Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rain, cooler weather reduces fire danger in NE Oregon

As of 1:00 a.m. on September 10, 2010, the regulated closure that was in place on private land has been suspended for forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry Northeast Oregon District. This includes private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in the following counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, and small portions of Grant, Malheur, and Morrow Counties.

Rain and cooler temperatures have reduced the fire danger allowing the suspension of the Regulated Use Closure. Unseasonable September weather may give a false sense of security which can result in a higher occurrence of human-caused fires. It is important to practice fire prevention, especially as it relates to burning or campfires.

A Fire Season declaration remains in effect for the Oregon Department of Forestry, Northeast Oregon District.

Fire season requirements include:

• Burning permits are required on all private forestland within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) within Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, Malheur, and portions of Morrow and Grant Counties. Contact your local ODF office in La Grande, Baker City, Wallowa, or Pendleton to acquire a burning permit.

• Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on private lands protected by ODF. Contact your local Stewardship Forester at any local ODF office for more information.

• Campfires must be DEAD OUT! Do not leave fires unattended. Get permission from the landowner before having a campfire.

Joe Hessel Baker City Assistant Unit Forester reminds the public “to be vigilant about putting their fires out prior to leaving camp. Although it is cool and damp, we still want to be attentive to changing fire conditions.”

Do not leave any open burning unattended, including small warming fires. Make sure any open burning or campfire is completely out before leaving it. Have water and a shovel nearby. When practicing campfire safety, build your campfire on bare, level ground away from combustible materials and keep the fire small. Stay with your fire at all times. Before leaving, drown the fire with water, stirring with a shovel until all embers are soaking wet and cold to the touch. Use these practices when disposing of ash from woodstoves and Bar-B-Q’s as well.

To report a fire, call the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center at (541) 963-7171, or 911.

For further information, contact your local Oregon Department of Forestry office:

La Grande Unit (541) 963-3168

Baker City Sub-Unit (541) 523-5831

Wallowa Unit (541) 886-2881

Pendleton Unit (541) 276-3491

More information can be found at the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center website -- Look under fire restrictions.

Jamie Knight / Christie Shaw
Oregon Department of Forestry, NE Oregon District

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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:

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick mountain snowpack. It didn't take long for that to melt and vegetation to dry out due to a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather over the summer. As forest fuels dried, fires started and spread, many from lands adjacent to those protected by ODF, such as the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. That one fire accounted for 46% of the 47,537 acres of land protected by ODF which burned in 2017. Of fires originating on ODF-protected land, 95% 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.