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Pallets used as Firewood in Oregon, Aug. 1

Pallets as firewood
A small beach bonfire is fun, but people who burn pallets or construction lumber instead of natural wood leave dangerous litter hidden in the sand.  Pallets are held together with nails or staples, and even people who drown the remains of their fire leave sharp, rusty debris behind that can injure the next visitor for months or years afterward.  The Newport High School Surfrider Foundation Club worked with local chapter members and volunteers to conduct ongoing cleanups targeting fire debris. The volunteers used construction magnets at cleanups to remove more than 200 pounds of nails and staples from the sand at Nye Beach and Agate Wayside, where pallet-fueled fires are a particular problem. They turned the pile of debris into an art awareness project. Students Kelsea DeFilippis, Trevor Silwones, Robin Shindelman, Colton Moeller, Christy Golden, Michelle Vinjamuri participated. Parent Frank DeFilippis and Surfrider representative Charlie Plybon were project mentors.  Another cleanup for Nye and Agate beaches is scheduled for Aug. 3 from 9:00-Noon (  "These are great projects," says Charlie Plybon of the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation, "But we can't count on volunteers to clean nails buried in the sand. We have to stop this problem at the source."  On the ocean shore, fires must:  + Use natural, untreated wood.  + Be 3' x 3' or smaller unless you have a permit from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.  + Be drowned out with water -- not buried -- when finished.  New signs are going up at entry points to the Oregon ocean shore to remind visitors of these common sense rules.  "You can enjoy Oregon's public ocean shore, and make sure the next visitor is going to have just as much fun," says Shirley Stentz, regional support manager for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. "Burn natural wood, not pallets."  Some areas of the southern coast are under fire restrictions and beach fires are currently banned. Check the park you plan to visit at to check on restrictions before you travel.

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