Lightning is largely absent from Oregon this week. However, warm, dry weather will greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21. Avoiding activities that can spark a wildfire is key to making the eclipse a safe and pleasant experience for all. One measure adopted to reduce the risk of wildfire is a temporary ban, now in effect, on all campfires in state parks





Saturday, August 2, 2014

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - Aug. 2, 2014

FIRES
Lightning continues to move through parts of Oregon, igniting fires in those areas of the state on all ownerships.  Firefighting agencies continue to be busy doing initial attack on fires that have been identified, and reconnaissance for other possible fire starts.  Lightning continues in the forecast through the week-end and into next week.

As fire starts continue on all jurisdictions, ODF is actively securing additional resources and engaging in aggressive initial attack on ODF-protected forestlands throughout the state, so that fire-starts can quickly be brought under control and resources can then be re-deployed where they are most needed next.

Fire season 2014 continues to be challenging and, particularly with the ever-present lightning, ODF appreciates the public’s help in being fire-safe while recreating or working on any of Oregon’s forestlands.  Additional human-caused fire-starts will only result in taxing the already-challenged firefighting resources and agencies in Oregon – as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. 

Large fires currently burning within ODF’s protection jurisdiction include:

Central Oregon District – John Day Unit:  The South Fork Complex is burning around the South Fork of the John Day River.  It consists of two fires, Murderers Creek and Buck Fork.  The Murderers Creek Fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Malheur National Forest, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and private forestlands.  In addition to the ODF responsibility for the private forestlands affected by this fire, ODF is also the jurisdictional agency on the ODFW lands, however, they are actually protected by the BLM under a formal agreement.  Today, Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 4 (Incident Commander Brian Watts) assumes management of this complex.  Approximate fire acreages for Murderers Creek (which merged with what was initially a third fire, Placer Gulch), is 9,000 acres; Buck Fork is estimated at 80 acres and 80 percent contained.

Southwest Oregon District - The Beaver Complex consists of two fires: the Salt Creek Fire, 20 miles northwest of Medford, and the Oregon Gulch Fire, 15 miles east of Ashland in the proximity of the Soda Mountain Wilderness.  Yesterday, erratic, gusty winds on the Oregon Gulch Fire, approximately 21,088 acres and 5 percent contained, caused extreme fire behavior and rapid fire spread.  The fire has consumed a total 3 homes, 5 outbuildings, and multiple vehicles. There are 270 structures threatened in Oregon and California.  The Salt Creek Fire had little fire activity yesterday, increasing from 108 acres to 146 acres, and is 30 percent contained, as fire personnel were able to complete line construction around the fire perimeter.  Due to the complexity of the Oregon Gulch Fire, a unified command structure with Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, and CAL FIRE has been established.  The unified command will host a community meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Green Springs Fire Station.  Information on this complex: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4034/.

Central Oregon District – John Day Unit - Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 1 (Incident Commander John Buckman) assumed command of the Haystack Complex on July 31, 2014  The Incident Command Post is located at Spray and the fires, on private lands, are full suppression fires.  Current status:  Today’s goal is to establish and reinforce a control line around the School House Fire, detected yesterday and included within the complex.  Mop up continues on the Haystack, Steet, and Hog Ridge fires.  Meeting mop up standards is anticipated within 24 hours.  The remaining objectives of the Complex are completing the suppression work on existing fires and being ready to support the local District with initial attack of new fires. A recognition of the current fire situation was shared by Incident Commander, John Buckman at the morning briefing, and he also emphasized safety. The Haystack Fire is located three miles northeast of Spray and is currently mapped at 1,155 acres. The Throop Fire, located about three miles northeast of Dayville, is mapped at 490 acres. The Steet Fire located, seven miles northeast of Monument, is mapped at 50 acres. The Hog Ridge Fire, located nine miles northwest of Dayville, is mapped at 55 acres.  The School House Fire, located six miles east of Monument, is mapped at 73 acres.  Information on this complex: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4020/.

Fires on other jurisdictions in Oregon
More information on the following fires can be found at: http://nwccweb.us/index.aspx and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.

As management of these fires continues to result in Incident Management Teams transitioning them back over to local units, they will be removed from this list; information may still be found on the Inciweb site (URL above).

Sniption Fire: 25,000 acres; 60 percent contained.  More information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4026/ .

Pumice Complex:   More information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4014/.

Hurricane Creek Fire:  [No new report received today.] 1,018 acres, 20 percent contained.  The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is monitoring the fire, burning in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and evaluating the potential for increased activity, ready to respond if the fire moves north and threatens ODF-protected forestlands.  The forest has successfully secured in the northwest corner of the fire, strengthening the line nearest ODF-protected private lands.  More information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3966/ .

Logging Unit Fires: 10,447 acres, 70 percent contained. More information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3973/ .

 
FIRE STATISTICS
Due to heavy firefighting activity our fire statistics have not been updated. They will return when the database has been made current.

OTHER FIRE INFORMATION
For information on wildfires in other jurisdictions within Oregon, go to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, http://www.nwccweb.us/ and to the national Incident Information System website at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.

Statewide air quality index readings are available at http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx.

NEWS MEDIA
News media may call the Fire Information Duty Officer, (see below), 24/7 for fire information. The duty officer will call back promptly. Media may also call the Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters office, 503-945-7200, weekdays during business hours.

Jeri Chase | Public Information Officer
Oregon Department of Forestry
Desk 503-945-7201
Cell   503-931-2721

 

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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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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.