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, August 20, 2013

Government Flats Complex update - Aug. 20, 2013 morning

Current Acres:
• 6,725 acres.

Current Status:
The Wells and Government Flat fires lines held yesterday and the two fires remained at 66 and 229 acres respectively but the Blackburn fire doubled in size increasing to 6430 acres. Gusty winds and steep slopes pushed the fire across containment lines on multiple divisions. Two residences burned yesterday along with 5 outbuildings. There is a Level 3 evacuation in place for the Upper Mill Creek Road and Obrist Road. OSFM structural task forces are protecting structures today including the water treatment plant for the City of The Dalles. The fire is at the water treatment plant this morning.

Fire Behavior:
Gusty winds and steep slopes created erratic fire behavior and the fire grew to the south, east and west.
• Reestablish control lines on the east, west and south sides of the fire.

• Maintain structural protection and brush out the roads along the Upper Mill Creek. Protect the City of The Dalles water treatment plant.

• Weather: High temps, low humidity and winds gusting to 25 MPH, wind direction will be highly variable starting today and into the night shift.

• The fire and smoke may reach the Bonneville Power Administration high power lines today.

• Terrain: Steep slopes with flashy fuels

• Potential: Still high potential for fire growth given winds, RH and terrain.
• Lack of resources intermediate overhead for night operations.

• There is a public meeting scheduled for today at 1830.

Resources Threatened Today:
• 35 homes in upper Mill Creek, the City of The Dalles water treatment plant
• Private timberland
• BPA high voltage power lines

Expected Growth:
• Fire will be pushed to the east with 8-12 MPH west winds and wind direction will be variable.

• Safety Status: No accidents or injuries to date.

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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.


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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.