Current situation

Fires in the Garner Complex in Josephine County have burned close to a 1,000 acres since Sunday. ODF Incident Management Team 2 has taken command of the Complex to allow the Southwest Oregon District to focus on dozens of other lightning-sparked wildfires. While temperatures in many parts of Oregon won't be quite as hot today, conditions are drier than normal for this time of year. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 99% of Oregonians live in areas that are abnormally dry or in moderate drought, with southeast Oregon already in severe drought.

Many ODF districts and forest protective associations have raised their fire danger level and tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx





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: information@odf.state.or.us.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters are predicting the summer of 2018 will see above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Drought has already been declared in a number of counties in eastern and southern Oregon, with northwest Oregon also unusually dry for June. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

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.