McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

Recreation on private forests hinges on fire conditions


September 7, 2012

2.3 million acres to public access as a fire prevention measure

Chart of lands closed for fire dangerEarly fall is one of the best times to visit Oregon's forests. The sunny days and cool evenings set the stage for an enjoyable experience, whatever the recreational pursuit. To assure this natural legacy will be there for future outings, please be mindful of fire safety. Drought conditions across much of the region have sapped trees, shrubs and grasses of moisture, creating a fuel bed primed to burn. It will take more than morning dew or even a rain shower to reduce the wildfire hazard.

Private forest owners have closed about 2.3 million acres to public access as a fire prevention measure. But a break in the current dry weather could prompt them to reopen their lands.

"Most land managers recognize and support the variety of recreational experiences the public can have on private lands," said Mike Dykzeul with the Oregon Forest Industries Council. "We hope the coming week's weather patterns will bring some much-needed rains to reduce fire danger and minimize access restrictions."

Deer season opens Sept. 29

Hunters planning to go afield for the western Oregon deer season that opens Sept. 29 are advised to check the "corporate closures" list on the Oregon

Department of Forestry's Internet site,, regularly to learn the access status of large private timberlands.

For an update on fire safety restrictions for private and non-federal public forestlands, call the Oregon Department of Forestry field office nearest your destination. Office phone numbers can be found at:

As hunters prepare their gear for the upcoming season, fire officials are quick to caution against the use of exploding targets and incendiary ammunition, or tracer rounds, which have been known to cause fires. These products are also prohibited during fire season throughout much of the state.

"It doesn't take much to spark a fire this time of year," says Oregon Department of Forestry's Fire Prevention Coordinator, Tom Fields. "We've been very fortunate so far considering we've gone an entire summer with little to no precipitation. Now is not the time to let our guard down and ruin an otherwise successful season."

McKenzie River Reflections


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