Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 5/30/23 – Downtown Klamath Falls Streets May Get Changes; Flashing yellow and red lights Proposed At Some Intersections

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 2pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. West northwest wind 7 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Overnight, mostly clear with a low around 44.
Sunny, with a high near 75. Northwest wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Clear overnight with a low of 41.
Sunny, with a high near 73. North northwest wind 6 to 11 mph. Clear overnight, low 42.
Sunny, with a high near 79.
Sunny, with a high near 86.



Today’s Headlines

173rd Fighter Wing To Conduct Night Flying Operations This Week
The 173rd Fighter Wing will conduct night flying operations this week, Tuesday, May 30 through Friday,  June 2.  Operations will take place between approximately 5:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. 

Night flying is one part of the course curriculum for F-15C student pilots at Kingsley Field, the premiere F-15C schoolhouse for the United States Air Force.

Much of the training will occur in the military operating airspace to the east of Lakeview where the pilots can fly without lights.  However, the local community will most likely hear the jets during take-offs and approaches to and from Kingsley Field. Take-offs will occur after sundown and the jets will return approximately an hour-and-a-half later.

“Whether defending the homeland or deployed in contingency operations, F-15 pilots must be proficient at night flying,” said Col. Micah Lambert, 173rd FW vice commander. “Night flying training includes the full spectrum of skills needed to be a combat-ready F-15 pilot.”

Community members may contact the wing’s public affairs office at 541-885-6677 to express any concerns they have during this time. 


Driving on downtown city streets may need your renewed attention soon. The City of Klamath Falls is considering a major change in the downtown area with some of the traffic lights being converted into two-way and four-way stops.

A testing phase begins Thursday, June 1. The change will include putting flashing yellow and red lights on several proposed intersections.

The downtown traffic signals have been under study to determine if removing and replacing them with two-way or four-way stops would have a safety benefit, the release states. With the signal modifications, the installation of curb extensions would also take place. This will shorten the travel distance across the intersection for the pedestrian and narrow the roadway.

The original analysis called for pedestrian countdown timers and reflectorized back plates on the signals. The traffic study determined the signals are not warranted and it would be feasible to replace the signals with stop signs instead. Funding for this project is largely coming from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s All Roads Transportation Safety (ARTS) program.

According to the release, researchers collected traffic counts for both vehicles and pedestrians. None of the proposed intersections met the criteria for a traffic signal.

Citizen input will be crucial during the testing phase, the release states. In order to do this, a multi-month test will be conducted to collect data and see how the community responds to the change in traffic pattern.

According to the release, there will be a great deal of outreach, communication with local media as well as social media and community groups. City staff anticipates creating a survey or questionnaire to solicit feedback during the test phase as well.  If there are questions about the upcoming rollout of this downtown traffic signal test, email admin@klamathfalls.city or call 541-883-5270.


A Klamath Falls health treatment center has lost state funding because it didn’t follow Measure 110 rules. Red is the Road to Wellness was approved to receive one-and-a-half million dollars from Measure 110.

The Oregon Health Authority reports it received complaints the center provided wrong employment services and supported housing. It also didn’t submit expenditure reports. OHA terminated its agreement and will distribute the funds to other partners in the network.


Klamath Falls Streets Division crews will be performing maintenance work this week.

Crews are scheduled to work from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 through Friday, June 2.

Asphalt Crews will be performing asphalt repairs at the following locations:

  • Tuesday: North 8th Street and Grant Street intersection and the 700 block of Cook Street
  • Wednesday, May 31: Uerlings Street and Mt. Whitney intersection
  • Thursday, June 1:T he 3900 block of Clinton Avenue, the 3500 block of Boardman Avenue, the 3900 block of Miller Avenue, the intersections of Austin Street and Onyx Avenue and Altamont Drive and Southside Bypass

Paint crews are set to do striping and painting legends and crosswalks Tuesday through Friday on South 8th Street from Klamath Avenue to Spring Street.

Sign maintenance and sweeping will be performed Tuesday through Friday throughout the city as needed.

Detours and signage will be in place where needed.

Motorists are asked to proceed with caution in areas where crews are working. Work might be delayed or canceled due to weather, equipment breakdown or unexpected emergencies.

For more information, call the City Public Works Department at 541-883-5363.


Klamath County or utility companies will have work crews out on roads this week as well.

Motorists are asked to use caution when in work areas and to watch for flaggers. Any motorists who are able to avoid the work zones, are asked to use an alternate route for their safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and contractors.

Utility work with intermittent lane closures is scheduled for the vicinity of Stearns Elementary School on Crest Street from Clinton to Denver and on Laverne Avenue from Crest to Altamont.

Bobs Excavating is scheduled to perform storm sewer work.

Patching and asphalt paving is slated for Westside Road while crack sealing work will be done in the Bonanza area.

Traffic control measures will be in place for guidance. Motorists should use alternative routes if possible.

In general, flagging stations will be set up at the end of the work zone and delays will be zero to 20 minutes for the motoring public. The county’s goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public.

There might be adjustments of work schedules due to weather or other items outside of the county’s control such as the breakdown of equipment or material/resource availability, etc.

For more information, call the Public Works Department at 541-883-4696.


A U.S. Air Force F-15D was removed from a Bureau of Reclamation irrigation canal at the south end of the runway at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Friday.

The aircraft was involved in a ground mishap following a routine training mission, May 14, 2023.  Upon landing the aircraft left the paved surface of the runway and came to a stop in the canal.

To assist with the removal of the aircraft, Bureau of Reclamation lowered the water in the canal to allow the Crash Damage or Disabled Aircraft Recovery Team to access the connection points on the aircraft for crane removal.

Col. Micah Lambert, 173rd FW vice commander, also noted that the wing has been conducting routine water sampling since the mishap.  He said only trace amounts of petroleum products have been detected in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft and were contained using multiple absorbent booms, as well as hard booms to prevent any downflow of possible containments.

The plane was assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing, and there was one crew member on board.  The F-15 instructor pilot was transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center for evaluation where he was released the same day with minor injuries.

A Safety Investigation Board is currently reviewing the mishap and additional updates will be released when they are made available. 


Back in December the city of Lakeview notified the public that it was the victim of two fraudulent financial transactions

Upon learning of the fraudulent transactions, civic leaders immediately activated an incident response team to investigate the fraudulent transactions, evaluate the extent of the transactions, and ensure that technology and policies are implemented to prevent future fraudulent transactions.  Town managers also notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and other appropriate authorities.

Lakeview’s investigation is now complete.  The investigation determined that the town was the victim of two targeted email phishing attacks.  The phishing attacks were designed to fool individuals into clicking on links which install malware and expose sensitive data.  Internal networks and systems were compromised when one or more town employees clicked on the perpetrator’s emails.  With insider information, the attacker was able to successfully pose as two separate vendors, funneling payment for two legitimate invoices totaling just over $200-thousand into their bank accounts.

Lakeview has now installed anti-phishing software to protect the town and mitigate potential risk indicators.  In addition, they’ve implemented multi-factor authentication to provide a layer of defense should a threat successfully compromise Lakeview’s system and/or credentials.  Lakeview has also established a more secure financial transaction authentication process.  Moving forward, town leaders will use a comprehensive security IT infrastructure to ensure the security of Lakeview’s networks and systems. 

Around the state of Oregon

Family of Four Rescued from Rogue River After Canoe Flip 

Grants Pass, OR – On May 27, 2023, multiple units from Grants Pass Fire, Rural Metro Fire, AMR-Josephine County, and the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a family of four who had flipped over in a canoe on the Rogue River near Chinook Park, east of Grants Pass. 

All four occupants were thrown into the current and ended up in different spots along the river. A rescue boat from Grants Pass Fire’s Parkway Fire Station was able to launch from Chinook Park and safely extract the occupants to shore. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Deputy provided support to the operation. 

The four occupants were not wearing life jackets and were subsequently transported to the hospital due to exposure to the cold-water temperature. 

This incident serves as a reminder to all who seek recreation on local rivers to be mindful of the strong currents and cold water. Life jackets should be worn whenever boating in case of a mishap like this where you unexpectedly find yourself in the water, especially in potentially unstable crafts such as canoes or kayaks. 

Here are some additional safety tips to keep in mind when boating on the Rogue River: 

  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go and be aware of the river conditions.
  • Never boat alone.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid hazards such as rocks, trees, and other boats.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected.


The Oregon National Guard takes part in Memorial Day ceremonies around the state

 Oregon National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen participated in several Memorial Day community events on May 29, 2023, honoring service members who died for their country in observances around the state of Oregon.

In Beaverton, American Legion Post 124 hosted their annual Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park as Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, 1st Congressional District of Oregon, Mayor Lacey Beaty and Keynote speaker for the ceremony, Oregon Air National Guard Col. Todd Hofford, 142nd Wing Commander, were among the featured guest that addressed those in attendance.

“My father served our country in Korea in the Army, his service shaped my admiration and respect for those who serve and their families who stand by them,” said Gov. Kotek. “Today across our great state, across our great nation, people are gathering in remembrance of loved ones who where lost and honoring the bravery of our fallen service members.”

Prior to becoming Governor earlier this year, Kotek served as the Speaker of the House for over nine years. She recalled meeting with family members of fallen service members from Oregon, being remembered in resolution.

“Every time – I was caught-up by these life stories of young Oregonians, who went into the bigger world for their country, and never to come back. They are Oregon – and I will not forget their stories.”

Also in attendance was Larry Wittmayer, Commander of the American Legion Department of Oregon as the ceremony featured the American Legion Post 185 Band, playing music throughout the hour-long ceremony.

Speaking to those in attendance, Hofford traced the lineage of those who have died in the nation’s wars back to the founding of the country.

“More than 1,275,000 Americans have died in war and conflict since 1775,” he said, speaking to the audience during the mid-day gathering. “History has so often reminded us, Liberty is not fairly gained, nor is it easily obtained or preserved and must be continually safeguarded by each generation.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a Howitzer Salute was performed by the Oregon Army National Guard’s Battery ‘A’ of the 2-218th Field Artillery.

A Joint Service Honor Guard team and other Oregon Soldiers and Airmen took part in the Memorial Day Ceremony at Willamette National Cemetery in Clackamas. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden spoke to those attending, noting that “Americans always get it right…after they’ve tried everything else,” a quote attributed to Winston Churchill during WWII.

During a Memorial Day ceremony in Medford, the Oregon Army National Guard Honor Guard, conducted a flag folding ceremony for a family member of a fallen service member, held at the Memory Gardens Memorial Park. Throughout the state, the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing and 173rd Fighter Wing flew patriotic flyovers at ceremonies and parades in over a dozen towns and cities.


Oregon police officers killed 23 people in the line of duty in 2022, according to the state’s first use-of-force report.

Lawmakers discussed a summary of the report, which is not yet released, on Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The report, compiled by Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission, doesn’t discuss whether the police use of force was justified or followed established policies.

Instead, the report offers a breakdown of how often police use force, whether it resulted in injury or death and how many police departments in Oregon are complying with a 2021 state law that requires them to submit data about police use-of-force incidents. The data is sent to the Oregon State Police and forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The report shows that Oregon had 58 use-of-force incidents in 2022 and 23 of them – less than half – involved a fatality. The others led to injuries or police officers firing their weapons. Incidents took place in rural and urban areas.

Police use of force has gained national attention with calls for accountability and more transparency in recent years. The 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, sparked a national reckoning over policing and race.

In Portland, the city settled a federal lawsuit for $250,000 in 2022 following its police bureau’s use of tear gas and other crowd control tactics during the city’s 2020 protests, the Associated Press has reported.

Josephine County deputies and Oregon State troopers in southern Oregon were cleared of wrongdoing after shooting and killing a man at an Interstate 5 rest area in September 2022. In that case, the man fired at officers and shot a woman, according to media reports.  Use-of-force incidents encompass a variety of situations. They can involve a fatality, a serious injury to a person or the discharge of a firearm. Ninety percent of the people involved resisted police officers in different ways, including not complying with orders, making threats, using a firearm or fleeing, the report said.

The majority of people involved in the incidents were white men and in 64% of the cases, police officers were responding to illegal or suspicious activity. In the other cases, police officers were conducting traffic stops, serving warrants or making other types of calls.

Ninety-six officers were involved in the incidents and seven of them were injured.

Most police and sheriff agencies in Oregon – 92% – have complied with the state law’s requirement to report data. That’s 137 police agencies. All large agencies with more than 100 officers reported data.

Kelly Officer, research director for the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, told legislators it wasn’t aware of any use-of-force incidents that occurred and were not reported.

State officials are working to get the non-compliant agencies – one dozen – reporting information.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene and the committee’s chairman, said he’s pleased with the high level of compliance in the first year and suggested future reports identify agencies that aren’t complying with the law. (SOURCE)


Governor Kotek Calls for Improved Educator Preparation to Boost Early Literacy

Oregon state seal in blue and gold
Salem, OR—As part of her ongoing efforts to boost literacy rates across Oregon, Governor Tina Kotek today announced she will form a council to develop recommendations to raise the bar on elementary educator preparation for reading and writing instruction.

Executive Order 23-12 establishes the Early Literacy Educator Preparation Council, which will be appointed and begin work this summer. Governor Kotek is directing this council to develop recommendations for strengthening standards that the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) uses to approve elementary educator preparation programs and license elementary educators. TSPC will use these recommendations to adopt new rules next year.

“Literacy is the foundation for learning, yet far too many students are not getting the intentional literacy support and experiences they need,” Governor Kotek said. “We can and must do more to prepare new educators for teaching every student to read and write.”

The Council will be made up of no more than 20 members, including teachers, elementary school leaders, representatives from education preparation programs, early literacy experts, teachers, and bipartisan appointments from the Oregon House and Senate.

Council recommendations to revise educator and school administrator preparation program standards for literacy instruction are due no later than December 15. These recommendations must align with the Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) Early Literacy Framework for kindergarten through fifth grade. Instruction must be grounded in culturally responsive instructional practices, based on research derived from the science of reading and writing, and designed for students with disabilities and students who are emerging bilingual learners.

Additionally, the Council must develop recommendations by March 30, 2024, to revise elementary educator licensing requirements. These recommendations are expected to be presented to the TSPC for rule adoption no later than June 30, 2024. This work will include a focus on literacy instruction for K-5 students.

Applications to join the council can be submitted here until Friday, June 23.

Along with the formation of the Council, Governor Kotek has worked with Rep. Jason Kropf (D-Bend) to develop House Bill 3198, which aims to invest at least $140 million for evidence-based, culturally responsive, targeted literacy strategies inside and outside of the classroom. The bill has bipartisan support and is currently in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.


𝟳𝗞 𝗙𝗜𝗥𝗘 Near Veneta 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘

Firefighters continued mop up efforts overnight on the #7KFire, located approximately 10 miles southwest of Veneta. Last night concluded the incident’s night shifts, as crews have completed all the work they can safely do after dark. As of this morning, the fire’s perimeter lines are holding at 100% and 15% of the fire is now considered mopped up. It’s still estimated to be 300 acres, and the cause is under investigation.

Overnight, windy conditions until midnight kept the fire active, but helped crews to easily spot the areas where more work is needed, as illustrated in the photo below. When winds calmed down in the early hours of the morning, fire activity stalled with it, allowing resources several hours to focus on mop up operations. Perimeters are mopped in 25 feet into the interior on most of the line, except for an exceptionally steep portion on the east side of the fire.

Tuesday’s day shift will pick up where they left off and continue to push into the interior of the fire, extinguishing hotspots that have the potential to flare up in warm, windy conditions. Temperatures will be slightly cooler today, which will help to keep fire behavior at a minimum, however winds are still predicted. Resources assigned to the fire today are the same as Monday’s day shift, totaling around 300 personnel working on the incident. One Type 3 helicopter remains assigned to the fire, and additional aircraft can be ordered as needed.

The remainder of work is situated on steep terrain that only gets more challenging from here. Safety is a top priority as firefighters work further in the interior. Falling trees and rolling debris continue to be major concerns, and medical personnel are available on scene and prepared to quickly respond if needed. To date, there hasn’t been an injury on this incident.

Perkins Peninsula County Park remains closed to the public and in use for firefighting resources.


Grants Awarded for Main Street Projects Throughout the State

Salem, OR—Oregon Heritage, a division of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, awarded 27 matching grants worth nearly $5,000,000 to Oregon Main Street Network organizations across the state for building projects that encourage economic revitalization. Projects range from façade improvement to basic facilities and housing with awards ranging from $62,930-$200,000.

The department funded applications that best conveyed the ability to stimulate private investment and local economic development, fit within the community’s long-range plan for downtown vitality, and community need. Oregon Main Street coordinator Sheri Stuart noted, “We have seen the impact of these funds the local Main Street organizations have brought to their communities on projects to date. We are excited to support this new round of projects and the potential to enhance and support downtowns across the state.”

Funded projects include:
• Several projects will address a variety of preservation needs from window repair to electrical and plumbing including projects by Baker City Downtown, City of Reedsport, City of Maupin, Medford Downtown Association, Klamath Falls Downtown Association, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District for projects in Wallowa, Oregon Frontier Chamber of Commerce for a project in Spray, and Weston Area Development Association.
• Several projects were for housing increases or improvements including projects Albany Downtown Association, Independence Downtown Association, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District for a project in Enterprise, Salem Main Street Association and St. Helens Main Street Alliance.
• Façade restoration projects by the cities of Cornelius, Maupin, North Bend and Woodburn, Friends of La Grande Main Street, Oregon Frontier Chamber of Commerce for a project in Condon, and The Dalles Main Street.
• Structural and roof prepare projects were approved for Albany Downtown Association, Astoria Downtown Historic District Association, Dallas Downtown Association, and McMinnville Downtown Association.
• Projects by Harney County Opportunity Team and Pendleton Downtown Association will increase and improve lodging options.
• New construction will be funded in Dayton.

The grant program was created during the 2015 legislative session, and placed with the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. The legislation established a permanent fund for the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant, and provided an initial infusion of funds from the sale of lottery bonds. The legislature included the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant in the lottery bond package approved in 2021. If funded by the 2023 state legislature, there will be future grant rounds in the 24-25 biennium. The funds must be used to award grants to participating Oregon Main Street Network organizations to acquire, rehabilitate or construct buildings to facilitate community revitalization. The program also requires that at least 50 percent of the funds go to rural communities as defined in the bill.

To learn more about the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant or the Oregon Main Street Network, visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at Kuri.gill@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-0685. — https://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=144041


Officer Involved Shooting – Press Release from Medford Police Dept. 

On Saturday evening, May 27th, 2023 at about 6:45 PM, the Medford Police Department received a call from residents in the area of the 1500-block of Angelcrest Drive advising of a burglary in progress. The caller reported that an unknown male was armed with a firearm and was entering and removing property from a home that was unoccupied.

Multiple Medford Police Officers responded to the area and the first officer was on scene within 6 minutes of the initial call. 11 minutes after officers arrived, it was announced over the radio that shots had been fired by officers. Substantial aid was rendered to the suspect by officers on scene before medical personnel could arrive. The suspect was transported to a local hospital where he is being treated for his injuries.

The Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) was activated and responded to the scene. This team is comprised of investigators and attorneys from the Medford Police Department, Oregon State Police, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. Per protocols, the Oregon State Police will be the lead investigation agency on this case. Currently, the names of the officers and the suspect are not being released.

Any media inquiries in regards to the criminal investigation should be made to the Oregon State Police.


JUN 3 AT 5 AM – JUN 4 AT 9 PM

Free Fishing Weekend, June 3-4, 2023

Everyone can fish, clam and crab for free in Oregon on Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend of June.
No fishing/shellfish licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement or Two-Rod Validation) are required on those two days (June 3-4, 2023). Both Oregon residents and nonresidents can fish for free. Oregon State Parks also offers free parking and camping on Saturday, June 3.
All other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions. See the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations (https://www.eregulations.com/oregon) for rules. Remember to check for any in season regulation changes at the Recreation Report (https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report) especially for salmon and steelhead fishing. Click on the zone where you want to fish and then click the “Regulation Updates” tab to see the in-season changes.
The Recreation Report is updated weekly and features the best bests for fishing for the upcoming week.
Expect lots of extra rainbow trout to be stocked in Oregon’s lakes for the weekend; more fish are stocked during the next two weeks (for Memorial Day and June Free Fishing Weekend) than at any other time of year. See the trout stocking schedule (https://myodfw.com/fishing/species/trout/stocking-schedule) for more information.
It’s also a great weekend to try clamming or clamming. This year, June free fishing days coincide with a minus tide (with low tides on the coast getting below the average low water mark by one or even two feet), creating ideal conditions for clamming. MyODFW.com has all the information you need to get started clamming or crabbing including maps of locations and how-to’s.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture regularly tests shellfish and closes areas when naturally occurring biotoxins get to levels that make crabs and clams unsafe to eat. As of today, razor clamming is open from Tillamook Head (just south of Seaside) north to the Washington border but closed south of Tillamook head to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. Crabbing is open coastwide.
Closures can happen quickly and may change before Free Fishing Weekend. Remember to call the ODA Shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 or check their Shellfish page (https://www.oregon.gov/…/pages/shellfishclosures.aspx) before you go.
ODFW staff and a number of fishing organizations will host events throughout the state on Free Fishing Weekend, bringing all the gear beginners need to get started. Staff and volunteers will hand out fishing equipment and be available to teach how to bait, cast, land and clean your catch.
Events are being held at following events and times, see the Family Fishing Events page (https://myodfw.com/…/family-fishing-events-free-fishing…) for more information.
Saturday, June 3
• Alsea, Oregon Hatchery Research Center, 7 a.m-2 p.m.
• Camp Sherman, Wizard Falls Hatchery, 9 a.m.-noon (for ages 10 and younger)
• Enterprise, Marr Pond, 8 a.m.-noon
• Estacada, Small Fry Lake, Promontory Park, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (for ages 17 and younger)
• Eugene, Alton Baker Park, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
• Gaston, Henry Hagg Lake, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Silverton at Silverton Reservoir, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
• Sutherlin, Cooper Creek Reservoir, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Toledo, Olalla Reservoir, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Ukiah, Twin Ponds, 9 a.m.-noon. Note trophy trout will not be stocked for this event due to disease concerns with these trout; other legal-size trout will be stocked.
Sunday, June 4
• Lake Marie, Reedsport, Noon- 5 p.m.

Six tips to keep campfires safe and enjoyable this season

Gathering around the campfire is a highlight for many visitors at Oregon State Parks. If you follow some basic guidelines, you can enjoy this tradition safely and reduce the risk of injury and wildfires.

Wildfire is a real danger in Oregon despite the wet and snowy spring. That’s why the No. 1 precaution you can take is to follow posted fire restrictions. At times, campfires and other open flames may be banned in campgrounds or on the beach.

Campfire at Minam State Recreation Area

Restrictions can happen at any time and with little warning, depending on conditions. Be sure to research conditions for the area near where you’re camping just before you head out. Fire restrictions may be in place at the park, county or state level. The Oregon State Parks website will post the latest information about campfires in state parks.

Restrictions may be in place even though the park is far from any wildfires. When wildfires rage, emergency responders and firefighters need to be on the front lines. We ask campers to do their part to make sure an emergency at the campground doesn’t pull resources from the statewide firefighting effort.

“If you’re camping with children or others who are new to outdoor recreation, it’s particularly important to review campfire safety practices,” said Chris Havel, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) associate director. “If you have a question or a concern, talk with a park ranger or camp host.”

OPRD offers these six tips for a safe and enjoyable campfire:

  1. Maintain campfire flames at knee height (no more than 2 feet high). A smaller flame helps prevent embers from rising into the trees or dry vegetation. If you see the wind stirring up embers, play it safe and put the fire out.
  2. In a state park campground, only build campfires in the existing fire ring in your campsite. Fire rings are placed in areas with buffer zones and away from vegetation.
  3. Always keep plenty of water on hand to safely put out the campfire. Douse the flames with water and stir the embers to make sure everything is wet. The stirring step is important: ash and wood debris often maintain heat. Repeat these steps until the fire no longer emits heat.
  4. Beach campfires should be on open sand and away from driftwood or vegetation and use only natural wood, rather than pallets or anything else that might have hidden nails or screws. Slowly pour water on your beach fire to put it out. Pouring water too quickly can cause hot sand to fly up. Don’t use sand to put out a beach fire. Covering the fire with sand will insulate the coals, keeping them hot enough to burn someone hours or days later.
  5. For propane fire rings, follow the same safety precautions you would with a log-based campfire. The use of propane fire rings may be restricted depending on local conditions.
  6. Make sure everyone in your campsite is familiar with campfire safety, including children. Always keep an eye on your campfire; many accidental fires are started because campers left their fire unattended for “just a minute.”

In addition to keeping your campfire safe, it’s also important to make sure your wood is free from invasive insects to keep our forests safe from the deadly emerald ash borer and other pests. Please do not bring firewood from outside the local area. Buy local firewood within 10 miles of your destination or buy certified heat-treated firewood.

During May, the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, the Office of Emergency Management, Keep Oregon Green, the U.S. Forest Service, OPRD and other federal, state and local emergency and response agencies are encouraging the public to work together in their local communities to prevent the risk of wildfire.

Information about recreation and wildfire safety is at keeporegongreen.org. Visit stateparks.oregon.gov for information about Oregon State Parks including fire restrictions and safety guidelines.


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