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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Regional fire officials issue critical fire weather alert for Oregon

Source: NW Coordination Center Portland

Fire Management Analysts for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center want to alert the public of rapidly changing fire weather and fuels conditions. Seasonal drying of forest fuels coupled with an extremely unstable air mass has set up over the region creating the potential for explosive fire behavior in Oregon and Washington.

A series of thermal troughs (areas of hot, dry, unstable air), are expected to settle over the region rapidly drying vegetation. Windy conditions associated with the thermal troughs have caused the National Weather Service to issue Red Flag Warnings effective on Sunday over much of the Oregon and Washington Cascades, including the Gifford Pinchot and Mt Hood National Forests, adjacent Bureau of Land Management lands, and communities through out Oregon and Washington.

High temperatures and low relative humidity will quickly increase fire danger in vegetated areas that were green and moist only a short time ago.

Expect wildfires to ignite easily, spread rapidly and burn with great intensity. This alignment of forecasted weather, dry fuels and wildfires has the potential to create critical safety concerns for our firefighters and the public. The safety of firefighters and public remain our first priority.

Over the next week, it will be essential to monitor current and forecasted weather, gather updated information for ongoing fire activity, and maintain situational awareness whether visiting the forest or at home in the Wildland Urban Interface.

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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 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.