Amid Drought, ODF Urges Need for Extreme Caution This Summer

May is Wildfire Awareness Month. Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with federal, state and local fire organizations, is reminding Oregonians that May is a crucial time for communities to create defensible space around homes this spring and learn how to prevent careless, unwanted wildfires this summer.

So far in 2022, temperatures have been above average and conditions drier than normal. More than half of Oregon’s land area have received emergency drought declarations, and the potential for large, costly wildfires is expected across the Pacific Northwest as early as May or June in central and southern Oregon.  

“The snowpack improved with the recent snow and rainfall in April, but there is still real worry ahead”, said Kristin Babbs, president of the Keep Oregon Green Association. “With fire seasons routinely starting earlier than usual and the current drought situation, we are emphasizing the need for Oregonians to pay attention to the conditions, not the calendar. Sparks or embers from early season activities could get traction, so it’s important to be ready and have fire tools on hand at all times.”

Over 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are started by people, placing the power of prevention squarely in the hands of Oregonians. Public lands will see high visitation numbers for the third year in a row, making the need for wildfire awareness and prevention practices more important than ever. Before heading outdoors, contact the agency or landowner who manages the lands at your destination for an update on current fire restrictions or bans. Residents staying close to home must also check fire restrictions before building backyard campfires or using equipment that could ignite dry vegetation, such as lawn mowers or weed trimmers. 

Keep Oregon Green’s annual wildfire prevention campaign encourages residents and tourists to practice basic wildfire safety while enjoying the outdoors.

Courtesy of ODF