It's true: You can prevent forest fires

It's true: You can prevent forest fires »Play Video
Fire on Highway 126. Photo by Shawn Litson

EUGENE, Ore. - Hot, dry weather and winds made it difficult for fire crews to contain dozens of fires over the weekend.

Many of those fires started with outdoor debris pile burns that got out of control.

The Lane Regional Air Protection Authority and the Lane Fire Defense Board have banned backyard and outdoor burning until further notice after a dozen such fires burned out of control in Lane County alone.

"A wind-driven fire actually creates and dries things out as it moves along," said Dean Chappall, fire inspector for the Lane Fire Authority. "Winds are the worst thing."

Fire crews also face a challenge mustering enough people power to put ot the flames, especially in rural fire districts staffed by volunteers.

Lowell Fire has 23 volunteers, but getting them out this past weekend to a fire was very difficult.

"There are times when certain volunteers are out of town or busy with time commitments and it's nice to have a wide pool of people to choose from," said Jonathan Woodland, a South Lane volunteer firefighter.

Chappall said people just need to be aware of their fires in order to prevent them from going out of control.

"You just need to use common sense if you're going to be doing backyard burning, camp fires, anything - make sure these fires are dead out," he said.

Volunteer firefighters like Woodland hope you'll do your part to prevent a fire but said they'll be there just in case.

"In a small community, knowing the people you're helping a lot of the times is very rewarding to see people at their absolute worst and then provide relief and comfort or ultimately the help they need," Woodland said.