SALEM, Ore. – Starting today messaging boards on major Oregon highways will warn motorists of the extreme fire danger in much of the state. The signs are a collaborative effort between the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The message "Extreme Fire Danger: Use Caution" can be seen on I-5, I-84 and State Highway 97 through central Oregon and Highway 20 from Albany to Ontario. The messages will be shown during times of peak wildfire danger.
Left: Motorists along Oregon's main freeways and Highways 97 and 20 are being warned about the extreme fire danger in much of the state by signs like this one near Madras. ODF photo by Jamie Paul.
The majority of wildfires in Oregon are caused by humans, according to Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields with the Oregon Department of Forestry in Salem.
“Taking extra care to avoid any activity which might spark a fire is especially important in summer. By August, vegetation is dry and can readily catch fire even from small sparks,” he said.
Drivers should not toss cigarette butts out windows and avoid parking on dry grass, which may ignite from heat from their vehicle. For a full list of restrictions when traveling, recreating or working in forestland, visit the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Restrictions and Closures web page at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/pages/FireStats.aspx
“We appreciate the Department of Transportation helping us raise awareness among Oregonians and visitors to our state of the extreme fire danger in our forestlands,” said Fields.