For Immediate Release: June 28, 2021
Forests & Fireworks Just Don’t Mix
Columba Gorge Tourism Alliance and Friends of the Columbia Gorge urge the public to celebrate safely and responsibly in the Gorge this July 4 weekend.
Burt Edwards, Communications Director, Friends of the Columbia Gorge | 703.861.8237 (Cell) |firstname.lastname@example.org (email)
Emily Reed, Network Director, Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance | 503-360-3532 | email@example.com
PORTLAND-MOSIER, OR – According to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, the 2021 fire season in the Pacific Northwest saw over three times the number of human caused fires (3,075) compared to fires caused by lightning (1,000). Americans start more wildfires on July 4 than any other summer day and a 2020 Science article noted that, “studies have shown human ignition is to blame for 84% of all wildfires in the United States, and 97% of all those that threaten homes.”
In advance of the July 4th holiday weekend, Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance are partnering to urge members of the public to celebrate safely and responsibly in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area:
“Growing up in the Gorge, I have a lot of fond holiday memories here. The Columbia Gorge is an incredible place to celebrate over the July 4 weekend. But fireworks and the vibrant forests and grasslands of the Gorge just don’t mix,” said Emily Reed, Network Director of the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance.
“The Eagle Creek Trail fully reopened this summer after five years of recovery from a single firecracker set off in the woods. All it takes is one firecracker and the wind blowing in the wrong direction for our entire region to be devastated,” Reed added.
To celebrate safely and responsibly, Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance urge members of the public both over the holiday and throughout the summer to:
· Leave fireworks at home, attend to campfires at all times, and observe any local/site fire restrictions;
· Follow all trail closures and recreation or travel advisories;
· Check ReadySet.Gorge.com to plan and prepare before visiting the Columbia Gorge; and
· Be considerate of others on the trail and pack out any trash with you.
Gorge Recreation Resources
readysetgorge.com – Visit an interactive listing of Gorge hiking tips, trail listing, and other recreation sites with up-to-date status information and more. Follow us at @ready.set.gorge
ridecatbus.org/columbia-gorge-express – Visit the Gorge car-free with the Columbia Gorge Express with shuttles every hour each day.
waterfallcorridorpermit.org – Between May 24 and Sept. 5, 2022, a timed use permit will be required for each personal vehicle driven in the Waterfall Corridor between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Find which permit is right for you.
General Wildfire Background Information
— Northwest Annual Fire Report, 2021https://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/content/pdfs/archives/2021_NWCC_Annual_Fire_Report.pdf
— 2020 Science Article: “Human-sparked wildfires are more destructive than those caused by nature”.https://www.science.org/content/article/human-sparked-wildfires-are-more-destructive-those-caused-nature
— 2017 PNAS Wildfire Study: “[O]ver 84% of the government-recorded wildfires were started by people from 1992 to 2012. … Americans start twice as many wildfires on July 4th as any other summer day.” Source: “Human-started wildfires expand the fire niche across the United States,” PNAS February 27, 2017. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/02/21/1617394114
— Information on active wildfires can be found at the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center and InciWeb — the national incident information system:
— Be Outdoor Safe (Fire Education & Safety Tips)
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Friends of the Columbia Gorge is a conservation organization with over 5,200 members dedicated to protecting, preserving, and stewarding the Columbia Gorge for future generations. Friends maintains an office in Portland, Oregon, as well as in two Gorge towns—Hood River, Oregon, and Washougal, Washington. Learn more: gorgefriends.org or follow us: @GorgeFriends
Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance is a network of organizations, agencies and businesses who work together across silos to help enhance Gorge communities and protect the region. Visit www.columbiagorgetourismalliance.org for a list of action areas and projects.