Current situation

Fires in the Garner Complex in Josephine County have burned close to a 1,000 acres since Sunday. ODF Incident Management Team 2 has taken command of the Complex to allow the Southwest Oregon District to focus on dozens of other lightning-sparked wildfires. While temperatures in many parts of Oregon won't be quite as hot today, conditions are drier than normal for this time of year. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 99% of Oregonians live in areas that are abnormally dry or in moderate drought, with southeast Oregon already in severe drought.

Many ODF districts and forest protective associations have raised their fire danger level and tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at

Monday, September 24, 2012

Daily Fire Update, Monday, September 24, 2012

The fire danger level on many forestlands in Oregon is still extreme. A few fire prevention tips for private forest landowners and operators: 1) monitor weather conditions – such as humidity and wind – and consider earlier close-downs if the weather warrants it; 2) keep equipment in good working order and free from flammable debris, as well as parking it away from flammable material when shutting down for the day; 3) Fire Watches – stay on high alert; and 4) be prepared by performing daily checks of suppression and communications equipment.

For the public, campfires are still an issue in many areas. Open fires, including campfires, are prohibited on forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. On forestlands or in areas when campfires are allowed, they should be put completely out before leaving the campsite. To do so, drown the fire with an abundance of water, stir and separate the hot coals, and drown again until all of the heat has been removed.

Southwest Oregon District: The Rancheria Fire, burning on BLM and private forestlands east of Butte Falls, was reported late Sunday afternoon. Initial attack efforts on this fire included crews, engines, air-tankers, and helicopters, and by early Sunday evening the fire was fully lined. Night shift crews working on the fire made good progress on extinguishing flames and mopping up hot spots around the 32-acre blaze. Today, two 20-person crews, four wildland fire engines, and three water tenders will continue pouring water onto flames. Smoke haze will be visible in the fire area throughout the day, and occasionally a tree may erupt in a fireball (a phenomenon firefighters call "torching," which is normal inside a forest which has recently burned) and send up a plume of smoke. Helicopters and an air tanker are available should firefighters need them. The cause remains under investigation.

Southwest Oregon District: The Grave Creek Fire broke out late Sunday in the Rogue River Wild & Scenic Area near Grave Creek, approximately 20 miles north of Grants Pass, and grew overnight to 10-15 acres. Fire crews made good progress during the night, and this morning their firelines are holding on the north, south and west flanks, but the east side of the fire is actively burning. Helicopters lifted off around 7:30 a.m. to join the firefight. The Rogue River Trail is closed in the fire area, 1.5-to-2 miles downstream from the Grave Creek boat landing, which is also closed, as are Marial and Reuben Roads in the area nearest the fire. A major concern today is boaters on the Rogue River today encountering helicopters, which will be dipping buckets of water from the river as part of the fire suppression effort. Cause of this fire is under investigation.

More information on both of these fires on the Southwest Oregon District is available on the Southwest Oregon Fire Blog at , as well as the district’s fire twitter feed about fires at .


The lightning-caused Bald Mountain Fire, which started on September 18 and is burning 12 miles southwest of Enterprise in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, is approximately 1200 acres and uncontained. Trail closures are in place and visitors are advised to contact the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, who is managing this fire, prior to entering the area.

The lightning-caused Trail 2 Fire, burning in the Metolius Bench Area, is 139 acres and 90 percent contained. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is leading the suppression effort. Unless the situation changes, this will be the last report on this fire.

The Pole Creek Fire, burning six miles southwest of Sisters, is 26,200 acres and 65 percent contained. More information on this fire is available on Inciweb at:

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. 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, Public Information Officer Fire Duty Officer Pager #503-370-0403

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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

National weather forecasters are predicting the summer of 2018 will see above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Drought has already been declared in a number of counties in eastern and southern Oregon, with northwest Oregon also unusually dry for June. 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

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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.