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C.O. fire officials urge extreme caution over holiday


With the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, Central Oregon firefighters and land managers said Tuesday they want to remind the public to recreate safely on federal public lands this weekend.

Continued hot and dry conditions have contributed to an increase in human caused wildfire activity and a HIGH fire danger rating. Visitors to the national forest are reminded to be “Fire Safe” this holiday and throughout the summer, which includes leaving the fireworks at home.

Fireworks and other exploding targets are prohibited on federal public lands in Central Oregon, including the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, the Prineville BLM, and the Crooked River National Grassland.

“There’s an appropriate time and place for fireworks—but that’s not on federal lands during fire season,” said Alex Robertson, fire staff officer for the Central Oregon Fire Management Service. “Fireworks are restricted on federal lands, and we ask that people respect that.

“Already we are seeing abnormal fire growth in wildfires across Central Oregon, with fires growing bigger, faster. So while we want the public to enjoy a fun and safe holiday and summer, we also will continue to work closely with our partners at state and local levels to ensure that when it becomes necessary, we implement precautionary measures to protect our forests and communities.”

National Forest System lands in Central Oregon are not under public use restrictions right now, but campers are reminded to never leave their campfire unattended and to fully extinguish campfires with water and shovel until the coals are cool to the touch.

Fires that appear to be out may smolder for several days and pick up again during the next wind event. The smallest spark has the potential to cause significant damage.

Always crush cigarettes dead out, ensure that your vehicle has a properly installed spark arrester that is operational, and stop and park only in areas clear of vegetation.

Discharging fireworks on federal public lands is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a sentence of up to six months in jail.

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