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, August 19, 2013

Government Flat Complex fires estimated at 2,700 acres

The Government Flat Complex is estimated at 3,000 acres with no predicted date of full containment. The Complex is being managed under a unified command of Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 3 and Oregon State Fire Marshal's Green Team.

Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a Conflagration Act proclamation on Saturday evening. This action, based on the potential threat to the community and its infrastructure, has allowed a Federal Emergency Management Agency declaration to be made. FEMA provides an avenue for reimbursements of some of the cost by the federal government. This assistance starts when homes and infrastructure become threatened and ends when the threat is eliminated.

The Blackburn Fire grew on all sides, working its way downslope into the Mill Creek drainage overnight. Firefighters today will continue to work on holding and checking the fire spread, building on their successful efforts of yesterday and last evening.

Acreage is estimated at 2,700 acres, based on the infrared flights last evening. The fire is expected to continue making upslope runs today with similar weather conditions to what occurred yesterday. Crews were warned to expect wind gust above 25 mph today. The "Gorge" wind influence leaves no part of the fire unaffected.

Good progress is being made in pre-triaging of structures and the Water Treatment Plant. This effort aims to lower the potential for fire damage of buildings and other infrastructure.

A Level II (get Set) Evacuation notification remains in place today for the Upper Mill Creek area. A roadblock has been installed at the Upper Mill Creek Road and Reservoir Road junction. Only area residents will be allowed in to access their property.

No growth was seen on the Government Flat Fire or the Wells Road Fire. Work efforts on these two fires will be to continue patrol and dealing with hot-burning areas within the control lines. Spread of the two fires is considered a low risk, but the wind continues to concern fire managers.

There are 500 firefighters and support personnel working the complex. Five task forces of structural fire engines from Clackamas County, Washington County, Hood River County, Marion County and Multnomah County are assisting local resources from Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue. Each task force includes five engines and a leader. In addition 14 hand crews, 16 wildland fire engines, five bulldozers, five water tenders and five helicopters are working the fires on day and night shifts.

Cooperators working the incidents include: The Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office, Bureau of Land Management, City of The Dalles, Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Wasco County Emergency Operations Center, American Red Cross, U.S. Forest Service and Oregon State Police.

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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

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.