Central Oregon is a beautiful place with lots of forests, but sometimes fire can threaten to take all of this away. August is one of those times when central Oregon – including a city like Maupin -- is in danger of fires. Fortunately, if everyone is aware of the risk, they can work to prevent fires and protect Maupin recreation locations from the dangers of fire.
Authorities Issue Fire Warnings
Fire departments around central Oregon have issued warnings of a risk of fire. Specifically, the level of fire danger and risk has increased to extreme, and this is cause for worry. In fact, the National Weather Service, the most trusted authority in the United States of America for monitoring weather and natural weather disasters, reported that the risk for fire is high.
Back on August 1st, the National Weather Service said that gusty winds and low humidity in Oregon would make fire more likely, and that “any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.” The dry air means that fires won’t have any natural deterrent and will burn more intensely. So, what can citizens and visitors to Oregon do?
Prevention is Paramount
Ask any firefighter -- or Smokey the Bear, for that matter -- and they’ll tell you that preventing fires is much easier than putting them out. In Deschutes County, authorities are now threatening to punish people for any preventable fires that get started. For example, backyard debris fires are strictly prohibited.
And as long as the fire danger level is at extreme, there are no first offense warnings. If you start a fire in your backyard within city limits, you’ll be fined $500. Starting campfires, warning fires, or cooking fires, made within guidelines by fire authorities, is still legal but not recommended. In high desert towns like Maupin, any fires could be catastrophic if they spread.
Here’s one more prevention tip. If you smoke, be sure to absolutely dispose of your cigarette in a non-combustible container. Cigarettes thrown into dry brush might as well be a Molotov cocktail while the fire danger warning level is at extreme.
Living in Oregon during Wildfire Season
August in Oregon always comes with forest fires, and in most places, you’ll be able to smell if there’s smoke in the air. If you have lung problems, consider staying inside as much as possible. If you live near dry forests, be sure to have an escape plan and a fire insurance policy. Also, remove all flammable liquids in your house, or at least contain them with extra caution.
If you want to start any fire, for any reason, the safest thing to do is call your fire department or forest protection office. They’ll have suggestions and guidelines on how to contain the risk.