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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fremont-Winema Nat'l Forest regrets loss of contract firefighter

Klamath Falls, Oregon – On July 29, a firefighter from a contract fire crew assigned to the Launch Fire suffered a fatal injury not related to fire suppression activities.
An investigation into the death is being led by the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, and the victim’s family has been notified.
Specific details surrounding the investigation, including the victim’s name and the nature of the circumstances leading up to his death, will be released through the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office. Any additional details will be released as soon as they become available.
The Forest and the entire wildland fire community are saddened by the tragic loss of one of our firefighters,” said Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor for the Fremont-Winema National Forest. “Our hearts go out to their family, friends and co-workers.”
“We are saddened by this news,” added Acting Regional Forester Becki Lockett Heath.  “The death of anyone involved with protecting life and property from wildfire affects us all. We send our thoughts and prayers from the Forest Service to all who knew and cared for him.”
On July 28, the Launch Fire started in the Sky Lakes Wilderness on the Fremont-Winema National Forest. It is estimated to be around 100 acres. An investigation of the origin of the fire determined that it was human caused.  Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations has gathered evidence at the fire origin, is interviewing witnesses, and is following up on several leads.

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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.


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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.