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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Just one spark

"Now is not the time to let our guard down," says Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields when asked about the pending arrival of fall. "We are still experiencing extreme fire danger conditions throughout much of the state and we need everyone to remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent human caused fires."

The National Weather Service is predicting continued hot weather through the weekend with much of western Oregon under a Red Flag Warning through Saturday. Combined with off shore winds and dry vegetation, the recipe for large fires is still a concern.

While the 525 human-caused fires in 2014 reflects the 10-year average on lands protected by ODF, the 13,000 acres burned is 10,000 more than the average. The Two Bulls Fire near Bend in early June and the Moccasin Fire near Klamath Falls in mid-July were two human caused fires that accounted for 9,500 of those acres. The Moccasin Fire also destroyed 17 homes.

"That's just a testament to the type of conditions we have faced all summer," says Fields. "Just one spark can lead to a fire, and that fire has the potential to grow exponentially in a very short amount of time."

State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is encouraging Oregonians to use extreme caution and to practice safe outdoor equipment use. "The impact of these fires has been far reaching to citizens and communities. Following a few basic outdoor safety tips can keep the final days of summer enjoyable and safe."

As always, check what fire restrictions are in place before you head out. Most areas prohibit campfires outside approved campgrounds. Where campfires are allowed, be sure and build them in a safe area and most importantly, put them completely out before leaving.

Smoking and off road driving is also prohibited. Even vehicles idling over dry grass along the side of the road can start a fire. Earlier this week, a motor home ignited 10 small fires along Highway 97 when hot particles from a faulty catalytic converter spewed out into nearby dry grass.

Each year Oregon is faced with the challenge of wildfires impacting our forests and communities. We all have a stake in protecting what we feel is important to quality of life. In that vein, two opponents on the field are teaming up together to help put an end to careless human caused fires. Football coaches Mike Riley of Oregon State University and Mark Helfrich of the University of Oregon are spreading the word to "tackle" wildfires. Join the team today by visiting

More information:

Contact Info:
CONTACT: Tom Fields, Fire Prevention Coordinator,
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
503) 945-7440

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have a question/comment about this season's wildfire activity on the 16 million acres of private and public forestlands that the Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects from wildfire? Let us know. Please keep your remarks civil and free of profanity.

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

My photo
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.