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Oregonians slogged their way through one of the wettest, coldest winters in recent memory - in fact, it was a record-setting year for the wet stuff with about 150 days of rain since the rainy season began in October 2016, according to the National Weather Service.

WEB IMAGE - Now that the rainy season seems to be gone for good in 2017, another old friend of Oregon's has returned — fire season, and the Canby Fire District and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) want you to remember a few things as Clackamas County enters into what is likely to be long stretches of dry, hot weather this summer.
While that may appear to be ancient history to some, according to online discussions in local Facebook group Canby Now and sub Internet group Reddit, now another old friend of Oregon's has returned — fire season, and the Canby Fire District and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) want you to remember a few things as Clackamas County enters into what is likely to be long stretches of dry, hot weather this summer.

The ODF's North Cascade Fire District, which encompasses Clackamas County, and therefore Canby, and the Salem District of the Bureau of Land Management (SDBLM) officially declared July 5 as the opening of the 2017 fire season.

The ODF and SDBLM, manage approximately 75,000 acres of forests in Clackamas County, including the Molalla River Recreation Corridor and the Santiam State Forest, the latter which is located about 30 miles east of Salem outside of Clackamas County but remains a popular day trip for Canby residents.

Each agency wants citizens to know that with fire season comes a set of restrictions on activities in ODF-protected forests, and those restrictions apply to all ODF-protected lands and forestland within 1/8 of a mile of those lands, an ODF press release states.

Smoking is also prohibited in a car or a boat, but portable stoves that use bottled or liquefied fuels remains permissible, the ODF website says.

A warning about fireworks in Canby

According to the Oregon State Fire Marshal, there were 192 fireworks-related fires causing more than $519,000 in property damage in Oregon in 2016. During the past five years, fireworks-related fires have been responsible for more than $2.1 million in property losses, the Oregon Fire Marshal states.

During the summer, Canby residents, after dark, often light off fireworks, and every now and then send up sky lanterns after the Fourth of July holiday, and this year's nights have been no exception.

While many types of fireworks remain legal, just because they're legal doesn't mean they are 100 percent safe. This includes sparklers, which many people may be surprised to learn can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, wood burns at 575 degrees and glass melts at 900 degrees, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis provided some safety precautions prior to July 4 that are good for residents to remember at any time of year, but especially during these dry and hot summer months.

BE PREPARED: Store fireworks out of children's reach. Always read and follow label directions. Place pets indoors because they are easily frightened by fireworks. Always have water handy, such as a garden hose and especially a bucket of water.

BE RESPONSIBLE: Soak used fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water. Dispose of used fireworks and debris properly. Never re-light "dud" fireworks. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak them in a bucket of water.

BE SAFE: An adult should always light fireworks. Keep matches and lighters away from children. Use fireworks outdoors only. Light only one firework at a time and move away quickly. Keep children and pets away from fireworks. Always remember — do not throw fireworks, hold them in your hand or point them at pets or any person. And make sure that anyone lighting fireworks remembers to wear eye protection.

BE AWARE: Use only legal fireworks. Use fireworks only in legal places. Fireworks are prohibited on all beaches, state parks, and state or federal forest lands.

Grilling safety

- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.

- Never grill indoors — not in the house, camper, tent or any enclosed area, including on a backyard deck or porch that has a roof covering.

- Make sure all sentient beings, including your pets, stay away from the grill.

- Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.

- Use long-handled tools, especially those made for cooking on the grill.

- Have a bucket of water or hose ready at all times and within reach of the BBQ.

- After a cookout or backyard barbeque, be sure to allow the charcoal ashes to safely cool. Then, carefully put the charcoal in cold water to accelerate the cooling process. Once completely cool, wrap the charcoal in aluminum foil. Now, the charcoal is ready to be safely disposed of in a trash container.

Call your local ODF office (503-829-2216) or the Canby Fire District (503-266-5851) for more information.

To view a list of all open fire season restrictions and closures go online to www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

To read more information about the ODF fire program go online to www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/default.aspx.

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