Firefighting costs

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry's gross large-fire costs in the 2014 fire season were about $75.6 million, and the net costs about $47.6 million.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Inmate fire crews make their mark in 2014

Each year the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) team up to select and train inmates to dispatch to wildfires. Inmates are selected to serve on supervised 10-person crews, and have to complete the same nationally certified firefighter training course as their civilian counterparts. They learn the fundamentals of wildfire behavior, firefighting techniques, communication, and safety.

Deployment of DOC fire crews this year began in January and continued through October. During this time, DOC deployed an astonishing 242 staff members and 2,701 inmates to battle 66 fires. These crews were on the fire line from one to 17 days at a time, depending on the severity of the fire. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fire season segues to accounting season

The rains have set in, and the summer wildfire season is rapidly fading into memory. For the Oregon Department of Forestry, though, the current period might be called the “accounting season.”

Paying the bills, collecting reimbursements and handling other financial tasks will take months. 2014 was a severe fire season. The state’s firefighting expenditures ran to more than $75 million. After reimbursements, the net cost is expected to be about $47 million.

Cost of the epic 2013 fire season was even higher. The department spent $122 million that year to put out fires. The net cost calculated to around $75 million.

In both years, hot, dry conditions and abundant lightning produced hundreds of fires across the Oregon landscape.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hug Point Fire - final update Nov. 14, 2014

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will continue to visually inspect mop-up activities
until all final suppression objectives are met and completed on the Hug Point Fire in the Astoria District. 


ODF extends its gratitude to the local fire departments for their assistance with fire suppression efforts and protecting the local neighborhoods. 

Astoria District Forester Dan Goody appreciates the community’s patience as ODF works with forest landowners to improve procedures to prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future. 

At this time no evacuations are in place.

There were no injuries incurred on this incident. 

FIRE AT A GLANCE
Size: 100 acres
Cause: under investigation
Location:  Hug Point area, east of Highway 101 between mileposts 34-35.
Evacuations:  NONE
Containment:  75%
Expected Containment: Unknown
Crews and Equipment:  
Dozers/Excavators:  2 (on standby)
Crews:  3
Helicopters: 0
Engines:  3
Water tenders: 1

Total personnel:  33
Road closures: none

For additional information, please contact:
Ashley Lertora, 503-338-8442
, Ashley.M.Lertora@oregon.gov

 
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hug Point Complex update - Nov. 13, 2014

Oregon Dept. of Forestry- Astoria District
Neal Bond, Incident Commander


Crews continued to work hard through the night on keeping the fire from spreading. Although the east winds were strong through most of the night, rain started falling on the fire early this morning aiding firefighters’ efforts.  Night Operations Chief Dave Horning said “that within an hour, the rain knocked the flames down and now the firefighters are focused on digging around the stumps and piles to extinguish remaining hot spots.”  

Firefighters intend to take advantage of the rain while it lasts. The change in weather is predicted to only last a short time before the dry, cold, east wind weather pattern returns this weekend.
 Residents and motorists may experience smoky conditions in the Hug Point State Park (Hwy 101 MP 34 area) area.   

Fire at a Glance (11/13/14)

Size: 100 acres
Cause:  under investigation
Location:  Hug Point area, east of Hwy 101 between MP 34-35.
Evacuations:  NONE
Containment:  25%
Expected Containment: 
    Unknown

Crews and Equipment:  
Dozers/Excavators:  2
Crews:  5
Helicopters: 0
Engines:  3
Water Tenders: 2
Fallers: 2                

Total personnel:  68 
Closures: none

Contact:
For additional information, please contact:
Ashley Lertora, PIO at 503-338-8442 or
Ashley.M.Lertora@oregon.gov

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oregondepartmentofforestry

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hug Point Complex update Nov. 12, 2014

Early Tuesday afternoon a fire was reported east of Highway 101 between Cannon Beach and Arch Cape, Oregon, on lands owned by Stimson Lumber Company. Overnight extreme east winds in excess of 40 mph with gusts over 70 mph continued to fan the fire consuming slash piles in four post-harvest units.

Stimson Lumber Company and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) personnel were on scene monitoring fire activity throughout the night. Today more firefighting resources will arrive from ODF Tillamook and Forest Grove district offices.
 
The focus for today will be to minimize fire growth by holding the fire inside the unit boundaries and start fire suppression and mop-up efforts.
 
Incident Commander Neal Bond said, ”Once the east winds die down this afternoon, we should be able to make quick progress in mop-up.”
 
At this time no evacuations are in place.
 
Residents and motorists can expect smoky conditions in the Arcadia Beach State Park (Hwy 101 MP 33 area) today as east winds persist.
 

Fire at a Glance (11/12/14)
Size:   unknown
Cause:  under investigation
Location:  Hug Point area, east of Hwy 101 between MP 34-35.
Evacuations:  NONE
Containment:  0%
Expected Containment: 
    Unknown


Crews and Equipment:   Dozers/Excavator:  3
Crews:  5
Helicopters: 0
Engines:  5
Tenders: 2
                 

Total personnel:  70 
Closures: none

Contact:
For additional information, please contact:
Ashley Lertora, PIO at 503-338-8442 or
Ashley.M.Lertora@oregon.gov
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fire season ends in NE Oregon - all ODF districts are out

[With the announcement today that the Northeast Oregon District has ended fire season, the entire state is now officially out. It was an active season. On the 16 million acres protected by ODF, 1,117 fires burned 51,198 acres. Compared to the 10-year average, that is 174 more fires and more than double the acreage burned.]  

News Release from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, Oct. 23, 2014:

As of 12:01 p.m. on October 23, 2014, fire season was officially terminated for forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Northeast Oregon District. This includes private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands in seven counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla and small portions of Grant, Malheur and Morrow. Scattered rain showers throughout the district over the past few weeks, combined with cooler fall temperatures has reduced the fire danger.

However, John Buckman, Northeast Oregon District Forester, reminds the public to implement safe practices when using fire in the fall months.

"Fall is a good time to burn forest slash or yard debris, but please recognize that just one sunny and windy day can change conditions very quickly," he said. "Each fall we respond to escaped fires, so please continue to use fire in a responsible manner."

Technical advice for burning and smoke management can be obtained from your local ODF office.

With the termination of fire season, requirements such as providing firefighting equipment at logging sites or obtaining a burning permit for burn barrels are no longer in effect. However, termination of fire season does not relieve landowners or forest operators of lawful responsibilities concerning the safe burning of debris or slash. Windy conditions combined with warm weather could cause unpredictable fire behavior.

Specific Smoke Management/Burning Advisory Information:

- Unless you are in a rural or city fire department protection area, burn permits for burn barrels and small amounts of yard debris are not required. If you are under the protection of a rural or city fire department, please call and ask what their burning restrictions are. Burning within the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation requires a permit from the CTUIR. Follow all requirements within the permit.

- Burning of slash from forestry and logging activities requires a Notification of Operation/PDM from the Oregon Department of Forestry. In addition to this permit, the local Oregon Department of Forestry office must be contacted prior to ignition.

Before burning in northeast Oregon, it is important to check weather conditions related to smoke management. For smoke management forecasts call (541)963-9781 or visit the following website:
www.odf.state.or.us/DIVISIONS/protection/fire_protection/Daily/neo.htm.

- Slash Burns must be registered with the local Oregon Department of Forestry office at least seven days prior to burning and burning accomplishments reported within seven days after burning.

The Northeast Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry would like to thank forest landowners, forest operators and the public for their efforts in fire prevention, detection and suppression activities this season. After back-to-back record fire seasons for the State of Oregon, the Northeast Oregon District was again able to keep acres burned below the 10-year average of 2,207 acres.

Firefighters in the district suppressed 105 fires, which burned just 1,038 acres. Additional resources such as helicopters, bulldozers and single-engine air tankers partially paid for with General Fund monies from the State of Oregon helped significantly to check fire spread quickly in a year in which there were numerous large fires burning throughout the state.

These additional resources were part of the coordinated effort employed by ODF, which also included rural fire departments, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, local contractors, landowners and a long-standing relationship with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

For further information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at these local offices:

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 9-1-1.

Northeast Oregon District Wildfire Blog:
http://neodistrictfireblog.blogspot.com/
ODF on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ORDeptForestry

Contact Info:
Christie Shaw, (541)886-2881, (541)263-0661
Jamie Knight, (541) 963-0195, (541)786-0501

Monday, October 20, 2014

State declares end to fire season in Central Oregon District

News contact: George Ponte, 541-447-5658, gponte@odf.state.or.us

The Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District announced today that the 2014 wildfire season on state-protected lands will end Tuesday morning, Oct. 21. All fire season-related rules will be lifted on the district, which encompasses 2.2 million acres of private and public forest and rangeland in 10 counties.

This year to date, 16,582 acres have burned in the district – nearly double the 10-year average of 8,681 acres.

“2014 was a very challenging fire season,” said District Forester George Ponte.

The Two Bulls Fire set the stage for high fire activity, breaking out west of Bend on June 7. Wind spread the fire rapidly, prompting residential evacuations.

A month later the White River Fire ignited in The Dalles Unit. Parched forest fuels and rugged terrain challenged firefighters battling the blaze.  

Wave after wave of thunderstorms swept across Washington and Oregon during the hot, dry summer, starting so many fires that the Pacific Northwest Region emerged as hotspot of the nation. To the district’s firefighters, it seemed like central Oregon lay at the epicenter.

In late July, dry lightning raked the district, igniting several fires in the John Day Unit that were eventually dubbed the Haystack Complex. An ODF fire team took command of the suppression operation and by early August was able to turn management of the complex back over to local forces.

Standard operating procedure would have called for the team to be promptly demobilized and its members sent back to their duty stations around the state. But in view of the extreme fire conditions, fire staff at ODF headquarters in Salem decided to hold the team in the district. Their decision proved to be pivotal.

On Aug. 5, the Rowena Fire broke out west of The Dalles. The fast-moving fire soon forced numerous evacuations. The next day, the team redeployed to the new incident. While a State Fire Marshal’s team positioned structural fire engines on residential streets, ODF firefighters battled to keep the flame front away from threatened neighborhoods. Just one home was lost. Had ODF’s fire team not already been in-district and able to take command in only a few hours, the outcome could have been very different.

Though fire season ends Tuesday, burn permits will still be required for any slash disposal or forest health burning. They are available by contacting ODF. Homeowners wishing to do backyard burning should check with their local fire department prior to burning.

The official closure of the season doesn’t eliminate the need for vigilance. Ponte urged people to continue to be careful with fire when working or recreating in the forest, and especially when doing backyard burning.

“Escaped debris burns are the leading cause of wildfires outside of fire season. People should not burn on windy days and never, ever leave a burn unattended,” he said. “In central Oregon we can have wildfires anytime during the year so for this part of the state, fire season never really ends.”

In 2013, the Central Oregon District entered fire season June 14 and ended Sept. 30.

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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

Extremely dry conditions exist across most forestlands in Oregon currently. Large wildfires to date this season have been both lightning- and human-caused.

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.

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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.