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.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

5 Mile and Somers Fires, 8/5 AM News Release

August 5, 2014 AM

A Level 1 Evacuation Notice was issued by the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office for the town of Imnaha and for residents along the Imnaha River Road 5 miles south of Imnaha near Freeze out Creek to 10 miles north of Imnaha near Fence Creek this morning.  This is an advisory warning that current or projected threats associated with the approaching fire are severed and this is the time for preparations and precautionary movement of persons with special needs and livestock.

5 Mile and Somers Fires– Joseph, Oregon

Contact Number: 541-670-0812

Location:  Two fires near Imnaha, Oregon.

Current situation: Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 3, Incident Commander Doug Johnson, assumed command of the 5 Mile and Somers Fires this morning.  The incident command post is located at the Chief Joseph Rodeo Grounds in Joseph, Oregon.  Additional firefighting resources are on order to fill critical needs on the fires but limited resources are available due to high fire activity in Oregon Washington, Idaho, and California.  Resources will be prioritized to protect high value assets and the community of Imnaha.

5 Mile Fire – 3,700 acres, 5% contained. The operational priority is to secure the town of Imnaha and keep the fire from the Oregon Department of Forestry protected private lands of ranches and homes along the Imnaha River Road. Yesterday, retardant was heavily applied in a wide strip to check the movement of the fire toward Imnaha.  Night shift patrolled.  Today, firefighters will provide structure protection; remove fuels away from homes, and burn out around structures where necessary. Air resources usage will be limited this morning until the smoke inversion lifts. Aerial resources are on loan for use from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.  Retardant planes are available for use.

Somers Fire – 400 acres, 0% contained. Ten rappellers have been deployed and are staffing this fire.

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has closed Hat Point Road FR4240. Wallowa County has closed the Upper Imnaha Road, private landowners be allowed access.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): Two TFRs are in place over the two fires. Please check the NOTAM for current information.

For more information on the 5 Mile and Somers Fires visit:
Inciweb at  and

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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.