Current situation

Gov. Kate Brown focused Oregon's attention on the active wildfire situation in Oregon at a morning news conference in Portland today. ODF's Chief of Fire Protection Doug Grafe and other state agencies shared how they are responding to the wildfire emergency the Gov. declared Wednesday.

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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oregon Department of Forestry Wildfire Update for Monday, August 29, 2011

This is the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) fire update for Monday, August 29, 2011.

Lightning storms have continued across portions of Oregon; over the past 24 hours (midnight to midnight), there were over 2400 lightning strikes – mainly in the central and northeastern portions of the state.

These lighting storms throughout the state during this past week have ranged from being accompanied by some to no precipitation and have resulted in many fire starts. The majority of these starts have been contained, with a few fires resulting in extended attack. Crews from all fire protection agencies in Oregon, including the Oregon Department of Forestry, continue to work actively and cooperatively in suppressing new fire starts, on extended attack on those fires that necessitate it, and at patrol, reconnaissance, and detection to locate any new holdover fires from earlier lightning, as well as on new fire starts as they occur, in addition to monitoring those fires that have been contained and are in patrol status.

Northeast Oregon District, Pendleton Unit: The Elephant Rock Fire, reported at 3:30 a.m. on August 28 burning in steep terrain on ODF-protected lands seven miles southeast of Weston, in timber, brush, and grass, is 100 percent lined this morning. The fire received a fair amount of rain last evening, which aided firefighters in their activities. Mapping on this fire has defined the acreage estimate to be approximately 375 acres. Resources on this fire, including the ODF Type 3 Team (which took command of this fire at 3 p.m. yesterday, August 28), are approximately 120 personnel and ten engines. Cause on this fire remains under investigation.

Central Oregon District, Prineville Unit: The Johnson Creek 2 Fire, which burned seven miles northeast of Prineville, was reported as lined and in heavy mop-up by late yesterday morning (August 28), and crews and engines were being released. Unless the situation changes, this will be the last report on this fire.

Western Lane District (Veneta): The Porter Creek Fire was reported on Saturday, August 27, burning in steep terrain near Porter Creek. By late morning on Sunday, August 28, the fire was contained at approximately 15 acres, and in mop-up. Cause of this fire is under investigation. Unless the situation changes, this will be the only report on this fire.

Conditions on many of Oregon’s forests are classified as EXTREME. Regulated Use Restrictions are in place and increasing throughout most locations in the state. Please check with your local ODF office before heading out to recreate or engage in other forest activities, so that you are aware of these restrictions and what they mean to you and your use of Oregon’s forests.
References are made throughout ODF wildfire updates and many other fire agencies' media releases to “Types” of Incident Management Teams. The Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center recently released the following very useful general information on Incident Management Teams – the system that is so critical in Oregon (and across the United States) for management of wildfires and other incidents:

“. . . Incident management teams operate at the local, State and National Level and respond to all types of disasters including wildfires. Other incidents handled by Incident Management Teams include helping manage the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, working 9/11 incidents in New York and working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency with the Hurricane Katrina response.

“Wildfire Teams are range from Type III to Type I, with Type I teams managing the most complex incidents. Complexity is based on the number of issues that firefighters and the team may face when suppressing a fire. These issues range from private land and homes near the fire, special status species or other critical resource problems, multiple fires burning in an area, the overall size of an incident, and the number of people involved. Type III Teams generally respond locally in Central Oregon, Type II Teams typically respond within a Region or State, and Type I Teams are available to respond anywhere in the nation.

“Teams are put together in advance and members usually commit to being on a team for three year. The personnel on a team include an incident commander, as well as staff to manage safety, public information, operations, planning, logistics, and finance. With several hundred to more than a thousand personnel working a fire, all of these team positions are critical to establishing safe and effective operations to suppress a wildfire and building the fire camp that feeds, sleeps, and cares for everyone working on the incident.”

In the past week, several large fires have broken out in Oregon. Many of the fires were caused by lightning, and most of the fires are east of the Cascade Range. Two of these fires have large-fire interagency Incident Management Teams assigned.

More information on many of these large fires is available on the on the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center’s website at:

Information on fires burning in Central Oregon is also always available on the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center’s website at:, PH: 541/416-6811.

The Hancock Fire Complex (Incident #511), a group of fires burning near Clarno, is reported this morning at 45,000 acres. The Type 2 Central Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team (COIMT) assumed command of this complex on August 26th, and the team’s Inciweb site is now up and running at: . The general information phone number for the team is: 541-787-4322.

Several fires on the Warm Springs Reservation are part of the High Cascades Complex. The Oregon-California Interagency Incident Management Team (ORCA), a Type II Team, assumed command of this complex. Information for these fires is available at 530-598-9303.

For information on wildfires in all jurisdictions within Oregon, go to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, , or to the national Incident Information System website, .

The Oregon Department of Forestry is responsible for fire protection on private and state-owned forestland, and on a limited amount of other forestlands, including those owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in western Oregon. However, because fires starting on one ownership type may spread to others, and because of the need to share firefighting resources, agencies commonly work closely together.

This update focuses primarily on firefighting activity on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected land, and on the department's role as a partner in fighting major fires that start on land protected by other agencies.

Jeri Chase, ODF Incident Information Officer
Fire Duty Officer Pager #503-370-0403

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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:

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.


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.