2015 another severe fire season

By mid-October 2016, ODF's net expenditures on large wildfires stood at $13.2 million. The lack of dry lightning played a significant role in the moderate firefighting costs this season. In 2015, large-fire costs totaled $29.6 million.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016 Fire Season ends

Oct. 14, 2016                         

Contact: Tom Fields, 503-945-7440, tom.fields@oregon.gov

The end of the 2016 fire season caps off a successful summer following three tumultuous seasons. The Oregon Department of Forestry, which protects roughly 16 million acres of private, state and federal lands, officially ended fire season today (Friday, Oct. 14, 2016), with the Central Oregon District being the last to lift restrictions.

ODF and its fire protective association partners suppressed 807 fires in 2016 that burned 5,554 acres and cost about $17.4 million. In comparison, the volatile fire seasons from 2013-2015 accounted for an annual average of 81,467 acres and about $88 million in fire suppression costs.

"Overall, we are pleased with the outcome of the 2016 fire season," said ODF Fire Protection Deputy Chief Ron Graham. "Thanks to aggressive and safe firefighting, we were able to keep several fires with great potential small in scale while keeping firefighter injuries to a minimum. We are thankful for our partners within Oregon's complete and coordinated fire protection system, including forest landowners, rural fire districts, and federal and state partners that played key roles throughout the fire season."

While acres burned were significantly less than normal, the number of human-caused fires was well above average. ODF's fire statistics show that more than 90 percent of the ignitions in 2016 resulted from people, up nearly 25 percent from the average. Graham said there is still a lot of work to be done through prevention.

"Fire prevention remains our top priority," he said. "Human-caused fires, especially debris burning and illegal, abandoned campfires continue to raise concern. We are constantly looking for new ways to raise awareness to reduce these unnecessary and careless fires."

The end of fire season does not mean the end of fire prevention. The public is urged to continue to practice vigilance with any activity associated with fire. When burning yard debris, do so during daylight hours under calm conditions. Scrape a fire trail down to mineral soil completely around burn piles. Keep piles small and manageable, feeding the fire periodically from larger piles. Monitor the burn carefully and keep a shovel and charged garden hose at the ready.

Just like a campfire, never leave the burn pile unattended and put the fire completely out before leaving. Revisit the burn site regularly over several weeks to make sure the fire has not rekindled.

Burn piles, especially tightly compacted piles, can hold heat and smolder for many weeks, rekindling when the temperature goes up and the wind blows. Residents should contact their local fire department before conducting any burning as restrictions vary among local fire districts.

Fire season is declared and terminated on a district-by-district basis based on fire danger conditions. Walker Range Fire Patrol, which provides protection for ODF near Crescent, was the first to declare fire season on June 1.

Below is a list of ODF Fire Protection Districts and their fire season start and end dates:

- Walker Range Fire Patrol Association, June 1-Oct. 13
- Central Oregon District, June 3-Oct. 14
- Klamath-Lake District, June 3-Oct. 13
- Southwest Oregon District, June 3-Oct. 13
- Douglas Forest Protective Association, June 8-Oct. 5
- Coos Forest Protective Association, June 24-Oct. 6
- Northeast Oregon District, June 28-Oct. 13
- South Cascade District, June 28-Oct. 5
- Western Lane District, June 28-Oct. 6
- North Cascade District, June 30-Oct. 1
- West Oregon District, July 5-Oct. 4
- Northwest Oregon District, July 30-Oct. 4

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fall precipitation ends fire season for lands protected by Northeast Oregon District

Department of Forestry - Northeast Oregon District

October 12, 2016

Contact: Jamie Knight, 541-786-2039
 As of Oct. 13, 2016, the Oregon Department of Forestry has terminated fire season for forestlands protected by the Northeast Oregon District. This includes private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands protected by ODF. The Northeast Oregon District includes lands in the following counties: Union, Baker, Umatilla, Wallowa and small portions of Grant, Morrow and Malheur counties.

The forecast is calling for a turn towards wetter and cooler fall weather. Mitch Williams, Wildland Fire Supervisor in La Grande Unit ,reminds people to exercise caution:

"It’s important to remember that a warmer or windy day can dry fine fuels out quickly. Folks burning slash or debris piles should remember that conditions can become unfavorable fairly quick this time of year. If we have periods of warming and drying later in the fall, it’s essential for landowners to go out and check slash piles that were burned for remaining heat that could cause a problem. It’s not uncommon for us to be fighting escaped slash fires in late October and November."

With the termination of fire season, requirements for providing firefighting equipment at logging sites or obtaining a burn permit from ODF are no longer in effect. Terminating fire season does not relieve landowners or forest operators of lawful responsibilities concerning the safe burning of debris or slash.

Specific Smoke Management/Burning Advisory Information:

If you are under the protection of a rural or city fire department, please call and ask what their burning restrictions are. Burn permits for burn barrels or small amounts of yard debris are not required on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. In addition, burning within the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation requires a permit from CTUIR. Follow all requirements within the permit.

Burning slash from forestry and logging activities requires a Notification of Operation/PDM from ODF. In addition to this permit, the local ODF office must be contacted prior to ignition. Before burning in northeast Oregon, it is important to check weather conditions relative to smoke management. For smoke management forecasts call 541-963-9781 or visit the following website:


Slash burns must be registered with the local ODF office at least seven days prior to burning and burning accomplishments after seven days.

The Northeast Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry would like to thank all of our landowners, forest operators and the public for their efforts in fire prevention, detection and suppression activities this season. In 2016, the district had 38 fires that burned a total of 871 acres; this is well below the 10-year average of 7,500 +/- acres. Fourteen of the fires were lightning caused; the lowest number since 1960 for the Northeast Oregon District.

For further information, call your local ODF office:

La Grande Unit 541-963-3168

Baker City Sub-Unit 541-523-5831

Wallowa Unit 541-886-2881

Pendleton Unit 541-276-3491

To report a fire, call the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center at 541-963-7171, or dial 9-1-1.

http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/ is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Reservoir Fire burning west of Lakeview

The 10-acre Reservoir Fire was reported burning early Thursday afternoon west of Lakeview at Lower Cottonwood Reservoir in the Lake Unit of the Klamath-Lake District. Resources at the fire include: two air tankers, one helicopter, six fire engines, two bulldozers, two hand crews and a water tender. Firefighters have completed dozer line around the perimeter. High winds are expected this evening. Cause is under investigation.

NW Oregon to lift regulated-use closure Friday

The Oregon Department of Forestry announced today that the current Regulated-Use Closure in the Northwest Oregon Forest Protection District will be lifted Friday, Sept. 30.

This area includes all state, private and federal Bureau of Land Management forest lands in the Tillamook, Forest Grove and Astoria districts of ODF.

When Regulated Use is officially terminated, the public no longer must observe fire restrictions on smoking, campfires, chainsaws and motorized vehicles. However, everyone still needs to think about fire prevention all year-round. For example, do not discard burning materials, such as cigarettes, and always ensure campfires are cold before leaving.

Fire Season is still in effect
Meanwhile, forest operators must have required fire equipment at the sites of their operation, and are reminded to inspect their fire equipment to ensure it is ready and can pass inspection. Forest operators must also provide fire watch on each operation after equipment is shut down at the end of operations each day. Operators can refer to the Fire Watch Waiver in effect for IFPL fire watch requirements. Fire season rules also prohibit smoking while in or traveling through any "operation area," and prohibit the use of fuse and caps for blasting on forest land. Zones NW-1, NW-2, and NW-3 IFPL levels and changes may be obtained by calling your local ODF office or online, http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

For the general public, burning permits are required for open pile burning and burn barrels. Residents who live within a city fire department district or rural fire protection district will need to contact their local fire officials for burning and burn permit requirements.

Fire can be a hazard at any time of year if steps are not taken to use it safely. Whenever you use fire, whether for debris burning or enjoying a campfire, follow these steps to prevent your fire from turning into the next wildfire.
  • Never leave your fire unattended.
  • When burning debris, always have a hose and shovel at the fire to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • Check with your local fire protection agency prior to burning. (Most Rural Fire Protection Districts require a burn permit year round.)
  • If camping, ensure your campfire is in a designated area.
  • Always make sure your campfire is out cold before leaving.
  • On the beach, keep your campfire far from beach grass and drift wood piles.
Once the proclamation is processed early Friday morning, you can find it and other restrictions and closures information on the ODF website, at the link above. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Short Lake Fire burns in Klamath-Lake District Sept. 26

The eight-acre Short Lake Fire was reported burning in the Klamath Unit of the Klamath-Lake District Monday afternoon. Air tankers, a helicopter, a bulldozer, three fire engines and a water tender were assigned to the blaze burning in grass, sagebrush and juniper fuels. Crews fought the fire through the night and it is currently in mop-up. Oregon Dept. of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management are partnering on the suppression effort. Cause is under investigation.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Prescribed burns start soon in Douglas County

Contact: Kyle Reed                                                                        
541-672-6507 x 136, kyle.reed@oregon.gov

Smoke will soon be seen throughout Douglas County as the Douglas Forest Protective Association works with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to complete prescribed burns throughout the Umpqua Valley. Prescribed burns may be conducted on fields, pastures and hillsides to promote productive grazing lands for livestock and to improve habitat for wildlife. The main objective of the prescribed burns is to remove noxious weeds, brush, insects and plant disease from the proposed burn sites. Permits for backyard debris burning, including both debris piles and burn barrels, will not be issued at this time.

Historically, DFPA and local landowner’s have completed about 10,000 acres of prescribed burns annually throughout Douglas County to improve habitat and pasture lands. Prescribed burns are also beneficial to firefighters by reducing the buildup of brush and other flammable vegetation throughout the area. Fire officials note that many wildfires have been suppressed in open grass fields and hillsides where prescribed burning has taken place periodically over the years.

Prescribed burns are made safe by the construction of fire trails around the proposed burn site before fire is introduced onto the landscape. In addition, landowners must be able to show that they have the ability and resources in the form of fire suppression equipment and personnel on site to maintain control of the prescribed burn. Once fire trails are approved by DFPA and weather conditions are favorable, a permit may be issued to complete the prescribed burn.

Fire officials say that the effects from the prescribed burns on populated areas will be minimized by allowing the burns to take place only when both fire conditions and weather patterns are favorable to keep smoke out of large populated areas. 


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Regulated-Use lifted in NE Oregon District but fire season still in effect

September 22, 2016

Contact: Jamie Knight, 541-786-2039
 On September 23, the Oregon Department of Forestry will terminate the Regulated-Use Closure for forestlands protected by the Northeast Oregon District. Due to the change in weather, the closure and the associated fire prevention restrictions are no longer necessary. Campfires are now allowed with landowner permission.

Joseph Goebel, Wallowa Wildland Fire Supervisor, cautions, "While we are trending towards cooler fall weather, the conditions can change rapidly. Parts of the region have gotten some moisture and while that has helped, there is still a danger of fire spreading. Make sure you’re cautious with campfires and debris burning and ensure they are dead out before leaving them unattended."

While fire restrictions have eased, Fire Season remains in effect for private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands protected by ODF. Burn permits are required for all open fires (except campfires), debris burns and burn barrels. ODF will still need to issue a burn permit for any open burns or burn barrels within the protection district until weather conditions warrant an end to fire season.

The Northeast Oregon District includes lands in the following counties: Union, Baker, Umatilla, Wallowa and small portions of Grant, Morrow and Malheur counties.

To obtain a burn permit from ODF, call the local ODF office:
  • La Grande Unit 541-963-3168
  • Baker City Sub-Unit 541-523-5831
  • Wallowa Unit 541-886-2881
  • Pendleton Unit 541-276-3491

Fire restrictions may differ on lands protected by rural fire departments or lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. Check local regulations before burning. More information on fire restrictions can be found on the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center website, www.bmidc.org.

To report a fire, call the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center at 541-963-7171, or dial 9-1-1.

http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/ is the spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains.


Comments and questions

The purpose of this blog is to provide breaking news about wildfire activity on the forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. We invite you to post questions or comments you have about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity. You are also welcome to contact us by email at: information@odf.state.or.us.

Current wildfire info

The weather conditions setting up for this summer are ominous: continuing drought, meager winter snowpack, and above-average temperatures forecast through August.

What we do

Protection jurisdiction
The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects 16 million acres of private and public forestlands from wildfire. This includes all private forestlands in Oregon as well as state- and local government-owned forests, along with 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands in the western part of the state. There are about 30.4 million total acres of forest in Oregon.

Fire suppression policy
The department fights fire aggressively, seeking to put out most fires at 10 acres or smaller. This approach minimizes damage to the timber resource and fish and wildlife habitat, and protects lives and property. It also saves money. Suppression of large fires can run into millions of dollars.


About Me

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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.