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, August 2, 2011

Deadman Canyon fire in central Oregon

Source: Project Wildfire Deschutes County

The Deadman Canyon Fire near Madras has reached 400+ acres and is threatening homes since ignition last night during the thunderstorm over central Oregon. With over 800 lightning strikes in the last 24-hour period, central Oregon is certainly earning its nickname – Lightning Alley.

Fire season is far from over this year and Project Wildfire reminds residents in central Oregon that they are our greatest resource when it comes to protecting homes and neighborhoods. “Firefighting resources can be tied up on local emergencies and across the nation when a wildfire breaks out, so it’s up to individual homeowners to take responsibility for the defensible space around their homes,” says Kate Lighthall, Program Director for Project Wildfire.

“Historically, some of the largest fires we’ve experienced in central Oregon have occurred in August,” says Joe Stutler, Deschutes County Forester, referring to the B & B Complex, Hash Rock, Skeleton, Ashwood-Donneybrook and Smith Rock fires. “There is still time to prepare your homes and properties for any fire events that happen in late summer”.

“The greatest risk to our homes and properties during a wildland fire event is from the burning embers that can spot or drop miles ahead of an advancing fire,” adds Lighthall.

To address this threat Project Wildfire recommends the following steps that homeowners can take right now to help protect themselves against this very real threat in central Oregon:

• Clear all pine needles, weeds, leaves and flammable debris from around your home including on roofs; in gutters; near fences; and on, around and under decks – anywhere where glowing embers can ignite and spread fire to your home.
• Reduce shrubs and other “ladder fuels” around your home that can spread fire to nearby trees or structures.
• Keep grass and weeds cut to 4” or less to prevent rapid fire spread.
• Trim up trees to prevent the spread of fire to the upper branches, or “crowns”.
• Remove all dead, dying and diseased vegetation around your home – maintain healthy trees and shrubs.
• Move wood piles at least 20 feet from your home and away from combustible materials or vegetation.
• Keep driveways clear by trimming trees and cutting weeds for easy access of emergency equipment.

For additional tips, residents can visit www.firefree.org or www.firewise.org. For more information contact the Project Wildfire office at 541-322-7129.

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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: information@odf.state.or.us.

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.



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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.




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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.