Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

NW Oregon and western Oregon increase fire prevention restrictions Saturday

Warm, dry weather has prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to increase fire safety restrictions in the West Oregon and Northwest Oregon Forest Protection Districts beginning Saturday, Aug. 20.

ODF’s Ted Erdmann with the West Oregon District in Philomath said the decision to institute the regulated-use closure in the region was based on the “continued drying of wildland fuels, and forecasted weather patterns calling for warmer and drier weather with no measurable precipitation in the foreseeable future.”

The stepped-up restrictions include the following:

1. Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.
2. Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
3. Chainsaw use is prohibited.
4. Use of motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads.
5. Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling, except on state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one 2-½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher.
6. Use of fireworks is prohibited.
7. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited.
8. Use of exploding targets is prohibited (Northwest Oregon Forest Protection District only).

The State Forester or an authorized representative may, in writing, approve a modification or waiver of these requirements.

The ODF field districts encompassed by the regulated-use closure are: the Astoria, West Oregon, Forest Grove and Tillamook districts. Recreation users heading into the Clatsop State Forest or Tillamook State Forest this weekend should be aware of additional fire precautions and use restrictions.

At this time of year, fire regulations are subject to change on short notice. To obtain the most current information prior to going afield, contact the nearest Oregon Department of Forestry office. A list of the offices can be found at:


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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:

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.


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.