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 16, 2014

White River Fire nears containment

July 16, 2014       7:30 a.m.

Contact: Brian Ballou, public information officer, (541) 621-4156
Despite withering heat, fire crews working to extinguish the 652-acre White River Fire significantly expanded their mop-up operation, bringing the containment level to 80 percent today. Full containment is expected by the end of the week.
The cause of the fire, which started July 12, is being investigated.
Resources assigned to the White River Fire suppression effort include:
·         458 personnel
·         Two Type II (medium) helicopters
·         Two Type III (light) helicopters
·         Ten engines
·         Two bulldozers
·         One water tender

Costs so far have reached $1.5 million.

Some resources, mostly personnel, will be released from the White River Fire today. It is likely that firefighters and equipment will get reassigned to other fires burning in the region.

Firefighters today will be working under Red Flag Warning conditions: 100-degree heat, humidity below 20 percent and stronger winds. This will raise the likelihood of increased fire activity deep inside the fire line where there are scattered unburned fuels and numerous hot spots. Hose lines and portable water ponds have been set up to stretch mop-up capabilities deep into the White River Canyon.

Night shift firefighters have been using hand-held infrared devices to detect buried pockets of heat.

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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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 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.


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.