Campfires Will Be Prohibited in the Gorge and Metro-Area National Forests Due to Wildfire Risk

“We are seeing conditions that are more common to August.”

If you’re planning to celebrate Fourth of July weekend by spending a few nights sleeping in the woods, pack a camping stove if you want a hot meal: Starting this week, all open fires will be prohibited across most forestland around the Portland metro area.

Due to bone-dry conditions and temperatures forecast to be in the 90s, land managers say that they need to enact the ban on traditional wood-burning campfires as well as those made with charcoal, briquets or pellets.

“We are seeing conditions that are more common to August,” Dirk Shupe, fire management staff officer for the Gifford Pinchot and Mount Hood national forests, said in a news release. “With a dry summer ahead, we want to limit the unnecessary risk caused by abandoned or escaped campfires to our local communities, and the recreating public.”

The restrictions begin Thursday, July 1, in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Friday, July 2, in both the Mount Hood National Forest and Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Target shooting is also part of the temporary ban due to wildfire risk.

Campers can use portable cooking stoves, lanterns and any heating devices that use liquefied or bottled fuel, like propane, since that equipment can all be instantly shut off.

Land managers warn that even though temperatures have dropped from their record highs, drought conditions are expected to worsen throughout the next few months, and the early start to wildfire season poses a threat to recreationalists, property owners and emergency responders.