Current situation

With fire season ended, most burning in Oregon forestland in the late fall consists of controlled burns to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. The timing of such burns is carefully regulated to minimize the chance of smoke entering heavily populated areas.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

White River Fire: Demobilization begins

July 17, 2014       6:45 a.m.

Contact: Brian Ballou, public information officer, (541) 621-4156
Nearly 460 firefighters and support personnel awoke in the White River Fire Camp this morning but many of them will hit the road today and tomorrow, either to another fire suppression assignment or to return to their home units. The 652-acre wildfire, which burned in a portion of the White River Wild and Scenic area 12 miles west of Tygh Valley, is 95 percent contained. Full containment is expected by Friday morning.
Day shift crews will focus on mopping up interior hot spots on the south side of the White River Fire; the north side of the fire will be patrolled by engine crews. Tonight, there will not be a full night shift operation; engines will patrol the perimeter and use hand-held infrared devices to detect heat.
Firefighters, engines and helicopters assigned to the White River Fire are also poised to respond to new fires, should any occur, in support of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s protection unit in The Dalles.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect today across the region for westerly winds to 10-20 mph, gusts to 30 mph, and relative humidity below 20 percent.
The cause of the White River Fire, which started July 12, is being investigated.
Fire suppression equipment available to the crews today include:
·         One Type II (medium) helicopter
·         One Type III (light) helicopter
·         Eight engines
·         Two bulldozers
·         One water tender
Costs so far have reached $1.8 million.
The White River Fire is on land protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s Central Oregon District. Much of the land is wilderness inside the White River Wild and Scenic Area, under the administration of the Bureau of Land Management. The Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife administers other lands inside the fire area for wildlife conservation purposes.
Fire suppression operations are run by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry Incident Management Team 1 led by Incident Commander John Buckman. Crews and support personnel from across the state have been running the fire suppression operation out of an incident command post at Wasco County Fairgrounds in Tygh Valley.

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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 snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these 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.