Current situation

Check with your local district or forest protection association for restrictions or use ODF's fire restrictions and closures webpage for the latest details at

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire managers assist on Alaska wildfires

Seven Oregon Department of Forestry personnel are currently in Alaska assisting incident management teams there battling large wildfires. It is common for ODF to dispatch "overhead" (specially trained fire managers) to other states and provinces to help its sister agencies prior to the peak of fire activity in Oregon. These out-of-state deployments provide valuable training and experience. Wages are paid by the hosting agency.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pompadour Drive 55 Fire burns 13 acres near Ashland

The Pompadour Drive 55 Fire burned 13 acres in grass fuels three miles northeast of Ashland on Memorial Day. The blaze was in mop-up by Tuesday morning. Jackson County Fire District 5, Ashland Fire & Rescue and Oregon Dept. of Forestry responded to the fire, which spread rapidly due to shifting winds. One residence was threatened but survived unscathed, due to the owner having previously mowed the unirrigated grass around the home. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Keep your campfire from becoming a wildfire

Sitting around a campfire is one of the special times we all enjoy. But when humidity is low and wind high, grass and debris can become tinder for a stray campfire ember. Here are a few suggestions to help ensure that your campfires will be safe now and throughout the summer:

Call before you go - Call your local forestry or fire district to learn if there are any current campfire restrictions.

Select the right spot - Maintained campgrounds with established fire pits provide the safest venue for campfires. If campfires are allowed outside campgrounds, avoid areas near your tent, structures, vehicles, shrubs and trees, and be aware of low-hanging branches overhead. Clear the site down to mineral soil, at least five feet on all sides, and circle your campfire site with rocks. Store your unused firewood a good distance from the fire.

Keep your campfire small - A campfire is less likely to escape control if it is kept small. A large fire may cast hot embers long distances. Add firewood in small amounts as existing material is consumed.

Attend your campfire at all times - A campfire left unattended for only a few minutes can grow into a costly, damaging wildfire. Staying with your campfire from start to finish until dead out is required by state law, to ensure that any escaped sparks or embers can be extinguished quickly.

Never use gasoline or other accelerants (flammable or combustible liquids) to start or increase your campfire. Once the fire is ignited, wait until the match is cold and then discard it in the fire.

Always have water and fire tools on site - Have a shovel and a bucket of water nearby to extinguish any escaped embers. When you are ready to leave, drown all embers with water, stir the coals, and drown again. Repeat until the fire is DEAD out.

Make sure it’s out – Completely extinguish your campfire before leaving. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave. A campfire that appears to be extinguished can harbor heat for weeks. Then, a warm day with a little wind can rekindle the “sleeper fire” into flames.

Burn only wood - State regulations prohibit the open burning of any material that creates dense, toxic smoke or noxious odors.

Escaped campfires are costly – The Oregon Department of Forestry spent more than $160,000 in 2013 to suppress unattended and escaped campfires. State law requires the proper clearing, building, attending and extinguishing of open fires any time of year. A first-time citation carries a $110 fine. If your campfire spreads out of control, you are responsible for the cost of fire suppression. This can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

Other Wildfire Awareness Month tips
During Wildfire Prevention Month visit the Keep Oregon Green website,, for other fire prevention tips.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Spring is the time to become wildfire-aware

This spring, please be mindful of the growing potential for wildfires and follow basic fire safety rules and precautions. The heaviest activity is in the summer, but fires occur all seasons of the year.

When it comes to preventing wildfires, there’s a lot at stake – lives, personal property, and the many values provided by Oregon’s forests. In 2013, three firefighters died battling Oregon wildfires. Timber losses totaled about $370 million, and the fires decimated key fish and wildlife habitats. Homes and outbuildings were destroyed as well.

Wildfires that occur in the wildland-urban interface often are started by human activity and then spread to the forest. Once underway a fire follows the fuel, whether it is trees or houses.

“Simple prevention strategies will make the strongest impact in keeping your home, family and community safe,” said Kristin Babbs, president of the Keep Oregon Green Association.

Spring is the perfect time, she said, to remove dead flammable vegetation and limb up trees around the backyard.

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 about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. 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

My photo
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.