Cooler temperatures and higher humidity with light rainfall this past weekend in many areas of the state have helped firefighting efforts. Lightning is less of a concern this week but humans causing new fires remains a top concern. Gov. Kate Brown announced over the weekend that she is authorizing Oregon National Guard personnel to help fire suppression efforts near Crater Lake National Park.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunflower Fire Update for July 20, 2014

On Monday, July 14, 2014 a thunderstorm ignited the Sunflower Fire 10 miles northwest of Monument, OR. The fire is now estimated at 5,900 acres.

Summary: Crews continue to make excellent progress on the fire perimeter. The fire is well established on the south side of Wall Creek drainage between Happy and Wilson Creeks and has moved into the Little Wilson and Big Wilson Creek drainage's. Short duration crown runs, torching and spotting have been observed due to afternoon localized winds. The fire has grown to 5,900 acres.
 
Current Situation: Localized afternoon winds continued to push the fire south and southeast into Little and Big Wilson Creek drainage's. Crews continue to monitor both the northeast and northwest flanks of the fire while it smolders and creeps back into fire area.
 
Overnight crews conducted a burnout operation along FS Road 24 to eliminate grass and brush between the road and fire front. Evening winds assisted the burnout operations which strengthened the containment line.
 
Early this morning, a spot fire was identified on the east side of FS Rd. 24. It is approximately of 15 acres. The spot fire was assessed and is the priority for day shift crews, using both ground and air resources to contain.
 
Today, crews in the northeast and northwest sections of the fire will continue mopping up hot spots. In the southern perimeter, crews will continue constructing hand and dozer line along the southwest corner of the fire. Arial resources will be supporting ground crews with water and retardant drops, as soon as the inversion layer lifts in the late morning.
 
Smoke will increase across eastern Oregon due to increased fire activity and duration.  Localized smoke will hinder visibility through midday, but will improve in the late afternoon.
 
Weather:    A cooling trend is expected to begin setting up Monday. A chances of showers is forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Decreased temperatures and higher relative humidity will calm fire behavior and assist firefighters with suppression efforts. 
 
Area Fire Closures:  An area closure was again expanded on July 19 around the fire for firefighter and public safety. Information and map can be found @ http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3964/

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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.



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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. There are about 30.4 million total 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.