Current situation

Fires in the Garner Complex in Josephine County have burned close to a 1,000 acres since Sunday. ODF Incident Management Team 2 has taken command of the Complex to allow the Southwest Oregon District to focus on dozens of other lightning-sparked wildfires. While temperatures in many parts of Oregon won't be quite as hot today, conditions are drier than normal for this time of year. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 99% of Oregonians live in areas that are abnormally dry or in moderate drought, with southeast Oregon already in severe drought.

Many ODF districts and forest protective associations have raised their fire danger level and tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at

Friday, August 26, 2011

COIDC Media Release - Central Oregon Lightning Fires Update; August 26, 2011, 7:00 p.m. PDT

Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center

4550 SW Airport Way
Prineville, OR 97754

FIRE NEWS--Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center
For Immediate Release: August 26, 2011 – 7:00 p.m.
Contact: Media Desk, 541/416-6811

Central Oregon Lightning Fires Update

Central Oregon – With fewer new fires reported today, firefighters were able to make progress on the more than 200 new fires reported since a lightning storm passed through Central Oregon Wednesday afternoon and evening. In addition to getting control of the majority of on-going fires in the area, firefighters remain on the lookout for any additional lightning holdover fires and may locate these for the next several days.

The largest fire remains the Hancock Fire Complex, which is a group [of] fires burning around Clarno. The fire had moderate growth today and is now 17,000 acres. The fires in this complex are burning on both sides of Highway 218 and on both sides of the John Day River. Most of the growth today occurred on the north side of the complex. Firefighters are challenged by steep slopes, inaccessible and rugged terrain, and light, flashy fuels that ignite and burn quickly.

The Central Oregon Type II Incident Management Team (Mark Rapp) assumed command of the fire at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Fire staff are working to get internet and phone connections and will continue to provide information through Central Oregon Dispatch until this is accomplished. Approximately 285 firefighters and staff are now working on the Hancock Complex. Resources include three Hotshot Crews, three Type 2 handcrews, one Type II helicopter, 18 engines, two dozers, four watertenders, 61 overhead personnel, and two camp crews.

The Hancock Fire Complex [is] a typical rangeland fire that moves quickly through light grass and shrub but calms down overnight when temperatures cool and relative humidity rises. Fire crews will focus on finding and suppressing hotspots in the cooler evening and early morning hours when fire behavior is lower and will continue to construct and hold containment lines throughout the day.

Firefighters are also working on a fire burning east of Twickenham. Incident #615 was reported yesterday and initially had minimal growth. The fire is a terrain and wind driven fire and behavior increased during the afternoon higher temperatures. The fire is approximately 550 acres the evening. The fire is burning in a mix of grass and shrub, making short uphill runs on one side of a slope and backing slowly down the backside of slopes.

Firefighters are also continuing to work on several fires in the Ochoco National Forest east of Prineville. Incident 606 in the Hamilton Creek area north of milepost 46 on Highway 26 is 25 acres this afternoon and 70 percent contained. A helicopter is providing bucket drops to help with containment efforts. In addition, crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry are working to contain a 10-acre fire that kicked up this afternoon. The fire is burning mostly on the ground in grass and needlecast, with occasional torching in ponderosa pine trees. A helicopter and the State air tanker have been providing assistance. There is no estimate of containment at this time.

Two incidents previous[ly] reported include Incident #608 and the Lyle Gap III Fire. Incident #608, burning near Johnson Creek east of Prineville, did not grow today and crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry spent the day holding and improving the containment line put in place last night. Firefighters also successfully stopped the progress of the Lyle Gap III fire burning northeast of Madras, and it is contained this evening at 78 acres.

Firefighters on the Warm Springs Reservation have been busy over the past several days responding to new wildfires as well. Several fires are part of the newly named High Cascades Complex. The complex includes the following fires: Fire #127 Shitike Fire (1000 acres) located west of the town of Warm Springs with structure protection in place from the Central Oregon Task Force #3; Fire #121 Seekseequa Fire (3000 acres) burning on the Metolius Bench; and, Fire #133 Razorback Fire (1700 acres) on the NE side of the Reservation in the Mutton Mountain area. A Type II Team (ORCA) will assume command of this complex tomorrow morning. Information for these fires is now available at (541) 553-8190.


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Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters are predicting the summer of 2018 will see above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Drought has already been declared in a number of counties in eastern and southern Oregon, with northwest Oregon also unusually dry for June. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

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.