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, October 13, 2014

Transitions: summer to fall, wildfire to prescribed fire

As fall weather finally begins to take hold after the long wildfire season, many forest landowners are shifting to another form of fire. Prescribed burning removes downed woody material from the forest, reducing wildfire risk when next summer rolls around. And when conducted following timber harvest, these controlled fires help prepare the soil for replanting of young trees.

In addition to clearing excess vegetation that would otherwise compete with young trees soon to be planted, prescribed burning releases nutrients into the soil to jumpstart their growth.


Oregon’s Forest Practices Act, the first in the nation, requires replanting after logging.

To minimize smoke intrusions into populated areas, Oregon Department of Forestry meteorologists daily monitor weather conditions, and issue forecasts and burning instructions throughout the fall prescribed burning season.

To prevent excessive smoke caused by too many burns at one time, the weather forecasters coordinate hundreds of burning requests from private and public forest landowners.

In contrast to prescribed burns, which take place in fall and also spring, large wildfires typically occur in summer when weather conditions often trap smoke in populated valleys for an extended period.

Since 1972, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has regulated forestland burning in the state under the Oregon Smoke Management Plan. Though smoke intrusions into populated areas occasionally occur due to unexpected changes in weather and wind conditions, ODF’s oversight of prescribed burning minimizes such occurrences.

More information on prescribed forest burning can be found online, www.oregon.gov/odf

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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.