Local News

Firefighters Respond To Unattended Campfires Over Busy Weekend

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Despite green vegetation and full reservoirs, fire season is already heating up. "Over the Memorial Day Weekend, there were five abandoned campfires across the COFMS [Central Oregon Fire Management Service] area: Two on the Ochoco National Forest, two on the Deschutes National Forest and one on the Prineville District of the BLM," says Jaimie Olle, with the Forest Service, "That’s a lot of campfires in a short duration that have been left abandoned. If you’re out camping in these coming weeks, we know it’s still chilly at night and it makes sense to have a fire, but please never leave your campfire unattended."

Olle tells KBND News one incident was especially troubling, "The field rangers that responded to one of the campfires on the Ochoco National Forest arrived there to find flames in the campfire pit [pictured]. Uh, that’s not really an acceptable way to leave a campfire, as we want to make sure it is completely dead out and cold to the touch before you leave." In that incident, rangers did not have enough water to put the fire out on their own and had to call in an engine to douse the flames.

While there are no campfire restrictions in the National Forest yet, Olle says the fire danger is moderate. But starting Thursday, annual campfire restrictions take effect on BLM-managed lands along Lake Billy Chinook and Lake Simtustus, and portions of the Crooked, Deschutes, John Day and White Rivers. Also Thursday, outdoor debris burn season closes in all Central Oregon fire districts.

Photo courtesy of the Ochoco National Forest

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