2015 another severe fire season

In 2015, more than 631,000 acres burned on all forestland jurisdictions in Oregon. Firefighting costs totaled $240.5 million.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wildfire knows no season


April 21, 2016

Contact: Kristin Babbs, president
Keep Oregon Green Association
503-945-7499, Kristin.a.babbs@oregon.gov

May is Oregon Wildfire Awareness Month. Oregon experiences its heaviest wildfire activity during the summer, but fires occur all seasons of the year including spring. During May, federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies will be spreading the word about wildfire prevention and the steps Oregonians can take to stop most fires before they start.

At stake: lives, property, forests
When it comes to preventing wildfires, there’s a lot at stake – lives, personal property, and the many values provided by Oregon’s forests and rangelands. During the 2015 wildfire season, about 1.6 million acres were consumed by wildfire across the Pacific Northwest, including 630,000 acres in Oregon. Some 675 structures were lost - many of them permanent residences. And tragically, three firefighters were killed. Key wildlife habitats, including those of the beleaguered greater sage grouse, went up in smoke.

In Oregon alone, some 850 human-caused fires ravaged the landscape. And on just the forest and rangelands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry, these “people” fires burned nearly 87,000 acres. But wildfire prevention educators are not pointing fingers. In the extreme weather conditions of last summer nearly any fire start, whether human or lightning caused, had potential to spread into a raging wildfire.

Wildfires can start at home
Wildfires that occur in the wildland-urban interface often are started by human activity and then spread to the forest. Once underway a fire follows the fuel, whether it is trees or houses. Fortunately, this grave threat to lives and property can be dramatically reduced.

“Simple prevention strategies will make the strongest impact on your home, family and community safety,” said Kristin Babbs, president of the Keep Oregon Green Association.

Spring is the perfect time, she said, to remove dead, flammable vegetation and limb up trees around the yard.

“When clearing brush and vegetation from around the home, property owners should also keep in mind the access needed by larger fire trucks,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “Long driveways should be at least 12 feet wide, have 10 feet of vegetation clearance from the centerline to the edge of the driveway, and about 14 feet of overhead clearance. Having an adequate turnaround area is critical for firefighter.”

To get an early start on Wildfire Awareness Month, join your neighbors in reducing your community’s wildfire risk by taking part in National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on Saturday, May 7. The National Fire Protection Association has teamed up with State Farm Insurance to encourage residents to commit a couple of hours, or the entire day, to help raise wildfire awareness and work together on projects that can help protect homes and entire communities from the threat of fire.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Early wildfires a reminder that fire danger is increasing

Smaller wildfires are occurring around the state, reminding us that the seasonal transition is underway, with temperatures warming and fuels drying out. Spring is a great time to enjoy Oregon's forests, but please follow fire safety precautions. The Keep Oregon Green Association has practical tips at:  http://www.keeporegongreen.org/

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Firefighting costs hit highs in 2013-15

The past three wildfire seasons were among the most severe and costly in the history of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. Hot, dry conditions, long-term buildup of forest fuels, and expansion of the wildland-urban interface contributed to the increased fire activity and expense.

LARGE FIRE COSTS:
2013
Gross: $122 million
Net. $75 million

2014
Gross: $75.6 million
Net: $47.7 million
 
2015
Gross: $76.7 million
Net: $29.6 million
 
In late 2015, ODF formed the Fire Program Review Committee to review the department's firefighting system, in an effort to curb rising costs and ensure its sustainability into the future. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 fire season over statewide

All Oregon Department of Forestry forest protection districts were out of wildfire season as of Oct. 28. But as ODF foresters note, a calendar declaration does not mean fires can no longer occur.

A few warm, windy days can set the stage for a debris burn or campfire to escape control and damage the forest resource. Please continue to follow fire-safe practices as you enjoy Oregon's forests this fall. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Update - Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fires Reported on ODF-protected Lands

ODF Central Oregon District - John Day Unit: The Lost Valley Fire was reported at approximately noon on Tuesday, October 13, burning on ODF-protected lands 8 miles southwest of Lonerock.  This morning, Wednesday, October 14, the fire is estimated at 143 acres and fully lined, and crews are working on mop-up.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.  Unless the situation changes, this will be the only report on this fire.

Fire Duty Officer:  Jeri Chase; Cell #503-931-2721; jeri.chase@Oregon.gov

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall burning helps prevent summer wildfires

Another severe wildfire season is fading into history - the third in a row. Along with the flames and destruction, Oregonians suffered through weeks of choking smoke. This fall, forest landowners are conducting controlled burns to clean up excess woody debris. Burning when weather conditions are right limits smoke entering communities. It also reduces the risk of wildfires later on. Learn more about fall burning from the Oregon Department of Forestry, www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/pages/Burn.aspx.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall Creek Fire in West Oregon District now in mop up

The 15-acre Fall Creek Fire reported Sunday burning in the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's West Oregon District - Toledo Unit is currently in mop up. One fire engine, four hand crews and two water tenders were dispatched to the fire. Cause is under investigation.

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.

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About Me

My Photo
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.