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Willamette, Deschutes national forests limit campfires to developed campgrounds

The prohibition comes on an auspicious occasion: Smokey Bear became the nation's wildfire prevention symbol on this day in 1944. His message - Only You Can Prevent Wildfires - is even more critical, given the hot and dry conditions across the West. The nation's firefighting resources are already stretched so thin that firefighters have been brought in from abroad, and active duty military are training to deploy as firefighters. (SBG)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The Willamette and Deschutes national forests have banned campfires in federally designated wilderness areas, effective immediately.

The restrictions come on top of a ban on campfires in dispersed campsites elsewhere on the forest.

Campfires are now only allowed in metal or concrete fire rings inside developed campgrounds. | LIST OF CAMPGROUNDS

"Previously we had left wilderness areas of high altitutude out," said Chiara Cipriano with the Willamette National Forest. "There are a total of 9 wilderness areas between Willamette and Deschutes."

But land managers keep finding illegal and abandoned campfires.

"We have already had 8 escaped campfires," Cipriano said.

The prohibition comes on an auspicious occasion: Smokey Bear became the nation's wildfire prevention symbol on this day in 1944.

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His message - Only You Can Prevent Wildfires - is even more critical, given the hot and dry conditions across the West. The nation's firefighting resources are already stretched so thin that firefighters have been brought in from abroad, and active duty military are training to deploy as firefighters.

Land managers want to avoid any preventable fires, given the lack of resources available to respond to any new blazes.

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