Land managers: Last year's wildfires may rekindle after dry winter

On May 29th Forest Service firefighters responded to a small hotspot from the Eagle Creek Fire near Herman Creek. Two engines and a ground crew from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area suppressed the flare-up. Heavy fuels and organic material known as duff can hold heat underground over winter and flare back up after a period of warm dry weather. (USDAFS)

EUGENE, Ore. - Humans spark the majority of wildfires.

Lightning from thunderstorms can ignite the forest and range.

But public land managers say the past can catch up with the present and catch fire, too.

"Some of last summer’s fires in western Oregon have shown light smoke or small hotspots recently after a dry spring and low snowpack this winter," the Pacific Northwest Region of the USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management Oregon/Washington said in a statement Friday.

"Hotspots are not uncommon in heavy fuels like logs and organic duff that can hold heat over winter and flare back up after a period of warm, dry weather. Most of the isolated hotspots are well within the interior of the burned area and pose no threat of the fire escaping containment," according to the land management agencies.

Just last month, a hotspot flared up inside the Eagle Creek Fire perimeter.

New fires are just one of the many hazards inside burned areas. Land managers urge the public to stay out of fire areas still closed the public.

Oregon faces a above normal significant wildland fire potential through September, according the the July 1 forecast from the National Interagency Fire Center.

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