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, 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 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.


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.