A few careless recreationists courted disaster on the Tillamook State Forest during the Labor Day holiday. Follow-up fire patrols found 20 campfires abandoned and left burning over the three-day weekend. Two of the campfires spread into small wildfires but were stopped by Oregon Department of Forestry personnel, said ODF's Randy Peterson. "Twelve of them were in areas designated for campfires," he said, "while eight were found burning in areas that are totally off-limits to open fires."
The recreation coordinator reminded recreationists that a campfire must be monitored at all times to ensure safety. Even if a fire is sited and built properly, leaving it unattended even for a few minutes can allow a spark to ignite nearby vegetation. The parched conditions in the forest have left grass, shrubs and trees vulnerable to burn.