SALEM, Ore. - Thousands of people planned long ago to view Monday's eclipse from an Oregon campground. One result is that developed campgrounds in and near the path of totality are full. For those last-minute eclipse-gazers heading to Oregon's wildlands, a few simple tips can ensure a safe watching experience, according to Kristin Babbs, president of Keep Oregon Green.
First, what may look like state or federal public land might actually be private property. "Private landowners are very concerned about fire starts this time of year," said Babbs. "Many have locked their gates to protect their land from the increased visitation and potential campsite-seekers during the eclipse. We ask that travelers respect individual private property owners by not pulling over on their lands, trespassing, blocking gates, camping, collecting firewood or building campfires."
By mid-August, vegetation across much of the state is tinder dry. Add warm temperatures and low humidity, and the slightest spark or flying ember can set a landscape ablaze."
Babbs has these tips to help you enjoy Oregon's wildlands and keep them green, not just during the eclipse but all summer long:
Kick the campfire habit and pack a portable camping stove. They are usually allowed when campfires are not. For more information on campfire and other restrictions, go to www.keeporegongreen.org/current-conditions. IF campfires are allowed at your destination, make sure the fire is completely out and cool to the touch before leaving the site.
Don't park on dry vegetation. If you must pull off the road, stay on shoulder pavement or gravel. The contact from your vehicles hot exhaust system can easily ignite dry grass, weeds and brush.
No fireworks and no sky lanterns.
Lastly, do your part to ensure that your campsites are kept clean of garbage and litter. Pack it in, pack it out and leave no trace.
For more wildfire prevention information, visit www.keeporegongreen.org or visit their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages via @keeporegongreen.