Fire danger levels raised to ‘moderate’

Due to a historically dry spring and unseasonably warm temperatures, Willamette National Forest officials have raised fire danger levels from “low” to “moderate.”

This transition serves notice that risk of fire is increasing and the public needs to be extra vigilant on forest lands, the U.S. Forest Service said in an announcement, which also included the Siuslaw National Forest.

“From the coast to the Cascade mountains, there’s been little rainfall over the last month,” said Eric Miller, acting fire staff officer for the Northwest Oregon Interagency Fire Management Organization.

“We’ve already had small fires on both National Forest-managed land and near-by state and private lands in northwest Oregon. Our fire crews and aviation resources stand ready, but we need the public’s help to decrease human-caused fire starts.”

No public-use restrictions are currently in place, but Forest Service officials urge caution while recreating in the woods. Campfires should be contained in pre-existing or robust fire rings with a shovel and water in reach.

The fire should also be kept small and at least 5 feet away from any flammable material, including overhanging tree limbs. Campfires should never be left unattended, and any burning materials should be cold to the touch before leaving the area.

Fire restrictions can change quickly. The public is encouraged to “Know Before You Go” and to check local conditions before visiting forest lands. To report a wildfire, please call 9-1-1.

Additional fire information is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/willamette/fire.