Current situation

Sunny and dry conditions again prevail across Oregon this week. Mild temperatures will give way to warmer conditions, melting snow and drying fuels faster. This will raise fire risk across the state. There have already been twice as many wildfires on ODF-protected land compared to the same time last year, with more than twice as many acres burned.



May is Wildfire Awareness Month, a time when homeowners are urged to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire around their house and other structures. Among these are clearing debris from roofs and gutters, cutting back brush from around structures, and removing lower branches from trees.








Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Forestry officials warn of extreme fire danger in central Oregon


Wildfire is often in the news in central Oregon at this point in the summer. But so far it has been an afterthought. That is expected to change soon, with the onset of extreme fire conditions that could propel a small fire start into a major incident.

 
Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) officials caution that while the cool, wet weather in spring and early summer delayed the inevitable, fire season has truly arrived in the region.

 
“Conditions in the forests and rangelands of central Oregon are extremely dry,” ODF’s George Ponte said. “An errant cigarette, an unattended campfire or a lightning strike could easily ignite a large fire.”

 
The Central Oregon District Forester said that without any significant precipitation, burning conditions will only worsen over the next several weeks before the fall weather pattern moderates the fire threat somewhat.

 
“We’ve been extremely fortunate so far this season in that we’ve not had any catastrophic fires and we’d like to keep it that way,” he said. “Large fires threaten public and firefighter safety, destroy property and natural resources, and are extremely expensive to suppress, and that hits everybody in the pocketbook.”

 
ODF is asking everyone to be extremely careful while working or recreating outdoors. Given the dry conditions, it would be very easy to accidentally cause a fire.

 
The following restrictions are currently in effect on private and public lands protected by ODF in central Oregon:

  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling in the forest
  • Open fires are prohibited except in designated areas
  • Mowing of dried grass with power equipment is prohibited between hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • The use of timber harvesting or forest fuel-reduction equipment using high-speed rotary heads or flails is prohibited between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • The cutting, grinding, or welding of metal is prohibited between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. When conducting these activities during permissible times, the area must be cleared of flammable vegetation.

More information on restrictions and current conditions is available at: www.oregon.gov/odf/centraloregon or by contacting your local Oregon Department of Forestry office.

 
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George Ponte
Central Oregon District Forester
541-447-5658 ext 231

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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: 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 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.

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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.