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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fire Season 2011: Slow train coming

Wildfire experts have forecast a late start to the fire season of possibly three weeks to a month. But whenever fire activity picks up, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will be ready. ODF enters the season with all of the moving parts in place: a full complement of fire engines, fire hand crews, helicopters and heavy air tankers, as well as three specially trained teams on call to manage large wildfires.
Oregon has more than 30 million acres of forest. Wildland fire protection across such an expanse is too big of a challenge for a single agency or department to take on alone.

While the Oregon Department of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, rural fire departments and other state, local and federal fire agencies have their respective jurisdictions, cooperation is second nature. A longstanding “closest-forces” agreement provides for rapid initial attack on new fires by whichever agency’s firefighting resources can get there the fastest. Billings and reimbursements are sorted out later.

Urban sprawl into forested areas has also brought structural fire departments into the mix. As in years past, ODF's wildland fire incident management teams held their annual pre-season training conference this spring in conjunction with the State Fire Marshal's structural teams. Since they are likely to meet on wildfires that threaten communities, the teams train together to attain seamless coordination in the field.

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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.