A Forest Grove Fire & Rescue brush rig is staged at the Gales Creek Station, ready to respond to wildfires. Photo: Chas Hundley
NW Oregon - Fire season officially begins Monday, July 1 in Northwest Oregon.
Many neighboring regions have already declared fire season to be in effect, with local officials watching the weather and planning their next steps in regulating industry and public use in lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).
Locally, that includes much of Gales Creek and the surrounding region, including the Tillamook State Forest.
"The heat this week and the overall dry weather means we are creeping towards fire season," wrote Dan Goody, the Astoria District Forester for the ODF in an email earlier in June.
Now, with a firmer idea of the summer weather, and with an impending stretch of hot, dry weather, ODF says that NW Oregon — Tillamook, Columbia, Clatsop and western Yamhill and Washington counties — will experience local conditions that have the potential for significant wildfires.
"Public use restrictions as of July 1 include no use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets as well as no smoking within any forest operation area. Use of fuse and caps for blasting is also prohibited unless approval is granted by the district forester," read a press release from ODF.
This year, ODF says that 21 fires have occurred in their coverage territory — almost double from last year's 11 fires — and that all of them were determined to be caused by humans
While there have been more fires so far, they've been kept smaller in size, with 29.3 acres burned so far, compared to this same time last year, when 52.9 acres had already burned.
Statewide, 295 fires on ODF-protected land have torched 1,279 acres, with all but 20 of those fires human caused.
While there will be restrictions on what can and cannot be done with regards to fire-related activities, some fires are allowed.
"This does not restrict campfires, cooking, or warming fires, at this time," said Forest Grove Fire & Rescue on their Facebook page.
"If you are concerned about your home and property as fireworks go on sale, you can take a few safety precautions like keeping the grass mowed and watered, clean your roof and gutters, and even wetting down the bark dust."
To find out more information if you are in an industry that operates in ODF protected land, click here.
For general public information on fire restrictions, click here.