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





Friday, August 5, 2011

Morning update on central Oregon fires; new fire near Maupin

Sources: Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center and NW Coordination Center

Three large fires in central Oregon are currently being managed by the Bureau of Land Management Prineville District:


The Brown Road fire was reported Thursday about nine miles north of Maupin along the east side of the Lower Deschutes River. Fire is burning in grassland and cause is under investigation. Size is estimated Friday morning at 3,000 acres with no estimated containment date. Reports indicate some threat to structures.

River access roads have not officially been closed at this time; however, the fire is burning along the river and on both sides of the access road. In addition, several large helicopters are using the river as a water source. If the river or access road closes, rafters planning on putting in for Segment 3 (Buck Hollow to Macks Canyon) or Segment 4 (Macks Canyon to Heritage Landing) should be prepared to move to a different segment if necessary. Several campgrounds around the Pine Tree put-in have been also evacuated Thursday evening and several structures are within a mile of the fire at the top of the canyon. Rafters and people driving through the area should use caution due to the fire traffic along the narrow access road and the presence of helicopters.

The Deadman Canyon fire is expected to reach containment Friday. Current size estimates on the fire eight miles southwest of Antelope places damage at 3,869 acres, primarily brush and grassland. Fire was caused by lightning and reported on Monday. Several resources have been released from this fire to begin working on the new Brown Road Fire. Highway 293 remains open.

Progress is reported on the Sutton Mountain fire burning 35 miles northeast of Prineville. A full perimeter has been established around the fire, caused by lightning on Tuesday. Size of the fire is 2,338 acres with containment expected by August 10. No structures are threatened. Access and steep terrain remain a challenge for fire management.

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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.