BEND, OR -- The start of the outdoor recreation season begins this weekend.
Forest Service officials ask visitors to be mindful of wildfire as they head out to campgrounds and recreation spots.
“Campfires are allowed across the Deschutes National Forest. We don’t currently have any fire restrictions in place. That being said we have moved to a moderate fire danger level. So, we do want to remind folks they need to be fully extinguishing their campfire before they leave it unattended. And that means making sure it’s cold to the touch,” Jaimie Olle with the Deschutes National Forest says no prescribed burns are scheduled through the long weekend.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department released tips for having safe fires.
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.
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.”
Olle says there are also many high-elevation destinations still under snow, “While the Cascade Lakes highway has opened for the full route there are several areas where there is no place to park and pull off. So, folks should be mindful and if they’re looking for a hike or some type of activity, they might choose a lower elevation. Most campgrounds, trailheads, and day-use areas right along the Cascade Lakes Highway and those higher elevation areas are still inaccessible without parking access.”
The Forest Service has a list of what’s open and what’s not at their website.