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 http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx




Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It feels like fall, but fire danger still present

Even though fall is in the air, careless actions can spark a wildfire this time of year. Grasses, brush and other fine fuels parched by the summer’s heat can ignite from a variety of sources – an errant spark from a campfire or warming fire, a discarded cigarette, or a hot exhaust system contacting vegetation. And under fall conditions, these fire starts often don’t become apparent until hours or even days later.

For hunters, a warming fire built on a hillside in the early morning hours takes the chill off. But before you move on, is the fire really out? Even when there is no smoke the ashes can retain heat. On the next sunny day, a little wind can rekindle that “dead” fire and cause it to spread into a wildfire.

Before heading to the forest, be sure to check the rules to learn whether warming fires and campfires are allowed. The safest place for a campfire is in a campground with established fire pits. Before leaving a fire, be sure to douse it repeatedly with water, stirring the ashes each time to ensure it is completely extinguished.

When driving a full-sized vehicle or ATV in the forest, always carry fire equipment required by the jurisdictional land management agency. And before heading to your hunting location, check the current rules on vehicle use. In some areas, off-road use of motorized vehicles may be prohibited.

Likewise with smoking: Check the rules. Depending on the fire danger level, smoking may be restricted to inside a closed vehicle or building. In any case, never discard smoking materials in grass or other vegetation.

For additional fire safety tips and current fire restrictions, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry or the Keep Oregon Green Association.

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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

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.

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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.