Tips for Safely RV Camping During Wildfire Season
Oregon RV camping gives you the opportunity to head off on the open road and explore all that the state has to offer. Unfortunately, wildfires have become a normal part of summers throughout the West Coast. While Oregon RV camping can still be an enjoyable part of a family’s summertime activities, campers now need to keep wildfires in mind before heading away from home.
In the past, wildfire season usually started at the end of summer towards the beginning of fall following months of dry summer weather that created the perfect conditions for a fire. Now, wildfire season can start in late spring, with the potential for fires to continue raging all summer long.
The Bootleg Fire in Oregon that started at the beginning of July has raged for over three weeks, and has grown to over 400,000 acres. With days left in the month, the fire has only been 53 percent contained and looks like it will continue to rage for several more weeks.
Fortunately, the potential threat of wildfire doesn’t have to limit your ability to enjoy Oregon RV camping. By taking a few simple precautions in advance of your camping trip, you can ensure that you and your family remain safe and your trip remains memorable for all involved.
Check Wildfire Conditions Before Planning Your Destination
The USDA Forest Service features an Active Fire Mapping Program that provides the public with information regarding any ongoing wildfires throughout the nation. The map provides color coded and numbered references that allow users to easily see the size and threat level of each current wildfire.
The state of Oregon also maintains its own Wildfire Response & Recovery website that provides detailed information on any fires in the state. In addition to map displays of current fire positions, the site also provides users the ability to sign up for emergency alerts and provides evacuation routes to use if camping in the vicinity of a wildfire that takes an unexpected turn.
Track the Air Quality in the Region You’ll Be Camping
Even if camping hundreds of miles away from a wildfire, the smoke produced by the fire can still cause serious problems. Smoke from Western wildfires have traveled to Wisconsin and Minnesota, and remain thick enough to make outdoor activities unpleasant. If you want to camp, make sure the area you choose to set up your RV has clean air clear of smoke.
If you have questions about the air quality where you’ll be camping, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website features a variety of maps that show where wildfire smoke is a problem. AirNow, a website that reports air quality using the official U.S. Air Quality Index, also features maps that provide users with the location and severity of wildfire smoke.
Be Prepared for Any Situation
Dealing with the threat of a wildfire becomes far easier to manage if you have the right supplies packed and ready to go in your RV. We recently covered what emergency supplies campers should always have on hand before leaving home.
Wildfire preparation isn’t much different from what you normally need to have available, which includes:
- Enough food to feed the whole family for at least two extra days
- Enough water for at least four extra days
- A map of the area you’ll be camping (cell service is unreliable in remote areas of the state and a map can help you find evacuation routes)
Be Safe so You Can Continue to Enjoy Oregon RV Camping
Wildfires pose a very real risk for campers if they don’t take the time and make the effort to know what’s going on around them. Fortunately, by following the tips listed above, you and the entire family can continue enjoying the many scenic wonders offered by camping in Oregon.