Fire personnel have recently spent considerable time and resources responding to numerous human caused fires. “When this happens we have to commit resources to respond,” said Mt. Hood and Gifford Pinchot National Forests Deputy Fire Staff Officer, Ross Williams. “This costs taxpayers money and pulls personnel from other projects.”
“We want people to go out and enjoy their forests,” Williams continued. “Just do it responsibly and safely.”
While campfires are still allowed on the Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Hood National Forests, some state and local departments are instituting burn bans. Please check with forest, state or local agencies for current fire restrictions. Most fires can be prevented if campers follow the guidelines listed below:
· Always abide by local campfire laws.
· Only adults should build and maintain campfires.
· Never leave a campfire unattended.
· An ideal campfires spot is a shady spot away from dry logs, branches, bushes, needles or leaves.
· Make sure there are no overhanging tree branches near the fire.
· Use existing fire-rings whenever possible.
· Keep campfires small and use wood no bigger than the ring.
· Keep tents and other burnable materials away from the fire.
· Drown the campfire with water and stir charred material.
· When leaving, make sure your fire is DEAD OUT. Very carefully feel all sticks and charred remains. Feel the coals and ashes.
· If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave!
Beyond the potential damage to property and natural resources fires can cause, the greatest danger is to human life. Forest Service firefighting crews are highly trained and prepared to fight fires when it is necessary. However, fire is always dangerous. Minimizing the risk of human-caused fires will make things safer for campers and firefighters.
Find more campfire safety information at http://www.smokeybear.com/campfire-safety.asp.