Current situation

Check with your local district or forest protection association for restrictions or use ODF's fire restrictions and closures webpage for the latest details at

Friday, May 25, 2012

ODF Fire Update for the Week Ending May 25, 2012

This is the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Fire Update for the week ending Friday, May 25, 2012.

During the early part of the wildfire season, updates will be sent only when significant fires occur, with a weekly summary sent out on Fridays.

No new fires 10 acres or larger were reported during the past 7 days on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

During the past week, 7 ODF districts across the state responded to 12 fires that were all stopped before any of them reached 10 acres, causing damage to a total of about 7 acres of forestland.

Effective Tuesday, May 22, the Hickey Fire, located eight miles east of Lakeview just off of Highway 140, was 100 percent contained. The fire, which started on May 16, burned approximately 462 acres on the Fremont-Winema National Forest and private lands protected by the Bureau of Land Management through an interagency agreement with ODF’s Klamath-Lake District. ODF firefighters from the Klamath-Lake District were part of the interagency resources that responded to this fire. Unless the situation changes, this will be the last report on this fire in an ODF Weekly/Daily Fire Update; information on this fire Is available at: and .

For information on wildfires in all jurisdictions within Oregon, go to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website,, or 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, Fire Duty Officer
Fire Duty Officer Pager #503-370-0403

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fire Season Goes Into Effect in Klamath and Lake Counties on Friday

Fire officials in Klamath and Lake Counties will officially declare fire season beginning Friday, May 25, 2012 at 12:01 A.M. on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Klamath-Lake District. Walker Range Fire Protective Association has a fire season declaration underway as of Monday, May 21.This affects all private, county, state forestlands, and those Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands under contract and agreements east and west of Highway 97 in Klamath County.

“Conditions have reached the stage where regulatory fire prevention measures are beneficial in the reduction of the potential of human caused fires at this time of year,” said Greg Pittman, Klamath-Lake District Forester with the Oregon Department of Forestry. “By implementing these annual fire restrictions and promoting public awareness about fire prevention, we can reduce the likelihood of fire problems.”

The “Fire Season in Effect” declaration puts into place regulations restricting debris burning and forest operations. Wildland and structural fire protection agencies in Klamath and Lake Counties have agreed to prohibit all outdoor debris burning. Forest operations that require a Permit to Operate Power Driven Machinery now are required to have Fire tools, on-site water supply, and watchman service on privately owned forest land.

In addition to the “Declaration of Fire Season”, ODF and the Klamath Resource Area of the Bureau of Land Management will be placing the Klamath River Canyon area from the Keno Dam to the State Line in a “Regulated Closure” effective Friday May 25.

The closure stipulates the following conditions for public use:

1) Possession of the following fire-fighting equipment is required while traveling in the forest, except on state and county roads: an axe, a shovel, and one gallon of water or one 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher.

2) Smoking in wildland areas is permitted only in enclosed vehicles on roads. Smoking is prohibited while working or traveling in an industrial operation area.

3) Open fires, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, are permitted only at posted and designated sites.

4) Non-Industrial Chainsaw usage is prohibited between 1 P.M. and 8 P.M.

5) Fireworks usage is prohibited within the Closure Area.

The Klamath River Canyon has been placed under this Regulated Closure due to its lower elevation, drier fuels, and steep terrain. The Klamath Falls Interagency Fire Center website:  is available to assist in keeping people informed of current and changing conditions for the Klamath region. Walker Range Patrol Association can be contacted at 541-433-2451.

Greg Pittman / Randall Baley, Oregon Department of Forestry Klamath-Lake District
RD Buell, Walker Range Fire Protective Association

Friday, May 18, 2012

Walker Range enters fire season Sunday

The Walker Range Forest Protection District, which covers northern Klamath County (including the Gilchrist State Forest), will begin fire season at 12:01am this Sunday, May 20. Walker Range is the first protection district to enter fire season for 2012.

Entry into fire season imposes certain restrictions on recreational and work activities in the forest. Industrial operations are required to have firefighting equipment on site. Since restrictions may vary, it is advisable to check with the nearest ODF office for rules specific to the local area.

More information throughout the year on Oregon Department of Forestry districts in Fire Season, Industrial Fire Precaution Levels, and Public Use Restrictions is available on the department's website at:

Kevin Weeks - Oregon Department of Forestry / Public Affairs Office

Week ending summary for May 18

During the past week, 7 ODF Districts across the state responded to 14 fires. Most fires were stopped before reaching 10 acres, causing damage to a total of about 77 acres of land.


The Hickey Fire was reported burning 12 miles east of Lakeview on Wednesday afternoon. The fire on BLM Lakeview District lands burning in sage and timber was estimated at 150 acres on Thursday. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

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.

Kevin Weeks - Oregon Department of Forestry / Public Affairs Office

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Little Applegate Road fire near Medford contained

ODF Medford Unit responded to a fire reported Wednesday near Little Applegate Road, SW of Medford near the community of Applegate. Five ODF engines and one bulldozer responded to the 24-acre fire, located in brush within a steep canyon. Crews were able to complete a line around the fire early Thursday and the fire is fully contained. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

Three ODF engines are back at the scene Thursday to continue mop-up work at the scene. ODF was assisted Wednesday by U.S. Forest Service resources on the fire.

Kevin Weeks / Oregon Department of Forestry - Public Affairs Office

ODF assists on Braymill fire in Klamath Basin

Resources from the ODF Klamath-Lake District were among the interagency response to the Braymill fire, reported Wednesday afternoon burning northeast of Chiloquin in Klamath County on a mix of private and federal forest lands.

The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership reported Wednesday the fire burned over 17 acres and is believed to have started from an unmonitored burn barrel. Two historic buildings at the Bray Mill Fish Hatchery were destroyed before the fire burned onto the Fremont-Winema National Forest and into a unit of the Chiloquin Community Fuels Project.

Fire suppression efforts on this incident include resources from the Oregon Department of Forestry, USFS Fremont-Winema National Forest, Lakeview District of the Bureau of Land Management, Chiloquin/Agency Lake Rural Fire Protection District, Klamath County Fire District 1 and the Keno Fire Department.

Additional information regarding the fire is being coordinated and released by the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

South Abiqua fire contained

The 8-acre South Abiqua fire near Silverton was fully contained on Wednesday afternoon. Mop up at the scene is concluded and fire crews released.

Kevin Weeks - Oregon Department of Forestry / Public Affairs Office

Ridge Road fire now fully contained

The Ridge Road fire, reported Sunday burning east of Timber in NW Oregon, is now fully contained. Cause of the fire remains under investigation. Fire size has been mapped at 17 acres.

Kevin Weeks - Oregon Department of Forestry / Public Affairs Office

Update on South Abiqua fire

Two crews from the South Fork Forest Camp are scheduled to work mop-up shifts Wednesday on the South Abiqua fire near Sliverton, reported Tuesday afternoon. No structures were threatened. Cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Updated mapping of the fire scene Tuesday using GPS instruments have revised the fire’s size to 8 acres.

Kevin Weeks - Oregon Department of Forestry / Public Affairs Office

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

South Abiqua fire between Silverton and Scotts Mills

ODF North Cascade District resources responded to the South Abiqua fire three miles NE of Silverton on Tuesday afternoon. The fire, reported just after Noon, burned ten acres of mostly logging slash according to preliminary reports. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

Two ODF engines responded to the incident, which was expected to be contained later Tuesday.

Kevin Weeks - ODF Public Affairs Office

Private forest landowners - a major partner in forest fire prevention

The Ridge Road fire near Timber on Sunday was an early season reminder that Oregon's forest fire season is on the way.

As Oregon approaches summer forest fire season, public firefighting agencies across the state are training and preparing personnel, getting equipment ready and planning for emergency response scenarios. But in addition to federal, state, regional and interagency fire resources, the private landowners of Oregon are a vital partner in preventing devastating forest fires.

About 35 percent of Oregon’s forests, roughly 10.7 million acres, are privately owned. Industrial timber owners manage 6 million acres while 4.7 million acres of forest are owned by families or small-tract woodland owners.

Private forest owners – the first line of fire defense

Oregon law requires forest landowners and those who work in the forest to control and extinguish wildfires that occur on their land. If that isn’t possible, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) or a regional forest protective association must respond and extinguish the fire.

Forestland owners pay a forest patrol fee, part of their annual property tax statement, to meet basic forest firefighting requirements. During 2011, ODF crews responded to almost 700 fires across the state, covering just over 2,637 acres. Most fires were stopped at just a few acres, - before they became large, costly incidents that threatened communities or made the news thanks to the swift initial attack response of firefighters and private landowners.

Owners of large forest holdings and small woodlands – as well as people who enjoy a home in a forested setting – all have responsibilities as fire season approaches. Here are some things to think about during this period:

Check your fire equipment.

Acquire basic forest firefighting equipment suitable to your circumstances, and ensure that it is in good working order. Your local fire protection district will have additional guidance specific to your region of the state, including fire suppression factors for your unique land conditions (for example, terrain, fire characteristics, rules based on land ownership, etc).

Create defensible space around structures and homes on your property.

Remove overgrown or dead vegetation at least 30 feet from structures to reduce the potential of a forest fire spreading to a building.

Make sure the spark arrestor screens on power saws are in good shape.

Even if you are using a chain saw in the woods for personal uses, fire prevention rules still apply in Oregon’s forests.

Have your fire extinguishers recharged and inspected.

Keep a working, charged fire extinguisher with each vehicle, and keep an extinguisher on board power equipment such as riding lawn mowers and weed cutters while they’re in operation.

Have an emergency water source for fire suppression and pumps available.

If it’s feasible, consider building a pond to provide a water supply for pumps. Deeper large ponds in flat, clear areas free of overhead obstructions can also be accessed by helicopters for water dips to assist aerial attack on fires.

Construct and maintain fire breaks along public roads that adjoin or pass through your property. Reduce the amount of vegetation that could catch fire – or block an emergency vehicle from entering your property.

Operate equipment in your forest in compliance with fire regulations that apply to your region.
Get familiar with both the Restricted Use Closure (RUC) and Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) systems used for fire prevention in Oregon’s forests. Additional information about RUC and IFPL are available on the Oregon Department of Forestry website at:

Use the same fire precautions at your forest home as you do in the forest.

If an IFPL 3 condition has logging operations in your area shut down from noon to 8pm due to high potential for fire, please don’t mow your tinder-dry lawn or burn yard trimmings.

Understand the fire triangle that increases forest fire potential – high heat, low humidity and strong winds. These three natural forces converge to create a higher risk for forest fires.

If you see a fire in Oregon’s forests, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For additional information about forest fire safety, fire prevention and forest management, visit, You’ll find information on contacting the department’s offices in your part of the state at

Thanks in advance for your help in protecting public safety, property and Oregon’s forests.

ODF Public Affairs Office

Monday, May 14, 2012

Video from Ridge Road fire on Sunday

Play back the WMV video file  [10 Mb]

Oregon Department of Forestry video from the scene of the Ridge Road fire in Washington County on Sunday May 13, 2012 - narration by Brent O'Nion, ODF Forest Grove District.

ODF Public Affairs Office - 5/14/2012

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 about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. 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

My photo
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.