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Firefighter worried about bonfires in the Gorge

The Eagle Creek Fire burns in the Columbia River Gorge on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. (Photo: Leah Smith)

Fire crews continue to battle the Eagle Creek Fire and at least one wildland firefighter is concerned about the number of bonfires he continues to see in that same area.

"You're going up to have fun, but at the same time you're going to have a bonfire during a burn ban. It's not very smart and something needs to be done about it. I don't know what can be done, but something needs to happen," Nick Crommie told KATU by phone.

The Oregon Department of Forestry emphasizes that the fire danger is still extremely high and Crommie, who's been deployed for two months, is worried some people might not understand that.

"They've had a bonfire every weekend just about all summer long," Crommie said of the area around Goat Mountain near the Eagle Creek Fire complex.

"It's not going to take much for something to take off. So they just need to be more responsible and use more common sense. Think about what you're doing," Crommie said.

Those concerns aren't just isolated to bonfires. On Tuesday night, witnesses reported seeing teens shooting off aerial fireworks moments before a two-acre fire touched off along the Indian Creek Trail in Hood River. Aside from ODF citations, these sort of crimes could carry additional penalties.

"As the intent increases, the severity of the crime or the criminal ramification would increase," said Deputy Ben Frazier of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

As for Crommie, who's from Oregon City, his firefight is personal, and he hopes people will be more careful.

"This is my backyard, the Gorge, so anywhere in Mount Hood National Forest, we just don’t want it to burn," Crommie said.

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