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.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Central Oregon fire update - Sept. 16, 2013

Several lightning strikes came through the northeastern portion of Central Oregon Sunday afternoon, igniting a handful of fires. Firefighters have responded to all new incidents. One fire is under investigation and estimated at 200 acres. Aerial detection flights will be flown Monday looking for any other fires that have not been located. Weather for the next couple of days is expected to be mostly cloudy and cooler, warming up again on Thursday. Friday will bring another possibility of precipitation to central Oregon.

Incident 813 (McDonald Ferry) located on the John Day River near Old Oregon Trail on Bureau of Land Management land was estimated at 200 acres late last night. Crews will continue to work the fire today.

The Whiskey Springs Fire on the Ochoco National Forest is currently 60 acres and continues to smolder in heavy dead and downed fuels from the old Hash Rock fire. It is located one mile east of Whiskey Springs on U.S. Forest Service Road 27 and was started by lightning on Sept. 5. There are numerous fire-killed snags in the area, making it unsafe for firefighters to engage directly. The fire is expected to continue to smoke and occasionally flare up until the area receives rain or snow. Crews have identified containment opportunities outside of the old fire area and are taking actions to ensure the fire remains contained within the identified area. ‘Fire Activity Ahead’ signs are posted along the 27 Road as travelers approach the fire. While the 27 Road remains open to the public, please use caution while traveling through the area.

The Sam Davis Fire on the Ochoco National Forest is located one mile east of Toggle Meadows south of Forest Service Road 12 and was started by lightning on Sept. 7. Given the time of year and favorable weather conditions, crews are using existing roads for containment opportunities and using drip torches and burn-out operations to secure established containment lines. This strategy is allowing the fire to consume accumulations of hazardous fuels and minimizes risk to firefighters. The fire is currently 272 acres in size. When completed, the final perimeter is expected to be approximately 350 acres. While no formal closure is in place, the public is encouraged to avoid the fire area.

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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.


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.