Current situation

Fires in the Garner Complex in Josephine County have burned close to a 1,000 acres since Sunday. ODF Incident Management Team 2 has taken command of the Complex to allow the Southwest Oregon District to focus on dozens of other lightning-sparked wildfires. While temperatures in many parts of Oregon won't be quite as hot today, conditions are drier than normal for this time of year. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 99% of Oregonians live in areas that are abnormally dry or in moderate drought, with southeast Oregon already in severe drought.

Many ODF districts and forest protective associations have raised their fire danger level and tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx





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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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

National weather forecasters are predicting the summer of 2018 will see above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Drought has already been declared in a number of counties in eastern and southern Oregon, with northwest Oregon also unusually dry for June. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

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.