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In 2012, Oregon held the #2 spot for highest number of acres burned in national wildfires. 1,256,049 acres were burned in Oregon in 2012. Washington sat in the #12 spot with 259,526 acres burned. While wildfires are less frequent than many states, the dense foliage in our incredibly green area causes serious destruction from the rapid spread when one does hit.

With the terrible tragedy in Arizona, where 19 firefighters lost their lives in a wildfire, staying safe this summer is of the utmost importance. Do your part by adhering to the following fire safety tips when you go camping this year!

Tips from

Campfires are the nation's leading cause of children's camping injuries, and the primary catalyst for damaging forest fires. Campfire building may be safely undertaken if you practice proper burning techniques and safety measures to protect yourself and our national forests.

Prepare Your Fire Site
  • Check the weather forecast. Weather fluctuations, such as sudden gusts of wind, could make burning debris spark a wildfire.
  • A safe burning site will be far away from power lines, overhanging limbs, buildings, automobiles, equipment, rotten stumps, shrubs, dry grass and leaves. The fire should have a vertical clearance of at least three times the height of the pile, as heat from the fire extends far past the actual flames that you see.
  • The ground around the fire or burn site should be surrounded by gravel or dirt for at least ten feet in all directions. Keep the surrounding area watered down.
  • Keep the fire in a contained unit such as a burn barrel, BBQ unit, hibachi or a small pit with rocks around it. Building a fire directly on the ground can allow the fire to spread underground through root systems or decaying material.
Safely Start the Fire
  • When building a fire, start with dry twigs and small sticks. Add larger sticks as the fire builds up. Put the largest pieces of wood on last, pointing them towards the center of the fire, and gradually push them into the flames
  • Never use flammable liquids to ignite or keep your fire burning. Avoid gasoline, diesel fuel, lighter fluid and other dangerous fuels.
  • After lighting the fire, do not discard the match until it is cold. Douse it with water to be sure.
  • Keep campfires small and do not let them get out of hand. The suggested size is 2' x 2' x 2'.
  • Stack extra firewood upwind, away from the fire.
Stay Safe Around Fires
  • Never allow children or pets near the fire and do not leave them unsupervised.
  • Teach kids how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have a fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies and teach children how to use it.
  • Keep plenty of water nearby and have a shovel for throwing sand on the fire if it gets out of control.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could quickly cause the fire to spread.
  • When extinguishing the fire, drown it with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix plenty of soil and sand in the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cooled.
  • Do not bury your coals, they can smolder and start to burn again.

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