News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Small fire is a warning to campers

Two small fires serve as a warning to campers as the region heads into dangerous fire weather.

Fire crews jumped quickly on a small brush fire southeast of town on July 4. According to Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid, the fire that broke out on Thursday afternoon off the 4606 road between Sisters and the Rodeo Grounds “sounds like it was caused by ashes that were disposed of that were still hot.”

The area sees a mix of recreational campers and forest dwellers. Reid said that the person responsible for the hot ash disposal was a “non-recreational camper.” Over the weekend, USFS personnel issued a citation to the person responsible.

Crews were able to hold the fire to a 10th of an acre.

Firefighters contained another small fire at 3/4-acre in the forest southwest of Sisters on Friday afternoon, July 5. The fire was located off the 1514 road north of Chush Falls in the Whychus Creek drainage. According to Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid, the cause of that fire was not clear and under investigation. As of Sunday morning, Reid told The Nugget that the fire, which started in a popular recreational and dispersed camping area, was human-caused, but of undetermined origin.

Sisters Ranger District personnel remain on high alert as high temperatures and low humidities make for dangerous fire weather.

That means a high-profile patrol presence in the forest, where personnel are reminding campers that campfires are currently allowed ONLY in developed campgrounds in a metal fire ring. (There are also some very limited areas in the Three Sisters Wilderness where campfires are still allowed.)

“You can use a propane stove, but you cannot use charcoal briquets, either,” Reid said.

Fireworks, tracer ammunition or explosives are always banned. Smoking is currently prohibited except inside a vehicle.

“You can’t smoke in the general forest right now,” Reid said. “Anyone who sees illegal activities in the forest should report them immediately.”

“It’s kind of an emergency deal right now,” he said.

Reid also noted that drivers should be especially mindful of where they park when visiting the woods. Hot engine parts or exhaust that come into contact with dry grass are a recipe for fire-starts.

“The cheatgrass is so stinkin’ tall right now,” he said.

Local residents are nervous about the potential for fire burning into local communities, after seeing the impact of the Darlene 3 Fire that threatened La Pine, which started in the vicinity of a homeless camp. Bureau of Land Management told local media that the agency doesn’t yet know specifically how the fire started, who started it, or whether it started in the camp or near it.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit www.frontierpartisans.com.

 

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