Current situation

Gov. Kate Brown focused Oregon's attention on the active wildfire situation in Oregon at a morning news conference in Portland today. ODF's Chief of Fire Protection Doug Grafe and other state agencies shared how they are responding to the wildfire emergency the Gov. declared Wednesday.

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, 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

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.