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AFR: Cool it with the bonfires, grads

With the end of school and the onset of warmer weather there has been an increase in the use of campfires and bonfires in the forested areas around Ashland, according to Ashland Fire & Rescue officials, prompting AFR and the U.S. Forest Service to remind people that campfires and bonfires are illegal both inside the City limits and in the Ashland municipal watershed.

Recent fires have been lit in the Strawberry Lane area and the White Rabbit Trailhead, officials said. Ashland Fire & Rescue is making a particular effort to get the word out about bonfires for graduation weekend.

Despite cooler and wet weather, fires can still escape after just a short amount of drying wind and sun. Fire officials advise people to use the two legal campfire rings in Lithia Park, which are located just upstream of the Parks Department offices on Granite Street. Fires are allowed only in these two spots in the City until fire danger forces closure of the fire rings.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest continues to have firefighters out patrolling and monitoring for wildfires. Even with some wet weather, there is always a risk of fires occurring, officials said.

"Accidental fires can endanger communities, cost taxpayers millions of dollars every year to suppress, and can cause long-term damage to the environment," Ashland Fire & Rescue officials stated in a press release.