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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sugarloaf Fire update - June 30, 2015 a.m.

Oregon Dept. of Forestry's Incident Management Team 1 reported on the status of the Sugarloaf Fire this morning.

Contact: Brian Ballou, Information Officer, (541) 621-4156 

Fire at a glance:
Size: 5,016 acres
Containment: 20 percent
Cause: lightning
Firefighting resources: 7 hand crews, 12 fire engines, 2 bulldozers, 2 water tenders, 232 total personnel
The Sugarloaf Fire is expected to burn more intensely today. The moisture from Sunday’s thunderstorms has dissipated, resulting in drier fuels and lower relative humidity. The amount the fire spreads will be largely influenced by winds and topography. The primary fuels inside the fire perimeter are grasslands and juniper trees in the low country and pine and fir stringers on the upper slopes. This lightning-caused fire covers 5,016 acres and is 20% contained.  There are 232 persons assigned to day shift on the fire.
On Monday, progress was made on extinguishing areas around structures on Dick Creek Road.  Helicopters were used to cool an area with steep slopes and heavy fuels above Johnny Creek on the north edge of the fire. Dozers worked on creating and improving fuel breaks along the north and east edges of the fire.
Steep slopes and limited access are restricting the suppression efforts on several areas of the fire. Due to steep, broken terrain, fire lines are being dug by hand along parts of the northeast and south edges of the fire. Unburned pockets of fuel inside the current fire area also continue to burn. Engines are patrolling the perimeter roads and the Dick Creek Road to extinguish hot spots near structures. Approximately 12 structures in the Dick Creek Road area were threatened by the fire.
Yesterday this fire team assumed command of a new fire that started to the west of the Sugarloaf Fire. The Blue Basin Fire burned about 400 acres east of State Route 19, largely within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Fire personnel will be working to control this fire without damaging the special resources in the Monument.  This is a human-caused fire, under investigation.
The Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team 1 assumed command of the Sugarloaf Fire at 6:00 a.m. yesterday. The team is working for the Bureau of Land Management, the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and ODF’s Central Oregon District. The fire is located approximately 8 miles north of Dayville. This incident is being managed as a full suppression fire. Efforts are being made to contain the fire and minimize private acreage burned.
Sensitive sites within the fire area include nationally recognized fossil beds, anadromous fish spawning beds and golden eagle nesting sites. Firefighters are using care to minimize suppression impacts in these areas while they take the actions necessary to contain the fire.
Hazards confronting firefighters include rattlesnakes, lightning, and hot, dry weather. High winds around thunderstorms may cause erratic fire behavior and rapid movement.
Information about the Sugarloaf Fire is posted online at

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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.


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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.