ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The early-season fires are troubling for forest services like the Douglas Forest Protective Association.
The DFPA has been monitoring those fires that have already devastated areas of the state.
Officials said if nothing else, they show that predictions about a likely dangerous summer are right on track.
In addition to the Graham, Boxcar, Jack Knife, and Rufus fires, which have already burned over 100,000 acres, the DFPA has had to battle 26 fires in their area.
DFPA official Kyle Reed said those fires have burned anywhere from 25 to 28 acres of land.
“That sounds like it’s not that many. But when you consider how early we are in the summer, that is a little bit alarming,” Reed said. “We’ve been seeing quite a few fires happen in places they shouldn’t happen: a little bit higher in elevation and different things, and on the north slopes where things should be a little greener and a little wetter.”
Those fires, and the big ones in other parts of the state, have the DFPA concerned about the coming summer months.
“When we start seeing those fires this early in the summer getting that large already, it kind of pops out some red flags and just reinforces all the information we’ve already received on the fuel conditions and the drought conditions and all that,” Reed said. “It gives us some sort of idea of where we’re heading this summer.”
Reed said though they’ve been able to keep these local fires relatively small, the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations tend to spark up a few more fires.
To try to keep that from happening, Reed asks the public to be mindful about where they’re lighting fireworks.
“So, the big thing is keep them out of the forest. But even if you are in town, that doesn’t mean fireworks can’t start a fire there because there’s dry grass and vegetation there as well,” Reed said. “So, you need to have a spot where nothing is going to burn. You know, asphalt, pavement, stuff like that -- concrete. Have a water source on-site, a bucket of water, a charged garden hose.”
Reed also said if you’re going to be traveling to different areas of the state, be sure to check their fire danger levels and the restrictions they have in place as they may be different than what you see in the area you live in.