The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance, your local health and Medicare agents.
Friday, June 2nd, 2023
Klamath Basin Weather
Sunny, with a high near 78. West wind around 6 mph. Mostly clear overnight with a low around 47 degrees.
A local high school senior died Tuesday at Lake of the Woods according to statements from the Klamath County School District and Klamath County Sheriff’s Office.
Presumed drowned, Ryan Dotson, 18, died at Lake of the Woods in Klamath County.
KCSO Public Information Officer Brandon Fowler said the call came in just after 11 a.m. Fowler said no further information is available at this time.
The county school district notified students and families in a message distributed online Tuesday.
No information about the incident was released from the Sheriff’s office in regards to the circumstances of the tragedy. The school district announcement also said professional support services are available for students and staff at Henley and Mazama high schools through the end of the day yesterday.
For additional information on support provisions, contact District Crisis Team Lead, Stacey Ramirez, at 541-281-8202 .
The City of Klamath Falls needs volunteers to fill vacancies on city boards, committees and health authorities.
Committee and board members are selected from a pool of applicants and appointed by the mayor and city council. Applications will be accepted until vacancies are filled. To apply, complete the application form available at klamathfalls.city/316/Committee-Openings. Completed forms must be returned to the office of the City Manager, 500 Klamath Ave.
City staff said the purpose of the marijuana advisory committee is to advise the city council on matters of policy and regulations as it applies to the community.
The committee makeup includes one member from the city planning commission, five city residents and two possible county residents.
The committee has four vacancies in need of filling: two by city residents and two by Klamath County residents.
City Ordinance 18-12 requires the majority of committee members to hold Oregon marijuana licenses, be license applicants or have knowledge or experience of the marijuana industry.
Committee members serve four-year terms unless appointed to fill an unexpired term.
Three appointees will serve full terms, and one appointment will fulfill a two-year, unexpired term.
The marijuana advisory committee holds public meetings every quarter with additional meetings scheduled as needed.
The city’s intercommunity hospital authority (IHA) is comprised of five citizens and one member of the city council.
There is one vacancy on the board after one member stepped down earlier this month.
Appointed by the mayor and city council, the selected board member will serve an unexpired term of two years ending June 30, 2025.
IHA members inform and provide recommendations to the city council on medical services and facilities offered and needed within the city of Klamath Falls.
The intended purpose of the IHA is to establish and maintain effective, sufficient medical support for the community and for hospital administration and staff.
According to the city website, members must file with the State of Oregon Ethics Commission to qualify.
The Klamath Falls Parks Advisory Board is a seven-member board which currently has one vacancy.
The usual term length is four years, city staff said, but the current vacancy is for an unexpired term which ends in June 2024.
The Parks Advisory Board is responsible for advising the city council on all matters related to city-owned parks.
Board members meet monthly from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second Thursday at 500 Klamath Ave.
The six-person Parking District Committee is in need of two volunteers to fill vacancies.
The composition of the committee requires four city residents or four people who own or operate businesses within the district’s boundaries. The maximum number of committee members who do not live within city limits is two.
One vacancy is for a full, four-year term, while the other will serve until June 30, 2025.
Committee meetings are held publicly at 8 a.m. the third Tuesday of each month at 500 Klamath Ave. in the downstairs conference room.
One of the great Summer events is back in downtown Klamath Falls for the Summer.
The highly anticipated Third Thursdays organized by the Klamath Falls Downtown Association, now in its 10th year, will offer residents and visitors those third Thursday memorable evenings of entertainment, art, food, music and local culture, showcasing the city’s unique spirit and fostering a sense of togetherness.
Downtown Klamath Falls will come alive on the third Thursday of June, July and August. The first one is scheduled for June 15th. Watch for them on the BasinLife.com Events Calendar on our homepage. Add your event to our homepage by clicking on the banner ad, on the right, that says Add Your Event Here”!
Commissioners to make development in Klamath County a bit easier for future companies
Responding to a request from the local development committee, during a weekly business meeting held Tuesday, May 30, the Klamath County Board of County Commissioners made a change to the Klamath County Land Development Code (Article 41 Site Plan Review) deciding that 180 days is no longer a feasible expectation for a developer to be able to obtain a building permit and thus has extended the duration to 365 days.
The board also made another change to the Land Development Code (Article 82 Camping) that reduces the number of days a person can camp on private property from 120 days down to 21 days in a six-month period. Camping on private property during an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife-sanctioned hunting season remains at 42 days allowed.
During this week’s meeting, the commissioners also officially joined the Oregon Timber Counties Coalition, an organization of counties whose economies and cultures have been directly linked to the health and management of national forests in Oregon.
The OTCC is committed to working with congressional members, forest supervisors, staff and employees on projects, proposals and plans that will increase the productivity and health of Oregon’s national forests.
Commissioner Derrick DeGroot also signed a Memorandum of Understanding which states that each participating county of OTCC (Coos, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Linn, Marion, Polk and Tillamook) will be responsible for paying an annual fee to Jamison & Sullivan for work involving the receipt of timber harvest receipts and other revenues for counties, public access to public lands and the counties involvement with forest management decisions and any other related issues.
Klamath County is being charged $15,000 for the service.
According to ORS 311.795, a county governing body may cancel all delinquent real and/or personal property taxes, interest and/or penalties of less than $10 if the cost of collection would be greater. The commissioners forgave a total of such debts that equaled $2,428.63 during the meeting.
More American Rescue Grant Funds were also released in the amount of $135,000 to the Klamath Basin Senior Citizens Center that, according to Commissioner Dave Henslee, was initially passed on due to too many other “amazing” projects, With extra funds available, the assistance can now be provided.
The project proposes to reconstruct two entrances, improve the appearance of the building’s exterior and grounds and replace carpeting throughout the center.
IdeaFest is happening at Oregon Tech
Oregon Tech welcomes the public to the IdeaFest project symposium on Friday, June 2, from 10AM-4PM. This is an annual event where students present their junior, senior, or capstone projects.
Students at Oregon Tech are known for creating interesting, innovative projects. This year, many students chose to work with businesses in the community to solve real-world problems. IdeaFest is sponsored by Klamath County Chamber of Commerce and includes project posters and demonstrations.
A selection from nearly 50 projects includes:
- UAV vector spray drone, Mechanical Engineering
- Native bees of Oregon Tech, Environmental Sciences
- RoverSub/RoboSub, Mechanical Engineering
- Use of slime molds to model pathways, Biology-Health and Mathematics
- IYS marketing and development plan, Business Marketing
- Health impacts from wildfire smoke, AIRE Center
- Catalyze Klamath third place winner Actually Confidential Attachments, Cybersecurity
- Multiplayer competitive game, Software Engineering Technology
- Robo-Cop, Mechanical Engineering
IdeaFest is free with complimentary parking. A full list of events is available at www.oit.edu/academics/ideafest
KLAMATH COUNTY PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
SCHEDULE OF MAJOR WORK FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 5, 2023
Klamath County or Utility Companies will have work crews at the following locations. Please
use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers. If you are able to avoid the work
zones, please use an alternate route for your safety and the safety of Klamath County
employees and our contractors.
UTILITY WORK WITH INTERMITTENT LANE CLOSURES
Vicinity of Stearns Elementary School
Crest Street: Clinton to Denver
Laverne Avenue: Crest to Altamont
Bobs Excavating – storm sewer work
CRACK SEAL AND PATCHING
Miscellaneous County Roads
Traffic control measures will be in place for guidance. Motorist should use alternative routes if
In general, flagging stations will be set up at the end of the work zone and delays will be 0 to 20
minutes for the motoring public. Our goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public.
Other minor work is occurring through the County but we are only listing the major items in this
announcement. There may be adjustments of work schedules due to weather or other items
outside of the County’s control (breakdown of equipment, material/resource availability, etc.)
Please do not contact the County if you do not see work occurring, it could be finished already
or will be rescheduled.
Klamath County Public Works and the Board of County Commissioners appreciate the motoring
publics’ patience during the repair season for our local roads and bridges. If you have any
questions regarding work, please contact the Public Works Department at (541) 883-4696.
Around the state of Oregon
Free Fishing Weekend, June 3-4, 2023
• 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.
• Lake Marie, Reedsport, Noon- 5 p.m.
Oregon State Fire Marshal issues grants to boost staffing ahead of wildfire season
SALEM, Ore. – To boost the number of firefighters across Oregon ahead of wildfire season, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has awarded $6 million in grants to 185 local fire agencies across the state.
The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant is in its second year. Local agencies within the Oregon structural fire service were eligible to apply for up to $35,000. The funding will allow these agencies to hire additional firefighters for the 2023 fire season. This year, small agencies, many of which depend on volunteers, were prioritized to receive funding. A list of agencies awarded funding can be found here.
“This grant is a beacon of hope for fire districts like ours, burdened by limited funding,” Mt. Angel Fire Chief Jim Trierweiler said. “It provides a lifeline, empowering us to overcome financial constraints and a shortage of volunteers. With this invaluable support, we can expand our team with skilled individuals, fortifying our mission to serve and protect our community this fire season.”
“The OSFM staffing grant has turned what has been a long-term vision and goal for McKenzie Fire and Rescue into a reality,” Chief Darren Bucich said. “Additional staffing will help us build on our ability to provide consistent alarm response, timely auto and mutual aid response, and the ability to continue to be a part of conflagrations.”
The 2022 grant was successful across the state, adding roughly 400 paid firefighters to the Oregon fire service during last summer’s wildfire season. These added resources allowed agencies to attack fires and keep them small and away from communities and added capacity to respond to other calls, ultimately saving lives. Read about the successes here.
The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant is part of a multi-pronged approach to combat wildfire in Oregon. Over the last two years, the OSFM has made strategic investments to modernize the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System and help communities be better prepared for wildfire.
This grant is part of the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative. This one-time funding was made possible through Senate Bill 762, which was signed into law in 2021.
ABOUT RESPONSE READY OREGON
The OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative was created to help bolster capacity and modernize wildfire response within the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS). The goal of Response Ready Oregon is to attack fires while they are small and keep them away from communities.
Oregon Democrats Vote to Fine Absent Senators Amid GOP Walkout
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Senate Democrats plan to start fining their absent colleagues amid a month-long Republican walkout, a move they hope will pressure boycotting lawmakers to return to the chamber as hundreds of bills languish amid the partisan stalemate.
This week marked the fifth in the Oregon Senate Republican walkout — the longest in Oregon history.
On Thursday, the senate president announced a fine for those lawmakers participating in the walkout. Meanwhile, some of those Republicans and an Independent held their own committee on accountability.
Oregonians from across the state showed up at the Capitol, not only urging senators to return to work, but also for their fellow lawmakers to hold their colleagues accountable. Many chanted “quorum” as they demanded lawmakers return and pass major legislation, now at a stalemate for a month.
In a procedural move Thursday, Democrats voted to fine senators $325 every time their absence denies the chamber the two-thirds quorum it needs to conduct business. The amount reflects lawmakers’ average daily pay, according to the office of Democratic Senate President Rob Wagner.
“Oregonians work for a living every day, and they don’t get paid when they don’t show up,” Wagner said while addressing the Senate. “We have a huge stack of bills sitting right over there on that cart, just waiting for us to take them up, to debate and to vote.”
The month-long Republican walkout — the longest-ever in the Oregon Legislature — once again prevented the Senate from reaching a quorum on Thursday. But Democratic Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber, citing an article in the state constitution, requested that the Senate compel absent members to attend and fine absentees $325 for every day a quorum isn’t reached. Her request was voted on and approved by the other Democrats present on the Senate floor.
The article of the Oregon Constitution cited by Democrats states that even if two-thirds of members are not present, “a smaller number may meet … and compel the attendance of absent members.”
Senate Republican Minority Leader Tim Knopp condemned the plan as retaliation.
Most Republican senators haven’t shown up for floor sessions since May 3, denying quorum and stalling hundreds of bills, including ones on abortion, gender-affirming care and gun control that have sparked fierce debate in the Legislature.
Knopp has said Republicans will only return to the Senate on the last day of the legislative session, June 25, to pass the budget and “bipartisan” bills.
Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek said Wednesday that her talks to end the impasse have failed and that Knopp wants the bill on abortion and gender-affirming care to be “substantially amended or dead.”
Kotek said negotiating on that measure, which has already passed the House, is not an option.
After Republicans staged previous walkouts in 2019, 2020 and 2021, voters last November approved a ballot measure by an almost 70% margin that was supposed to stop walkouts. Lawmakers with 10 or more unexcused absences would be disqualified from reelection in the next term, according to the measure’s title and summary.
But the text of the measure says disqualification applies to “the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.” Republicans are taking that as meaning that boycotters who are up for reelection in 2024 could be candidates, since their current terms end in January 2025 — with the disqualification coming for the 2028 election.
Secretary of State spokesperson Ben Morris said the department is seeking a legal opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice and will follow its advice. The Justice Department is currently working on the legal opinion, Roy Kaufmann, spokesperson for Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, said in an email Wednesday.
Republican senators are expected to file court challenges if the secretary of state’s elections division bars them from registering as candidates in September. (SOURCE)
Oregonians Rally to Back Bill Providing Food Aid for All
A rally was held in Salem Thursday to urge passage of a bill to provide food assistance to Oregonians regardless of their immigration status.
Senate Bill 610, known as Food for All Oregonians, would ensure people who are undocumented and excluded from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receive food aid in the state.
Morgan Dewey, spokesperson for the Oregon Food Bank, described the event.
“The Capitol was a beautiful backdrop for a series of speakers who shared their personal stories and organizations that are part of the 125+ organization-led coalition supporting Food for All Oregonians,” Dewey recounted.
The bill would extend aid to lawful permanent residents, U.S. Compacts of Free Association citizens and other Oregonians who arrived as immigrants or refugees.
Dewey noted more than a million people are expected to access food assistance this year. To help counteract it, the measure would help get aid to about 62,000 Oregonians.
“With food on the table, families can thrive, kids can do better in school, access to education and health care and housing becomes a little less of a worry,” Dewey outlined.
The biggest roadblock for the bill’s passage is the Senate Republican walkout. Dewey added anti-hunger advocates are urging them to return to Salem.
“We’re really calling on folks to come back and do their jobs so that pieces of legislation that will support a thriving Oregon, like SB 610 Food for All Oregonians, can pass and support our neighbors and our communities,” Dewey concluded. (SOURCE)
Employment Department Announces Weekly Benefit Amounts for Unemployment Insurance and Paid Leave Oregon
Salem, Ore. — The Oregon Employment Department announced the 2023-24 minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Paid Leave Oregon. Paid Leave Oregon is new and will begin paying benefits in September.
By law, the department calculates the minimum and maximum benefit amounts once a year. These calculations are based on Oregon’s State Average Weekly Wage and are effective from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. The State Average Weekly Wage increased from $1,224.82 to $1,269.69.
The minimum weekly benefit amount is the lowest amount the program will pay a claimant for each week they claim benefits, and the maximum benefit amount is the most the program will pay, regardless of income.
2023-24 Unemployment Insurance and Paid Leave Oregon weekly benefit amounts
|Program||Minimum weekly benefit amount||Maximum weekly benefit amount|
|Paid Leave Oregon||$63.48||$1,523.63|
Starting July 2, 2023, the minimum weekly benefit amount for new unemployment insurance claims will go from $183 to $190 per week, and the maximum weekly benefit amount will go from $783 to $813 per week. This increase only affects claims filed July 2, 2023, or later. People who file new unemployment insurance claims before July 2 will continue to receive the same benefit amount.
This is an increase of approximately 3.8%. The minimum weekly benefit amount is 15% of the State Average Weekly Wage, and the maximum is 64%. During the most recent quarter, 11.5% of recipients received the minimum weekly benefit amount, and 24.5% received the maximum.
For Unemployment Insurance, the weekly benefit amount is usually 1.25% of what a claimant earned during their “base period,” which is roughly the first 12 of the 15 months before the date they filed their claim.
Paid Leave Oregon
For Paid Leave Oregon, the minimum weekly benefit amount is 5% of the State Average Weekly Wage, and the maximum is 120%. When benefits start in September, the minimum weekly benefit amount will be $63.48, and the maximum will be $1,523.63.
Paid Leave Oregon calculates weekly benefit amounts based on how much the employee earns on average in a week and how much leave they take in a week, so the amount is different for every employee. Lower wage earners will generally receive more of their usual wages than higher wage earners.
Need help? The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. OED provides free help so you can use our services. Some examples are sign language and spoken-language interpreters, written materials in other languages, large print, audio, and other formats. To get help, please call 503- 947-1444. TTY users call 711. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
¿Necesita ayuda? El Departamento de Empleo de Oregon (OED) es una agencia de igualdad de oportunidades. El OED proporciona ayuda gratuita para que usted pueda utilizar nuestros servicios. Algunos ejemplos son intérpretes de lengua de señas e idiomas hablados, materiales escritos en otros idiomas, letra grande, audio y otros formatos. Para obtener ayuda, por favor llame al 503-947-1444. Usuarios de TTY pueden llamar al 711. También puede enviar un correo electrónico a email@example.com
Sweet Home Fire District responded to a motor vehicle accident that caused widespread power outages and caused some wiring in City Hall to catch fire.
The motor vehicle accident involved a passenger car colliding with a power pole. The damage to the power pole was severe and caused wires to hang low over highway 20. A delivery truck was traveling highway 20, behind the accident, when the power lines became caught on the truck. This caused damage to several power poles and transformers. The result was power outages to a large portion of Sweet Home.
Sweet Home Fire District crews were managing the motor vehicle accident, when reports of smoke inside City Hall came in. The Incident Commander then assumed command of the City Hall incident as well. An engine company from the motor vehicle accident was reassigned to City Hall and confirmed there was smoke inside the building. Crews were able to locate the source of smoke. It was due to some electrical wires that burned in the crawl space under City Hall. When crews located the damaged wiring, there was no active fire. Crews then used ventilation fans to remove the remaining smoke in the building.
Traffic had to be rerouted off highway 20 due to the power lines on the roadway. This included a Sweet Home Fire District ambulance that was dealing with a different medical emergency.
Other local building occupants were contacted to ensure there were no other fire issues in the surrounding area.
Hyatt Lake Boat Ramp and Wildcat Campground Opening in June
Medford, Ore. — Bureau of Land Management officials are excited to announce that the Wildcat Campground at Hyatt Lake will open June 9th. Reservations for the 12 campsites in Wildcat Loop will be available on Recreation.gov starting on Monday, June 5 for $7 per night. The Mountain View Boat Ramp will open June 16. Currently these areas are closed for hazard tree mitigation.
The Hyatt Lake Campground is located in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and was originally built in 1969. The BLM will not be opening the A, B, and C loops of the main campground for the 2023 season in order to replace aging water, sewer and electrical lines throughout the recreation area. The BLM may need to close Wildcat Campground later in the summer to accommodate construction. Funding for the repair work comes from both the Great American Outdoors Act and the BLM’s deferred maintenance fund.
Hyatt Lake is fed by snowmelt, and its water level depends on both snowfall and irrigation. This year, abundant snowfall has filled the lake to 59% capacity as of June 1. Water levels and anticipated additional runoff also allowed Oregon Department of Fish and Game to stock Hyatt Lake with sportfish this year.
LEBANON, Ore. — The annual Lebanon Strawberry Festival is back for its 114th year from June 1- 4 at Cheadle Lake Park.
The celebration began in 1909 to celebrate the berry harvest. It’s the second longest running festival in Oregon.
All guests get the chance to try a complimentary piece of the worlds largest strawberry shortcake.
Thursday will have a Veterans presentation and coronation of the official Strawberry Queen.
Friday will see a junior parade, carnival and live music.
Saturday will include a bike ride and fireworks, and Sunday will offer a church service.
Visit the National Touring Exhibition: The Legend of Bob Hope, at the Oregon Historical Society now through August 18th, 2023
Entertainer Bob Hope elicited laughs across all media: through radio waves, on the stage, and on the screen, in both television and film.
But none of them mattered more than the humor he injected into American camps across the globe during World War II as the Allies struggled to save the world for democracy.
Using multimedia elements and captivating storytelling — including objects, films, rare photographs, and an interactive display — So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hopehighlights how Hope helped lift the human spirit during one of the darkest times in American history. This national touring exhibition is on loan from The National WWII Museum and is on display at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, now through August 18, 2023.
Bob Hope came to the United States as an immigrant with his family in the early 1920s, initially working as a newsboy, butcher’s assistant, shoe salesman, and amateur boxer. Hope went on to eventually shape his art on the vaudeville stage, and by the start of World War II, he was just emerging as one of America’s most popular radio and film stars. When the nation went to war in 1941, Hollywood recognized the need for contributions and responded by entertaining troops, raising funds, and boosting morale. Hope’s work quickly took on new meaning when he took his wartime programs on the road to military camps and bases across the country, inspiring other entertainers to join him.
Exploring Hope’s major tours and travels during World War II, So Ready for Laughter features nearly fifty objects and also includes an original 11-minute documentary produced by award-winning filmmaker John Scheinfeld. Highlights include rare and unpublished photographs of Hope, wartime correspondence between Hope and servicemembers, WWII-era objects engraved to Hope, videos of his traveling wartime troupe, and Hollywood Victory Caravan programs and scrapbooks. Supported by national tour exhibit sponsor the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope tells the story of the entertainer’s unique place in World War II history and beyond.
The Oregon Historical Society’s museum is open seven days a week, Monday–Saturday 10am–5pm and Sunday 12pm–5pm. Admission is $10, with discounts for students, seniors, teachers, and youth. Admission is free every day for OHS members and Multnomah County residents. Learn more and plan your visit at ohs.org/visit.
About the Oregon Historical Society
For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of objects, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories.
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.
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 websitewill 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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