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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wildfire danger on the rise in Oregon

September 11, 2014

For wildfire managers, the current forecast of dry easterly winds and rising temperatures means just one thing: elevated fire behavior. East winds, common in late summer and early fall, can turn a smoldering campfire or an errant spark from a vehicle into a raging blaze in minutes. And the winds coming later this week are predicted to be especially strong – 15 to 20 mph. The low humidity, coupled with wind and high temperatures, can turbocharge even the smallest fire start.

Whether this weather event spawns new wildfires depends almost entirely on how Oregonians behave in the forest. This time of year, human activity is the chief cause of fires, not lightning. We can prevent wildfires by taking extra precautions as we work and recreate in the forest. You can make the difference by following a few simple tips:

§  Operate ATVs and other motorized vehicles only on established roads.

§  Check your vehicle for dragging tow chains that can send sparks into roadside vegetation.

§  Don’t park on dry grass – the hot exhaust system can set it smoldering in seconds.

§  Check current fire restrictions for the area before building a campfire. Open fires may be prohibited. But if allowed, tend the fire constantly and extinguish it thoroughly before leaving the area.

§  Smoke only in an enclosed vehicle. Properly dispose of cigarette butts.

The Keep Oregon Green Association offers additional tips on preventing wildfires at:

Rod Nichols                                                     Kris Babbs
Oregon Dept. of Forestry                             Keep Oregon Green Assoc.
503-945-7425                                                 503-945-7499                    

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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:

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

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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.