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Oregon fire officials raise danger level to ‘high’ across western part of state

by Zach Urness, Salem (Ore.) Statesman-Journal |

The Oregon Department of Forestry raised the fire danger level to high across most of Western Oregon following weeks of hot and dry conditions.

With drought spread across 75 percent of the state and temperatures approaching 90 degrees on a regular basis, runaway wildfires will become a major concern over August and September. 

The increased fire danger level means activities such as debris burning and campfires are more restricted to avoid human-caused blazes, the agency said. 

See ODF's map for specific county-by-county limits: 

“Fighting fires in hot and dry conditions is extremely taxing on those who are trained to protect our lands from fire,” said Chet Behling, ODF Western Lane District Unit Forester. “We are asking that our public remain mindful of this as they conduct activities throughout the coming days.”

A handful of small wildfires ignited during thunderstorms on Monday, bringing the closure of five hiking trails in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness.

However, no major blazes have yet popped up during a season in which COVID-19 will complicate firefighting efforts.