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.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Government Flats Complex update - Crews hold Blackburn Fire in check

Government Flats Complex

Current Acres:
• 8446 acres - (Infrared flight last evening.)

Current Status:
The Wells and Government Flat fires lines held yesterday and the two fires are 100% contained at 66 and 229 acres respectively. With the calmer winds yesterday crews made good progress holding the Blackburn fire in check. Crews will take advantage of another day of calm winds and construct line on the west side of the fire and mop up to contain other portions of the fire perimeter. Oregon State Fire Marshal's structural task forces and wildland firefighters were able to protect the water treatment plant for the City of The Dalles and residences along Upper Mill Creek Road. There is a Level 3 evacuation in place for the Upper Mill Creek Road that will go to a Level 2 at 8 tonight, and Obrist Road will go to a Level 2 closure at 8 this morning. The Level 1 evacuation for the Cherry Heights and Wells Road will likely be lifted at 8 tonight.

Fire Behavior:
The fire is very active with upslope runs, shifting winds and some torching.

• Start mop-up and burnout fuels close to the lines to establish containment of the fire.
• Construct line on the west side of the fire.
• Maintain structural protection and protect the City of The Dalles water treatment plant.

• Weather: High temps, low humidity and winds out of the east 4-6 MPH.
• Terrain: Steep slopes with flashy fuels
• Potential: Still high potential for fire growth given winds, RH and terrain.

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 west with 4-6 MPH east winds.

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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.