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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Labor Day weekend fire safety tips

Don't let these cool mornings and shorter days fool you: Forests across a significant portion of the state are in high wildfire danger. For recreationists headed to the woods over the Labor Day Weekend, basic precautions can make your outing a safe and enjoyable one.

Check current restrictions: Public and corporate forest landowners generally try to offer as much recreational access to the forests as possible. For that reason, the restrictions on campfires, off-road driving and riding, and other activities in the woods can change frequently as fire conditions evolve. Be sure to check with the land management agency or landowner before you head out.

Fire safety tips: The common recreational causes of wildfires are easy to prevent:

- Campfires: First, check whether campfires are allowed where you plan to camp. If they are, go to the Keep Oregon Green Association website, , for practical tips on building and maintaining a campfire.

- Off-road vehicle use: Dry grass or brush can ignite if it comes into contact with the exhaust system of a four-wheel drive, quad or motorcycle. Stay on established forest roads and trails during this time of high wildfire danger.

- Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in most wildland areas. A cigarette discarded in dry grass, leaves or needles can smolder for hours and eventually flare up into a wildfire.

"The Oregon public has done well this summer exercising fire safety caution in the forest," said Tom Fields, fire prevention coordinator with the Oregon Department of Forestry. "Let's all continue that good record through the Labor Day holiday."


No comments:

Post a Comment

Have a question/comment about this season's wildfire activity on the 16 million acres of private and public forestlands that the Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects from wildfire? Let us know. Please keep your remarks civil and free of profanity.

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

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.