Close The Campgrounds

It seems like forever that wildfires have ravaged Oregon in the mid to late summer. Days of smoke, ash and toxic air are the new Oregon summer. Our state has responded by bolstering fire fighting equipment and human resources, which are vitally necessary. I wonder if more shouldn’t be done for fire prevention. Climate or global warming may not be controllable without major changes in the way we live and want things.

There are, however, things that can be done while we tackle those life altering changes. Closing all Oregon and national campgrounds after late June or early July, for example, would eliminate the many fires caused by human activity in the forests. Not all wildfires are caused by downed power lines or lightning strikes. 

As an example, our neighbors (a family of four) told us about an experience they had this summer. They went to Bedrock Campground, which they’d reserved for several nights. When they arrived at the campground, they were confronted with lots of garbage strewn around and many people outside the official campground who had set up shelters around the actual campground. Unlike the official campground where campers were following fire rules, these campers were not using the required fire rings and had many large illegal fires going much of the day.

When our neighbors left the campground two days before the Bedrock Fire broke out, they even noticed a vehicle on fire near the state campground. 

One wonders how many of our current wildfires started near campgrounds. Closing all campgrounds is drastic, but another summer of smoke, ash and lost resources is even more serious for our citizens.

Hal Huestis

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