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.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

200-acre fire in southern Oregon federal forest; ODF assists

Source: Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

An approximate 200-acre fire, located west of Big Elk Guard Station and north of Camp Latgawa, is currently burning on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The fire is located in steep, rocky terrain and is burning in pine/oak vegetation. Approximately 300 firefighters from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Department of Forestry and private contractors are currently on scene. Resources include eight 20-person hand crews, six engines, three dozers, and three water tenders.

A number of air resources are on order, including several air tankers, a heavy helicopter and two medium helicopters. Additional ground resources on order include five 20-person hand crews and six engines. A federal Incident Management Team has been ordered to provide management for the firefighting resources responding.

The fire is currently threatening the historic Robinson Lookout located 2.5 miles to the northeast, as well as the Big Elk Guard Station located three miles to the northeast. There is one known cabin and several outbuildings located on private land that is also threatened. Campers in the North Fork, Beaver Dam, and Daley Creek Campgrounds have been notified.

Firefighters on scene have improved roads and created hand firelines on the south flank, created handline on the west flank, and prepped and created approximately ¾ mile of dozer line on the north flank. The east flank of the fire is currently open and located in steep, rocky terrain.

Fire behavior is expected to pick up relatively early in the day and be fairly extreme due to the hot and dry weather forecast for the remainder of the week. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s to low 100s with relative humidities in the low teens.

The fire started on the Labor Day holiday, September 5, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.; cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

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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

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.