Fire emergency declaration prompts campfire ban at all state parks

Valley of the Rogue State Park, Ore. — Fire season is impacting campers across Oregon.

Starting Thursday, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is prohibiting campfires and open flames in all state park properties.

“Just a little spark is all it takes to make that grass flame up very quickly,” Parks Manager Nathan Seable said.

After Governor Brown’s declaration of a fire emergency on Wednesday, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has issued a statewide ban on campfires and open flames in all state park properties.

“Things like charcoal, or wood fuels are banned and should not be used,” Seable said.

The only flames still permitted are ones that can be shut off with a valve like a propane stove.

Park Manager Nathan Seable says it’s typical for Oregon State Parks to have a fire ban every year, but this year it came a lot sooner than usual.

“Fire fuels are so dry right now… Even ahead of where we were last year at this time,” Seable said.

The result is creating a disappointing situation for campers.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do… About all the meat that we have,” Portland resident Aden Debord said.

Portland resident Aden Debord says he has a propane skillet, but it hasn’t been working.

He says the fires have negatively impacted his month-long journey around Oregon in multiple ways.

“This whole trip that I’m doing was supposed to be two weeks longer, but the fires canceled one of the campgrounds that I was supposed to go to and guard at,” Debord said.

Even if there is smoke and other unfortunate circumstances, Seable hopes people will continue to enjoy the public lands that Jackson and Josephine counties have to offer.

“All of the state park properties in Josephine and Jackson counties are still open to the public. We’re just asking people to take a little higher level of precaution so that we don’t add to the fire problems that our firefighting agencies are already dealing with,” Seable said.

The statewide fire ban is expected to last one week.

Then it will be evaluated again depending on weather, resource conditions, and input from Oregon Department of Forestry.

It is important to note that some local and county parks may have even more restrictions depending on the conditions of the area, so be sure to check online before arriving at your campsite.

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