."
She says there's rain, but with thunderstorms comes lightning, and coupled with dry conditions, fire crews are busy with holdovers. Nelson-Dean says the majority of this year’s local fires have been nature caused - she wants us to maintain that record and encourages all humans to be safe with fire. "Labor Day weekend is a prime time for people to still get out, enjoy the last days of summer, go camping with family, and/or riding, or shooting, and we just want folks to still be aware, though we've had a milder than usual fire season, it is still fire season, and we're looking at warming trends drying out our fuels."
She says after Labor Day, comes hunting season, and with cooler morning and evening temperatures, people want warming fires. Never leave a fire unattended and never abandon a fire that's not cold to the touch. "We want people to make sure, if they have a campfire, it's dead out, cold to the touch, so that requires water, and stirring, until there's really nothing remaining. Do not walk away from a campfire."
She says the big concern is just people not paying attention because they're having fun - it doesn't take much for a campfire to spark a wildfire.