Current situation

With fire season ended, most burning in Oregon forestland in the late fall consists of controlled burns to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. The timing of such burns is carefully regulated to minimize the chance of smoke entering heavily populated areas.

































Monday, September 17, 2012

Wildfire danger level rises in NW Oregon forests Sept. 17


Continuing warm weather and tinder-dry forest conditions prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to increase fire safety restrictions on industrial activity on private and non-federal public forestlands in a portion of northwestern Oregon effective at noon today, Sept. 17. The tightening of rules on work activities also affects recreational off-road vehicle users in portions of the Clatsop and Tillamook State Forests.

The step up from Industrial Fire Precaution Level 2 (IFPL) to Level 3 applies to Zones NW-2 and NW-3. Zone NW-2 encompasses eastern Clatsop County and northern Tillamook County. Zone NW-3 takes in Columbia, Washington and Yamhill counties along with a portion of Tillamook County.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Levels, or IFPLs, regulate work activity in the forest including timber harvest and road construction. IFPL 3, also referred to as “partial shutdown,” includes the following restrictions:

  1. Cable yarding prohibited - except that gravity-operated logging systems employing non-motorized carriages may operate between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. when all blocks and moving lines are suspended 10 feet above the ground except the line between the carriage and the chokers.
  2. Power saws prohibited - except power saws may be used at loading sites and on tractor/skidder operations between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.
The following activities are also prohibited except between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.:

  1. Tractor-skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fire line are immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start.
  2. Mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material.
  3. Blasting.
  4. Welding or cutting of metal.
  5. Any other spark-emitting operation not specifically mentioned.
A fire watch is required for three hours following shutdown of work for the day.

Maps of the various zones can be viewed on the Oregon Department of Forestry website, www.oregon.gov/odf/Pages/fire/fire.aspx#Forest_Restrictions___Closures

The implementation of IFPL 3 overrides a partial waiver that allows use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles on designated OHV areas within the Clatsop and Tillamook state forests during IFPL Levels 1 and 2.

The following areas are now closed to OHV use: The Rogers Basin, Jordan Creek Basin, Trask Basin, Diamond Mill OHV area, Nicolai Mountain OHV area, and Nestucca Trail areas.

In those areas, recreationists must follow the normal rules under a regulated-use closure. These include:

  1. Smoking prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, and at designated locations. An "improved road" is a road that has been constructed for automobile use and is maintained clear of flammable debris.
  2. Open fires such as campfires, charcoal fires, and cooking fires allowed only in designated locations. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
  3. Restrictions or prohibition of non-industrial use of chainsaws. This includes private woodcutting. An ax, shovel, and fire extinguisher of at least 8 oz. capacity must be kept with each saw.
  4. The use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, may be prohibited, except on improved roads.
  5. Possessing the following fire equipment while traveling in timber, brush or grass areas may be required: one axe at least 26 inches in length, with a head weighing at least two pounds; one shovel at least 26 inches in length, with a blade at least eight inches wide; and one gallon of water or one fully charged and an operational 2.5-lb. or larger fire extinguisher.
  6. Prohibition on the use of fireworks.
  7. Prohibition on the cutting, grinding and welding of metal in dry, grassy or forested areas between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  8. Prohibition on the use of exploding targets.

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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: information@odf.state.or.us.

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, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these 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.





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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.