Current situation

ODF has been responding to dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires in southern Oregon. Incident Management Team 2 has been dispatched to assist the Southwest Oregon District with the Garner Complex of fires near Grants Pass. Very hot, dry weather today remains a risk for new fire starts and a challenge for suppressing existing fires. 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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

ODF fire update - Aug. 24, 2013

August 24th, 2013 10:54 AM


Eastern Oregon: The Ridge Fire was reported burning 6 miles north of Sumpter. The fire is 35 acres and is burning in subalpine timber. Resources: 2 engines, a bulldozer and a 20-person crew as well as LaGrande Hotshots are assigned to the fire which is being managed by a Type 3 Team.


Government Flats Complex
The Government Flats Complex is burning 10 miles southwest of The Dalles, Oregon. The fire complex (Blackburn Fire 11,775; Government Flats Fire 22 acres; Well Road Fire 66 acres) is now 12,070 acres. The two smaller fires are now 100 % contained. Homes along the north side of the fire - Ketchum Road - as well as private timberland and BPA high voltage power lines are still threatened.

Blackburn Fire Update:
The past 24 hours of hard work by fire crews has resulted in significant progress towards containing and suppressing the Blackburn Fire. Despite gusty afternoon winds, lower temperatures and higher humidity allowed firefighters to directly attack the fire edges. With support from aircraft, hot spots continue to be cooled and a combination of hand and bulldozer lines is being built around the stubborn western end of the fire.

Mop-up and patrol continues on all other portions. The potential remains for the western end of the fire to exhibit extreme fire behavior and to grow towards the north and northeast. Therefore, there are no changes in the most recent evacuation levels for roads in the fire area.

Evacuations: Level III evacuation orders remain in effect for Ketchum Road and for Upper Mill Creek Road west of address 9595.

> PUBLIC MEETING: The public is invited to a community meeting August 24th at 6:30 pm, The Dalles-Wahtonka High School, 220 East 10th Street, The Dalles.
Information on the status of the Government Flats Complex fires will be provided by incident management personnel and cooperators.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal's structural protection resources are transitioning off the incident and returning home today. Their efforts have helped support the local Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue in defending homes and property on this incident. There have been 142 personnel from 46 fire districts and departments representing twelve Oregon counties on the Government Flats Complex.

Firefighter and public safety is the number one concern and continues to be emphasized. As fire activity is decreasing, risks still remain from fire damaged trees, rolling rocks and logs on steep slopes, rattlesnakes, poison oak, and heavy fire traffic. Incident supervisors are monitoring fire crew fatigue and are encouraging all to remain rested, alert, and assertive in promoting safe working conditions.

Recreationists (including bow hunters and bicyclists) are reminded that the Mt. Hood National Forest has implemented an area closure in proximity to the Blackburn Fire. Listings of the road, trail, campground, and general area closures may be found at the Forest web site: Mt Hood National Forest ( and at

For information regarding evacuation notices, please contact the Wasco County Sheriff's Office at 541-506-2580 or the Hood River County Division of Emergency Services at 541-386-1213 during business hours.

The fire complex is being managed under a unified command of Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 3 (Incident Commander, Chris Cline) and Oregon State Fire Marshal's Green Team (Incident Commander, John Ingrao).

> SPECIAL MESSAGE: Members of the joint incident command organization for the Government Flats fire have received numerous inquiries from the public on ways to help firefighters.
Here is a suggestion for anyone interested in supporting the firefighters on the Government Complex and firefighters through the West during this challenging summer--a summer that has already seen an immense and tragic loss of fellow firefighters.

The Government Flats joint IC team encourages donations on behalf of Government Flat Complex firefighters to the American Red Cross and/or to one or both of the non-profit organizations established to honor current and past wildland and structural firefighters.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation ( is focused on helping families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assist injured firefighters and their families. The organization honors and acknowledges past, present, and future members of the wildland firefighting community, and partners with private and interagency organizations to bring recognition to wildland firefighters. To donate to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation online, go to:

Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation ( to lead a nationwide effort to honor America's fallen firefighters. It's mission is to honor and remember America's fallen fire heroes and to provide resources to assist their survivors in rebuilding their lives. To donate to the The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation online go to:

The American Red Cross ( prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Red Cross disaster relief volunteers are working closely with Government Flat Complex fire officials to provide assistance to your neighbors who have been evacuated or have lost their homes. To donate to the American Red Cross online, go to:

Cooperators working the incident include Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State Fire Marshall's Office, BLM, USDA Forest Service, City of The Dalles, Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Wasco County Emergency Operations Center, American Red Cross, Oregon National Guard, and Oregon State Police.

Information: 541-298-9899, 541-298-8741

More information on this fire is available on Inciweb at:

Douglas Complex
The Douglas Complex, burning approximately 7 miles north of Glendale in Douglas and Josephine counties, is now 86 percent contained and has burned approximately 48,679 acres.
Starting Monday evening, management of the Douglas Complex will be returned to the Douglas Forest Protective Association. Eighteen crews and 21 engines will remain to finish mopping up the perimeter of the fires. At night, engines will patrol the perimeter. Helicopters and additional fire suppression resources will be available from the Douglas Forest Protective Association and the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's Grants Pass Unit.

For detailed information about the road closures in the Douglas Complex area in Douglas County, contact the BLM district office in Roseburg at 541-440-4930.
For road closure information on the Josephine County side of the Douglas Complex, call the BLM's Grants Pass office at 541-471-6500.

There are 815 personnel still assigned to this fire.
More information on Inciweb at:

Big Windy Complex

The Big Windy Complex eight miles northwest of Galice is now 23,829 acres. The Big Windy Complex is now 35 percent contained.
The small amount of rain that fell on Thursday was enough to hamper burnout operations in most areas again yesterday. Crews took advantage of the quieter conditions to further strengthen and secure containment lines. A small amount of burnout was completed on the fire's west flank and burnout operations will resume in other areas as fuels continue to dry out. A reconnaissance flight was completed and helicopter water drops were used to check the fire's growth further into Howard Creek.

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity have moderated activity to allow a hot shot crew to be inserted into the bottom of Howard Creek to explore the option of building a fire line closer to fire's edge. If this works it could eliminate a dangerous burnout operation on some steep topography.

A Type 1 Incident Management Team from the southeastern United States will assume responsibility for management of the Big Windy Complex on Sunday. PNW Team 3 wishes to thank community members and cooperators for the outstanding support that was provided to the fire fighters and team members for the duration of the team's assignment.

A Level 2 evacuation is in place north of the Rogue River and south of the Marial Byway. A Level 1 evacuation is in effect in the Galice area and west.
* Grave Creek to Marial Back Country Byway, which includes Mt. Reuben Road (34-8-1 Road), 32-8-31 Road, a portion of the 32-8-9.2 Road, and the Marial Access Road (32-9-14.2).
* Bear Camp Road (BLM # 34-8-36 and Forest Service #23) is officially closed. See websites above for additional information. The National Guard is providing staffing at all road closure checkpoints.
* Burnt Ridge Road, Forest Service Road 2308, is closed from the junction with Forest Road 23 to the
junction with Forest Road 33.
* Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Rogue River Ranch.

The Double J Fire was reported Thursday burning in grass and timber in the Klamath Lake area. The fire, located approximately 15 miles SE of Klamath Falls, is 135 acres burning in grass and timber. The fire is now 100 percent bulldozer-lined and the crew is continuing with extended mop up. The fire is on BLM lands protected by ODF.


The Vinegar Fire is now 1,161 acres and 5 percent contained. The fire is located approximately 6.5 miles southwest of Granite, Oregon. It is burning in the North Fork John Day Wilderness Area. There are 534 people assigned to work on the fire. Today, Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 2 takes command under the leadership of Incident Commander Brett Fillis.

More information is available on Inciweb at:

The Labrador Fire continues to burn in inaccessible country 30 miles southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon. Isolated heat pockets still persist around the perimeter of the Labrador Fire. All of the risk factors make it paramount that crews remain vigilant and ready to respond to any flare-ups that may occur on the fire, or new fire starts that may result from the predicted lightning.

An Evacuation Level 1 order is still in place for the Oak Flat community in Josephine County. Level 1 means that people should be prepared to evacuate. The Illinois River road remains closed to public use for safety reasons.
A season ending event will provide the moisture needed to control the fire.

The fire is 2,023 acres, with no containment percentage reported; 51 personnel are assigned to this fire.
For more info:

The 121-acre Strawberry Complex (USFS), located 13 miles south of Prairie City on the Malheur National Forest, is 50 percent contained. The complex consists of the High Lake and Pine Creek Mountain Fires and was lightning-caused.

The Whiskey Complex, six miles east of Tiller on the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest, is now 17,891 acres and 90 percent contained, with 367 personnel assigned.
More information on this fire is on Inciweb at:


For information on other ongoing wildfires in other jurisdictions within Oregon, go to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, and to the national Incident Information System website at

Statewide air quality index readings are available at

ODF maintains a blog, at, that includes breaking news on wildfires statewide, along with current fire statistics.

The Southwest Oregon District maintains a blog at with wildfire information specific to the region, as well as a Twitter feed at


News media may call the Fire Information Duty Officer pager, 503-370-0403, 24/7 for fire information. The duty officer will call back promptly. Media may also call the Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters office, 503-945-7200, weekdays during business hours.


This update focuses primarily on firefighting activity on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands involving fires 10 acres or larger in size or of other significance. It also reports on ODF's actions as a partner in fighting major fires that start on lands protected by other agencies.

ODF is responsible for fire protection on private and state-owned forestland, and on a limited amount of other forestlands, including those owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in western Oregon. Fires may cross ownerships, and because of the need to share firefighting resources, agencies work closely together.


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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

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.


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.