High tides, campfire bans on the coast

Eclipse watchers on Oregon beaches will have to watch out for an odd series of tides, and they'll have to do without a warming fire.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department banned all campfires and open flames Wednesday from state park properties, which includes beaches, until further notice.

The rule bans charcoal briquettes, tiki-style torches and even candles.

The only cooking allowed is with the use of fuel-based gear such as propane stoves. Parks officials said some parks will allow propane fire pits.

Fireworks are prohibited year-round in Oregon state parks and on beaches.

The ban will remain in effect through Monday's solar eclipse and will be re-evaluated as early as Tuesday based on fire status, weather and guidance from state and local fire officials.

Parks spokesman Chris Havel says the agency considered extreme fire danger and current wildfires as reasons for the statewide ban, which is identical to one enacted two years ago. While it was not done specifically because of the eclipse, the crowds associated with it did play a role in the ban's timing, Havel says.

"I have a feeling we'd be doing it without the eclipse," Havel says. "We might have waited a few  more days, but we know a lot of people will be heading out early for the eclipse, so we wanted to let them know about this before they head out."

On the state parks website, officials warned beach-goers to be aware of extremely high and low tides.

"The Aug. 21 new moon will bring very high and very low tides. A very low tide exposes a lot of beach, which is deceptively dangerous when the high tide rolls in. This will happen late on the night of Aug. 20, into the early morning of Aug. 21. Don’t camp on the beach, because the high tide of more than 9 feet will cover most of the normally dry sand," the site said.

Updated information will be posted at oregonstateparks.org.

Steelheaders derby, banquet coming up

The Middle Rogue Steelheaders will hold its annual salmon-fishing derby on the Rogue River and a follow-up banquet Thursday in Grants Pass.

The annual fundraiser is the largest of the year for the steelheaders, netting more than $20,000 last year for conservation and restoration projects within the Rogue River Basin.

The banquet is slated for  5 p.m. at the Pavilion Building on the grounds of the Josephine County Fairgrounds.

It includes a no-host bar, silent and live auctions, a raffle, wine-tasting and a buffet dinner sporting prime rib and salmon.

Tickets for the dinner cost $35 per person. Interested people should call 541-471-7017 to make reservations.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtfribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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