Tillamook County Sheriff's Office (TCSO), Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and all Tillamook County fire departments are urging residents and visitors to practice fire safety and prevention as the fire danger remains high and could reach extreme if the dry weather pattern continues.
The wildfire that we reported on July 3 near Drift Creek, has rekindled and is now called the Game Hog Creek Fire. According to ODF, this fire was initially contained at 6 acres with control lines completely encircling it. However, last night, July 13, rising winds apparently caused the fire to jump the control lines. More than 100 firefighting personnel, from six ODF offices, are currently working this fire which is now estimated to be at 70 acres.
According to ODF’s Tillamook District Forester Kate Skinner, campfires are currently prohibited in the Tillamook State Forest except inside fire pits in official designated campsites.
“If you are going to have a legal campfire, please make sure you have water and a shovel to properly extinguish it,” Skinner said.
There are road and hiking trail closures in the Tillamook State Forest related to the firefighting activity, visit ODF Wildfire News (odffire.com) for more information. All OHV trails remain closed.
The Tillamook County Fire Defense Board, which is comprised the fire chiefs in the county, will initiate its seasonal burn ban beginning at midnight tonight, July 14. Fire Defense Board Chair and Nestucca Fire Chief Jim Oeder said that are a few exceptions to the ban.
“Small warming fires are allowed," Oeder said. "That would be a small fire that is just enough to roast a hot dog or burn a marshmallow.”
Oeder also stressed the importance of completely extinguishing the fire with water. “
And if you are on the beach, the warming fire must be at least 50 feet away from any vegetation,” Oeder said.
He also warns to never bury or cover a fire to extinguish it.
“If you bury a fire, it becomes a bake oven and someone will get burnt," Oeder said. "Every year, people and pets are burned by stepping on buried fires on Tillamook County beaches.”
For more information regarding this ban, visit ythe local fire district’s website and Facebook page.
TCSO Sheriff Joshua Brown urges everyone to comply with fire restrictions.
“Wildfires are already burning throughout Oregon, and now here in Tillamook County. We do not want a repeat of the dangerous wildfires we had last year,” said Brown. “Please be extra careful with fire and help protect Tillamook County.”