2015 another severe fire season

A cool, wet winter and heavy snowpack delayed the start of fire season in much of western and northeastern Oregon. However, the onset of hotter, drier weather is quickly drying out forests and rangeland, making it easier for fires to start. More than half of ODF-protected lands are in districts that have declared the start of fire season this month. It's especially important as summer approaches to avoid or be extra careful with any potential source of fire in wooded areas. Fire season means the end of most outdoor activities that are high risk for starting a fire, such as debris burning, campfires outside of designated areas, and using tracer ammunition and exploding targets.







Monday, August 25, 2014

As seasonal change approaches, don't let your guard down

Whether it’s human nature or just wishful thinking, we tend to relax our guard against wildfire this time of year at the first signs of the seasonal transition. In the heart of summer amid triple-digit temperatures, we almost expect raging blazes like the Oregon Gulch Fire that consumed 1,000 acres an hour at its peak. While such extreme fire behavior may be less likely now, the dragon can still breathe flames.

This week, both the Douglas Forest Protective Association and the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District announced a rise in the Industrial Fire Precaution Level in their jurisdictions due to hot, dry conditions in the forest. A map charting significant fire potential (http://nfdrs.smkmgt.com/sfp/ODF_Significant_Fire_Potential.htm) shows most of the state at “high,” with the southwest corner registering “extreme.” Lands in either classification can spawn a large, destructive fire.

The potential for dry lightning – the cause of Oregon’s largest fires - historically diminishes in late summer. As the threat from Nature recedes, though, human activity comes to the fore as the chief wildfire concern. Forest fuels are still bone-dry and primed to burn. If we take extra care when recreating or working in the forest, human-caused fires can be prevented.

The Keep Oregon Green Association (www.keeporegongreen.org/) offers common-sense advice on how to prevent fires when camping and recreating in the forest.

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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: 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.



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. 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.