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.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fire Restrictions in NE Oregon update

As of Thursday the 27th, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest moved to Phase A of the Public Use Restrictions for federal forestlands in NE Oregon. Due to cooler nights and better humidity recovery in the evenings, light fuels such as grasses have reduced fire danger; especially early in the day. Heavy fuels, limbs and logs, remain extremely dry and by the middle of the afternoon all fuels have dried and returned to a high fire danger level.

All partners in Oregon forest fire safety – the U.S. Forest Service, BLM, local fire districts and Oregon Department of Forestry officials urge the public to be engaged-conscious, cautious and careful with fire.

Kent Connaughton, Regional Forester for the Pacific Northwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service added: “In an active fire season, we need our firefighters available and ready to respond. Every fire that’s prevented helps firefighters remain available, rested, and safe. As always, our highest priority remains public and firefighter safety.”

Under Phase A of the Public Use Restrictions chainsaw use is permitted for firewood by the public. However, campfires are still limited to developed recreational sites. For a complete list of regulations and developed recreation sites on the Wallowa-Whitman, please visit the Forest Orders webpage at

Private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry remain under a regulated closure which prohibits:

• Open fires, including camp fires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires except at designated locations.

• Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all terrain vehicles (ATVs), is prohibited except on improved roads.

• Non-industrial chainsaw use and fire wood cutting.

On September 25th, the Wallowa-Whitman changed from Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) 4 to IFPL 3 for commercial forest operations. A complete description of the change can be found at


Jamie Knight, ODF LaGrande Unit
Matthew Burks, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

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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.