High fire danger is prompting fire restrictions in the Deschutes National Forest going into Labor Day weekend.
The U.S. Forest Service will today or Friday announce the details of restrictions on smoking and campfires in nonwilderness areas. They will take effect at the start of Saturday, said Chris Sabo, trails and recreation specialist for the Deschutes forest.
While the weather is expected to be cooler into the weekend, with lows in the 30s at higher elevations, it will also remain dry. To limit forest fire concerns, campfires will likely be limited to certain campgrounds. Sabo emphasized that even at designated campsites and in wilderness areas, people are required to completely extinguish fires before departing, whether that be for a short hike or for home.
“We’re regularly putting out abandoned fires," he said. “Some of them do creep out of the contained fire ring."
Certain high-use spots in wilderness areas already have standing fire bans, including Green Lakes, Mirror Lakes and South Sister. High traffic is expected in those areas through the weekend. Sabo asked that people camp only in designated sites in the lake basins, follow dog-leash rules and use leave-no-trace practices, particularly when it comes to sanitation.
Sabo also said recreationists should be prepared when they hit the trail, particularly since the weather is now transitioning from summer to fall.
“We see poorly prepared people every year going up South Sister," he said. “That just sets up a scenario in which search and rescue needs to be called."
Forest fires continue to ignite and burn throughout Oregon. Learn about the latest fire activity and trail closures before heading out by checking www.inciweb.org.
In other areas of the national forest, Road 370 to the Broken Top Trailhead opened last week. Beyond the trailhead, however, the road will remain closed for about more three weeks.
Trails are now reopened along the Metolius River. The Abbot Creek Road will be closed in the coming days while a bridge is being replaced.