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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fire danger on the rise

High temperatures and threat of lightning forecasted

June 24, 2015

Contact: Tom Fields
Oregon Department of Forestry
(503) 945-7440 or (503) 983-8897

Fire managers throughout Oregon are feeling the heat. Continued hot, dry weather is plaguing the region that could lead to a significant fire from a single spark.

“I’m sure everyone is aware of the heat wave that is predicted over the next several days,” says Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields. “While we’re all looking for ways to stay cool, now is not the time to be careless with activities that could lead to a wildfire.”

Fire season is now in effect throughout Oregon and much of the state is experiencing fire danger conditions normally seen in late July and August. ODF Meteorologists are predicting record warm weather across Oregon later this week, with afternoon temperatures climbing into the 95-105 °F range by Friday and continuing through the weekend.  In addition, southerly flow aloft will bring an increasing risk of dry thunderstorms, on both sides of the Cascades, beginning in southern Oregon on Friday and spreading north across the state this weekend.  With forests already at mid-August dryness levels, the impending hot spell and dry lightning poses a significant fire weather threat. While wildland fire agencies gear up for natural-caused wildfires, the last thing anyone wants is careless human-caused fires.

“The conditions are driving the story. So far, we’re seeing above normal numbers of human-caused fires.” Fields says even activities not normally linked to fire starts are causing concern. “We have had three fires related to target shooting just in the last week. One of those fires burned 67 acres and cost over $80,000 to put out. These fires, and the fact that we have already had 80-plus human-caused fires above the average for this time of year is an indication that we need everyone to think twice before conducting any spark emitting activity.”

So far in 2015 the Oregon Department of Forestry has suppressed 301 fires in 2015, 227 of which were started by people. The two leading causes are debris burning and campfires. Many parts of the state have imposed public fire restrictions on outdoor debris burning, campfires, off road driving, fireworks, the use of tracer ammunition and exploding targets to name a few. Log on to for fire restrictions in your area or call your local Oregon Department of Forestry office or fire department.


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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 snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these 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.