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.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ODF’s South Fork Forest Camp hosts fire school training

ODF’s South Fork Forest Camp plowed new ground hosting a two-week Fire School last month to prepare for this year's fire season. Traditionally, South Fork has held a one-week fire school to train up to 200 inmates so they can become certified wild land fire fighters and assist with Northwest Oregon Area and statewide fire suppression efforts. The two week fire school concept came about as an attempt to improve the quality of training - reducing class by training half the inmates each week, letting the other half continue their regular project work on State Forest Lands.

Training included class time and learning stations for pumps, hoses, mop up, fire shelters and line construction. In addition to training 210 inmates from South Fork Forest Camp and the Mill Creek Facility in Salem, crew bosses, safety officers, food unit leaders, corrections kitchen coordinators and inmate kitchen crew also received training.

The ODF and Department of Corrections staff at South Fork Camp worked collaboratively to pull off a very successful fire school, highlighting the important cooperative relationship between the two agencies in wild land fire suppression readiness.


  1. Is there a phone number I can call to find out if an inmate at south fork forest camp is on a fire?

    1. For questions regarding information on specific inmates, call the Department of Corrections South Fork info line, 503-842-2811.


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.