Since many areas of the Pacific Northwest are experiencing high to very high fire danger predicted to extend throughout the summer and likely into the fall, Mt. Hood National Forest fire personnel are encouraging visitors to take precautions to prevent human-caused wildfires.
“Dry fuel conditions on the Mt. Hood National Forest are well ahead of historical trends,” said Dirk Shupe, Assistant Forest Fire Management Officer for the Mt. Hood National Forest. “Some visitors think they can ignore the Public Use Restrictions in place as weather changes and temperatures temporarily decrease, however, just one spark can ignite quickly and start a wildfire in these conditions.”
Human causes, such as abandoned and illegal campfires, and target shooting are responsible for the majority of wildfires on the Mt. Hood National Forest. Of 30 wildfires reported in Oregon this year, only one was started by lightning. Fire personnel has been occupied extinguishing 200 abandoned campfires in the past several weeks.
Through Aug. 21, a multi-agency national Fire Prevention and Education Team, comprised of professionals from the U.S. Forest Service and the Georgia Forestry Commission in partnership with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management and other federal, state and local agencies visited dispersed campsites, historic sites, campgrounds and other areas around the Mt. Hood National Forest to assist with educating visitors about the restrictions and how they can protect lives and property from wildfire.
“Everybody needs to be aware of the dangers of wildfire, while still enjoying the many recreational benefits Mt. Hood National Forest provides,” said Mark Wiles, Prevention Education Team Leader. “Visitors can do just that during the ongoing focus on fire prevention. Our goal is to empower forest users with the knowledge that these restrictions are in place and there are consequences to ignoring them.”