Current situation

April and May 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.



































Friday, August 9, 2013

Governor declares conflagration for the Grouse Mountain Fire

At 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Gov. John Kitzhaber declared the Grouse Mountain Fire burning near John Day to be a conflagration. Approximately 75 structures are threatened. (Invoking the state Conflagration Act frees up state funding to send resources from structural fire departments outside the area to the fire to assist in protecting homes and other structures.)

The Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal has activated its Blue Incident Management Team and three task forces to assist with structural protection.

Baker/Union County Task Force 1 is on scene and working. Hood River/Wasco County Task Force 2 and Yamhill County Task Force 3 should arrive on scene around noon on Aug. 9.

The Grouse Mountain Fire is part of the Grant County Complex of fires. Following is additional information as released from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) at 10 p.m. on Thursday:

The Grouse Mountain Fire, a branch of the GC Complex, made a significant push early this evening when wind direction abruptly changed. Aided by strong north winds, fire runs have approached the limits of John Day along the northern boundary of the city. At this time, there is no report of any damage to structures.

Fuels burning nearest to town are primarily grass and brush, with scattered juniper. Fire crews are engaging in aggressive initial attack, working through the night with bulldozers, fire engines, and hand crews to begin establishing containment fire lines. Steep terrain makes dozer and engine access difficult.

In addition to the threat to John Day, the fire - currently burning on private lands protected by ODF, is also threatening to cross over into the Malheur National Forest.

The fire is east of Highway 395, which remains open, but fire-related traffic in the area may be heavy.

Earlier today (Thursday, August 8), two cabins were known to be within the fire perimeter, as well as two other structures near the fire area at that time that were threatened, but there are no reports of damage. The Mt. Vernon Rural Fire District has been providing structural protection.

The Grouse Mountain Fire is one of a number of fire starts in Grant County called the GC Complex ("GC" for Grant County) from Wednesday, August 7. ODF provided initial attack yesterday and today, directing suppression actions on the wildfire. Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 4 was briefed on the situation earlier today and took over the complex of fire starts on various ownerships within Grant County at 6 p.m. tonight. ODF will continue working on the Grouse Mountain Fire as a branch of the larger GC Complex (GC for Grant County).

Current weather forecasts predict continued chances for lightning and erratic winds through the weekend. Safety hazards for fire fighters include rattlesnakes and falling snags.

The cause of the Grouse Mountain Fire remains under investigation.

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Comments and questions

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

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.