"Forests are no place for fireworks and in fact are illegal on federal and state public lands," says Friends of the Columbia Gorge Executive Director Kevin Gorman.
Burt Edwards, communications director | 703.861.8237 (Cell) | firstname.lastname@example.org (email)
PORTLAND, OR – Land managers around the Pacific Northwest are preparing for what could be another tough year for wildfires. With all of the six counties that make up the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Gorge in a state of drought—and with most of the Scenic Area categorized as in a state of moderate, severe, or extreme by the U.S. Drought Monitor—extra care is called for as we approach the July 4th weekend.
In advance of the July 4th holiday weekend, Friends of the Columbia Gorge Executive Director Kevin Gorman, in a special blog, urged the public to celebrate responsibly in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and around the Pacific Northwest:
"As the climate changes, it is critical that all of us—Scenic Area county residents, tourists, campers, and day-hikers alike—take extreme care and act as responsible stewards for our public lands in the Columbia Gorge. Forests are no place for fireworks and in fact are illegal on federal and state public lands."
"Be sure to follow all local advisories, and if campfires are allowed by local land managers, never leave a campfire unattended. And if you do hit the trails, please follow all trail closures and advisories, staying on official trails, packing out any trash with you, being courteous and considerate of others on the trail and those who live in nearby Gorge communities by observing parking restrictions."
"With our world finally opening back up, all of us are eager to enjoy the best of what the Pacific Northwest offers. But please remember that one careless action can turn an enjoyable outing into a deadly situation. Please keep fire out of your holiday plans in our great outdoors."
Read Kevin's full blog: https://gorgefriends.org/newsroom/blog/2021-06-24/heat-waves-fireworks-forests-dont-mix.html
General background information
- According to a 2017 study: "[O]ver 84% of the government-recorded wildfires were started by people from 1992 to 2012. … Americans start twice as many wildfires on July 4th as any other summer day." Source: "Human-started wildfires expand the fire niche across the United States," PNAS February 27, 2017. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/02/21/1617394114
- Information on active wildfires can be found at the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center and InciWeb -- the national incident information system: https://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/, https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
- Best Kept Secrets of Forest Fire. CRAG Law Center: https://crag.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Secrets-of-Fire-16-May-2018.pdf
- Northwest Annual Fire Report, 2020: https://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/content/pdfs/archives/2020_NWCC_Annual_Fire_Report.pdf
Hiking tips & safety information
- Ready, Set, GOrge! (Gorge Hiking Tips, Maps & More): https://www.readysetgorge.com
- Be Outdoor Safe (Fire Education & Safety Tips): https://www.beoutdoorsafe.org/, https://smokeybear.com/en
- Friends of the Columbia Gorge Web Hiking Guide: https://gorgefriends.org/hike-the-gorge/find-a-hike.html
Social media suggestions
As we near the July 4th holiday and enter peak wildfire season, Friends of the Columbia Gorge encourages members of the public to share their thoughts, experiences, and photos about wildfire safety to keep the conversation going on social media with these hashtags: #FireSafe4th | #KeepTheGorgeGreen | #PreventWildfires | #ReadySetGorge | #ColumbiaRiverGorge # # #
Friends of the Columbia Gorge is a conservation organization with over 6,000 members dedicated to protecting, preserving, and stewarding the Columbia Gorge for future generations. Friends maintains an office in Portland, Oregon, as well as in two Gorge towns—Hood River, Oregon, and Washougal, Washington.