Current situation

Sunny and dry conditions again prevail across Oregon this week. Mild temperatures will give way to warmer conditions, melting snow and drying fuels faster. This will raise fire risk across the state. There have already been twice as many wildfires on ODF-protected land compared to the same time last year, with more than twice as many acres burned.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month, a time when homeowners are urged to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire around their house and other structures. Among these are clearing debris from roofs and gutters, cutting back brush from around structures, and removing lower branches from trees.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Updated fire precautions in NE Oregon

Effective 1:00 am September 7, 2011 the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) added additional regulations to the Regulated Use Closure for lands within the Northeast Oregon District. The Regulated Use Closure affects private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in six counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, Malheur, and small portions of Morrow and Grant. The Regulated Use Closure is intended to protect natural resources and public health and safety.

According to Mark Jacques, ODF Unit Forester in La Grande, “Our current and predicted weather pattern of very warm and dry conditions has elevated fire danger to its highest level of the season thus far. In many locations we are nearing historical fire danger levels, and additional fire prevention precautions are warranted. People who live, work or recreate in the forest should use extra caution.”

The Regulated Use Closure includes the following activities:

• Open fires are prohibited except at designated locations. Designated locations within the Regulated Use Closure area can be found at the following State Parks: Emigrant Springs, Ukiah Dale, Catherine Creek, Hilgard Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam, and Unity Lake. Make sure campfires in these designated locations are DEAD OUT before leaving.

• Debris burning is prohibited, including the use of burn barrels.

• Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area.

• Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all terrain vehicles (ATVs), is prohibited except on improved roads, except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.

• Use of fireworks is prohibited.

• Cutting, grinding and welding is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

• Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited.

• Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services; and 2 ) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions.

• Non-industrial chain saw use is prohibited.

The Regulated Use Closure for private forest lands is designed to help fire managers reduce the threat of human caused fires during hot and dry periods. While many fires on forestland are ignited by lightning, a significant number of wildfires each year are caused by human activities. Preventing fire starts from human activities reduces impacts to our natural resources, enhances our public safety and preserves the natural beauty of northeast Oregon.

ODF has also implemented additional fire prevention requirements on industrial forest operation within the Northeast Oregon District. Except at landings, the use of mechanized harvesters with a high-speed saw, tracked felling and skidding equipment, slash busting equipment and cable yarding systems is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm. These requirements are in addition to the normal fire season requirements.

Note that when traveling from private land onto federal land, land use restrictions change. Please check restrictions before conducting activities in the outdoors.

Contact a local Oregon Department of Forestry office for more complete information on use restrictions within Northeast Oregon:

La Grande Unit (541) 963-3168
Baker City Sub-Unit (541) 523-5831
Wallowa Unit (541) 886-2881
Pendleton Unit (541) 276-3491
To report a fire, contact: Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch (541) 963-7171 or dial 9-1-1.

Jamie Knight
Oregon Department of Forestry
NE Oregon District

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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.