Current situation

Lightning mainly east of the Cascade crest is a concern through mid-week as it is a key source of new wildfire starts, often in remote and difficult terrain. Firefighters are still battling many large existing fires across Oregon, most of them started by earlier lightning storms.








Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Accident claims firefighter on Big Windy Complex Aug. 6

[Following is a news release issued Aug. 6 by the Josephine County Sheriff.]

It is with great sadness that we inform you of a firefighter fatality that occurred this morning at approximately 7:20 a.m. on the Big Windy Complex. The firefighter, 19-year-old Jessie Trader, was returning from the evening shift when the water tender he was driving hit the embankment and rolled over on the Bear Camp Road near Soldier Camp. Firefighters in vehicles driving behind Jessie immediately stopped to assist. An advanced life support ambulance arrived on scene within minutes and life flight was quickly launched; however, all efforts to save Jessie were unsuccessful.

Sheriff Gilbertson responded to the scene and confirmed that the driver of the water tender was deceased.

The water tender which is owned by “Ace Earthmoving” was being utilized by “County Fire”, a private fire suppression company serving the Merlin area and contracted to assist with the Big Windy Fire at the time.

Deceased Victim:
Jesse A. Trader DOB: 11/29/93

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

[NOTE: The 9,192-acre Big Windy Complex was ignited by lightning on July 26. The fires are burning in steep, rugged terrain. The complex is uncontained. Currently there are 1,159 personnel fighting the complex. ODF is leading the suppression effort.]

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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

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, even in non-drought years Oregon's warm, dry summers create conditions that allow for fire to start and spread. In an average summer firefighters still see almost a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.



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.