BAKER COUNTY – (Information from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management) As summer approaches, more Oregonians and visitors are enjoying all the outdoor wonders Oregon has to offer, but please remember to be safe! Oregon’s search and rescue community stands ready to respond when needed but being prepared should always be a priority when getting out to explore nature.
“Oregon has seen a steady increase in search and rescue missions since the COVID-19 pandemic started. I want to remind everyone to please plan before leaving for the outdoors, carry the proper equipment and know your limits based on experience,” State Search and Rescue Coordinator Scott Lucas said.
Lucas says the Search and Rescue community, particularly in rural counties, has seen a significant increase in rescue missions, and rescue missions requiring advanced search and rescue equipment. In Wallowa County, Ore. alone, there were two Search and Rescue missions in 2017, that number increased to 40 in 2020 during the pandemic. Lucas said more inexperienced people are going to more remote areas.
Oregon’s Recreation Site Status Map is a helpful tool to “Know Before You Go” which recreation areas are open: bit.ly/3ccRUjk. This resource helps the public navigate the status of popular recreation areas that were impacted by the 2020 wildfire season. Additionally, up-to-date road conditions can be found at TripCheck.com or by calling 5-1-1.