Lightning is largely absent from Oregon this week. However, warm, dry weather will greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21. Avoiding activities that can spark a wildfire is key to making the eclipse a safe and pleasant experience for all. One measure adopted to reduce the risk of wildfire is a temporary ban, now in effect, on all campfires in state parks

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Training for New Wildland Firefighters Underway in Central Oregon

Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center

Forty men and women from the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Oregon Department of Forestry began their initial training to become wildland firefighters this week. At the end of the training the students will be qualified as entry level firefighters, and will join more than 300 other federal and state wildland firefighters working in Central Oregon this summer. “This type of intense training provides the essential foundation for becoming an effective, well-informed, and safe firefighter” said Karen Curtiss, Assistant Fire Staff with Central Oregon Fire Management Service, the combined Forest Service and BLM fire and fuels organization in Central Oregon. 

During the week of training, known as Guard School, the new firefighters will go through a rigorous schedule of classroom and field exercises designed to teach a variety of subjects including fire suppression techniques, fire behavior, fire ecology, and maps/navigation skills. The firefighters will also learn how to operate engines, pumps and other mechanized equipment.

On Thursday, the firefighters will go through a live fire exercise designed to provide hands-on experience in line building techniques, setting hose lays, and applying mop-up standards. Specialists will ignite a small, 2-3 acre “wildfire” in order to give the new recruits an opportunity to apply their new knowledge on an actual fireline.

Classroom work and some of the field exercises will be taught at the Biak Training Center east of Redmond, and the live fire exercise will occur on Forest Service lands in the Cold Springs area west of Sisters. The practice fire will be a low-intensity maintenance burn in an area that was previously treated.

For more information, please contact Jared Reber at the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District at (541) 383-4000.

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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, 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. 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. 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.