No More Fire for Oregon Campers: OPRD Banned Open Flames at All State Parks
SALEM, OREGON – 20 July, 2018
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is prohibiting all campfires and open flames in all state park properties effective 10 a.m. 19 July, 2018, according to the statement. The ban is in response to Gov. Brown’s declaration of a fire emergency. The campfire and open flame ban includes campgrounds, day-use areas, and all areas of the Ocean Shore and beaches managed by OPRD. It is expected to last one week.
MG Devereux, OPRD deputy director, says the ban is meant to avoid any accidental fires on OPRD property that would further tax limited firefighting resources.
The fire ban is expected to last at least one week, but will be evaluated based on weather, resource conditions and input from Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and other state and local fire officials.
Campgrounds will be full around Oregon this weekend, but campers will have to make do without fire.
“We understand this is an inconvenience for campers, especially those who might not see the immediate need for local fire restrictions,” said Devereux. “We appreciate the public’s patience and their willingness to help protect our natural areas.”
Gov. Kate Brown declared a statewide wildfire emergency, activating a standing agreement with the Oregon National Guard – Operation Plan Smokey – that makes helicopters and troops available to fight fires at the request of the Oregon Department of Forestry.
"To ensure the safety of local residents, and given the dry and windy conditions on the ground, I am invoking an emergency declaration to make additional state resources available to firefighters and first responders," Governor Kate Brown said in the statement.
The declaration also allows the Office of Emergency Management to coordinate with other states if additional assets are needed.
The Substation wildfire, which has burned 50,000 acres southeast of The Dalles since it erupted Tuesday, has killed one person and prompted the evacuation of city of Moro. Residents of nearby Wasco also were told to be ready to evacuate Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm committed to making state resources available to ensure crews have the resources they need and I also urge the public to be mindful of fire restrictions and use caution this summer to help keep Oregon green," Brown said in email to Oregonvile.
The Oregon Military Department said the Oregon Army National Guard will provide two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters equipped with Bambi water buckets. Other air assets include an additional HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter to be on standby for medical evacuations and a UH-72 Lakota helicopter to assist with aerial spotting.
Chris Ingersoll, a spokesman for the Oregon Military Department, said two teams with about 125 members had been trained to assist front-line firefighters and “Red Card” certified, with an additional 125-person team scheduled to be certified by August 10.
Last year, wildfires burned 665,000 acres in Oregon, above average but far short of a record. Gross suppression costs were $453 million, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Visitors planning a trip to a state park should check for up-to-date information about fire restrictions below or by calling the state parks info line at 800-551-6949.