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C.O. fire officials urge public to practice responsible fire use over Memorial Day weekend

KTVZ file

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- While Central Oregon experienced a cool spring with significant moisture, fire officials would like to remind recreationists to practice responsible fire use and prevention methods this Memorial Day weekend and moving into the summer recreation season.

Despite the late-season precipitation, Central Oregon continues to see the effects of persistent drought.

As temperatures warm, fine fuels such as grasses and pine needles start to dry out. becoming receptive to fire. The forecast weather for this weekend includes cold temperatures and potential precipitation.

Campers should keep fires small and contained within a campfire ring. The surrounding area should be clear of combustible material at least 15 feet from the campfire ring. If dispersed camping, choose an area for your campfire with a hardened surface and away from vegetation and low hanging branches.

People should always make sure that campfires are dead out. Dead out means you can place your hand on top of where the campfire was located, and it is cool to the touch. Pack a shovel and plenty of water to ensure that you can “drown, stir, and feel.” Never walk away from a campfire assuming it will go out on its own. Forecast warm temperatures next week have the potential to reignite any campfire not fully extinguished.

When using a generator, gas/liquified stove, fire pit or lantern, make sure the area around it is free of all debris and combustible material.

Drivers should ensure that chains are secure before travel. Loose chains can drag on pavement creating sparks that can ignite vegetation. Vehicles should never be driven or parked on dry grass. The vehicle heat can ignite the vegetation. Properly dispose of cigarettes and smoking materials – never throw them out a vehicle window.

Using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, explosives, and fireworks is always prohibited on all federal lands.

For current wildland fire information, the public can visit centraloregonfire.org or follow fire information on Twitter @CentralORfire and for current Central Oregon Fire Precaution Information call 1-800-523-4737. Call 9-1-1 to report a wildfire.

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