Current situation

Widespread rain and unseasonably cool temperatures in Oregon have dampened existing fires and prevented new ones, easing the strain on firefighting resources. At the same time, wet conditions are making it harder on firefighters trying to remove equipment and repair the impacts from suppression efforts. In steep areas that burned earlier this summer, mudflows, rockslides and fire-weakened trees falling are concerns.






















Monday, September 13, 2010

Fire line now established around Blackwell fire

3:00pm Monday September 13


About 200 firefighters have worked throughout Monday on the Blackwell fire burning about one mile east of Gold Hill and one mile north of Interstate 5 in Jackson County. The fire broke out just before 4:00 Sunday afternoon. One structure burned Sunday near the point of the fire’s origin.

The fire remains active Monday, but crews have established a line around 100 percent of the fire, which is estimated at about 300 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Keeping firefighters safe is a key mission of fire incident management. A safety hazard unique to this fire is there are an unknown number of abandoned mine shafts in the vicinity of Gold Hill from when Jackson County had significant gold and mineral mining occurring; Fire crews have maintained situational awareness in looking for shaft hazards and, when those mine shafts are detected, marking shaft locations for the safety of the next shift’s personnel. No worksite safety incidents related to these shaft hazards have been reported.

Twelve wildland engines (including a mix of 7 ODF engines and additional contractor engines) and nine crews (about 200 firefighters) continue work on controlling the fire. Homes and other structures in the fire area received protection from firefighters and engines mobilized as part of a structural fire protection task force, composed of personnel and equipment from fire districts in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Kevin Weeks
Oregon Department of Forestry / Salem

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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

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, even in non-drought years Oregon's warm, dry summers create conditions that allow for fire to start and spread. In an average summer firefighters still see almost a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.



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. In total there are about 30.4 million 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. While suppressing large fires can cost millions of dollars, economic and environmental damage from wildfires can be many times greater.





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