Campfires, smoking banned on Willamette National Forest with few exceptions

Sandin Riddle shared these photographs of fire crews extinguishing a campfire on the shores of Dorena Lake on Saturday, July 29, 2017.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The Willamette National Forest is banning campfires and smoking outside of vehicles effective Saturday.

“I have considered the current fire situation, fuel moisture levels and predicted weather before I made this decision” said Tracy Beck, the Forest Supervisor.

The goal: Prevent human-caused wildfires which could district firefighters from the lighting-caused blazes already burning - or yet to come.

The region is in the grips of a record heat wave and extreme fire danger.

“Every year lightning-caused fires place heavy demand on firefighters, and put our forests, our firefighters and our communities at risk. Fires caused through carelessness or negligence increase threats to life and livelihood. Every fire that’s prevented protects our communities and helps our firefighters remain available, rested, and safe," Beck said. "Thanks for doing your part to help.”

The ban bars campfires outside of developed campgrounds. The ban includes charcoal briquettes.

Chainsaws may not be used in campgrounds.

And smokers must be inside a vehicle; no smoking in the woods or campgrounds.

Firewood cutting is still allowed with a valid permit, shovel and fire extinguisher. There is a 1 p.m. shutdown and a 1 hour fire watch required.

Campfires are allowed in metal fire rings in developed campgrounds. Camp stoves that run on propane or liquid fuels - "fires you can turn off" - are OK.

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