Current situation

Fire season on ODF-protected land has officially ended in all of Oregon as cooler temperatures and moister conditions settle over much of the state. This late in the fall, a key source of ignitions is fire escaping when piles of woody debris are burned. Care is required with that activity at any time of year.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Morning update on Blackwell fire

The Blackwell fire broke out just before 4:00 p.m. Sunday in an area of grass, brush and oak approximately one mile east of Gold Hill and one mile north of Interstate 5. One structure burned near the point of origin. Resources from the ODF SW Oregon District/Medford Unit responded to the fire.

The fire remains active Monday, with the size estimated at 300 acres and a line established around 90 percent of the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Three helicopters dropped water and two air tankers delivered retardant onto the fire front until nightfall Sunday. On Monday dayshift, 12 wildland engines (including a mix of 7 ODF engines and additional contractor engines) and nine crews (about 200 firefighters) will 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.

Blackwell Hill Road is open to local residents and fire traffic only. Roadblocks staffed by Jackson County Sheriff Search and Rescue personnel are in place at Kirtland Rd., Gold Ray Rd., Merita Terrace and Foley Rd. An evacuation center to assist affected residents was established at the Community Bible Church, 500 N. Tenth Street in Central Point.

Kevin Weeks
Oregon Department of Forestry

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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:

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, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these were put out at less than 10 acres.

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.


About Me

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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.