Current situation

Fires in the Garner Complex in Josephine County have burned close to a 1,000 acres since Sunday. ODF Incident Management Team 2 has taken command of the Complex to allow the Southwest Oregon District to focus on dozens of other lightning-sparked wildfires. While temperatures in many parts of Oregon won't be quite as hot today, conditions are drier than normal for this time of year. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 99% of Oregonians live in areas that are abnormally dry or in moderate drought, with southeast Oregon already in severe drought.

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

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Corner Creek Fire update - July 5, 2015 afternoon

Oregon Department of Forestry                                                                                                                                                   

Incident Management Team 1                                                                                                                                                    

John Buckman, Incident Commander                                                                                                                                      
Fire Information: (541) 987-2348                                                                                                                                              
A minor change in the weather has made a significant difference for firefighters working to contain the 26,000-acre Corner Creek Fire, located 11 miles south of Dayville on the Ochoco National Forest. It has also helped to have assembled a sizeable fire suppression workforce supported by plenty of hardware.

Today, seven helicopters are poised to haul water buckets or sling equipment to firefighters in even the most remote portions of the fire. Air tankers are also available, if needed. Eight bulldozers and 28 20-person crews, including eight hotshot crews, are distributed along the south and west flanks of the Corner Creek Fire to construct containment line and respond to spot fires, should they occur. Thirty-five wildland fire engines patrol the South Fork John Day River road and other roads inside and outside of the burned area to extinguish hot spots near the fire’s edge.

And due to the slightly cooler, moister air, firefighters have spent more time lately on strengthening containment lines instead of chasing spot fires.

The average daytime temperature has dropped from 100-plus degrees to the mid-90s, and the humidity has climbed from single-digits into the teens. Overnight the humidity rises to nearly 50 percent. While this may seem insignificant for most people, this has been a dramatic change for firefighters toiling night and day to keep the fire from crossing containment lines. Lower temperatures and higher humidity means fire behavior is less intense.

This is a major change from last week. For several days in a row, the Corner Creek Fire slipped out of control and surged south across forests and rangeland, sometimes burning thousands of acres in a few hours.

Now, fire crews are making a bare-earth fireline around the southern-most three-fourths of the Corner Creek Fire, protecting valuable forestland, rangeland and sage grouse habitat from wildfire. The northern quarter of the fire, in the Black Canyon Wilderness, is being treated more tenderly by hotshot crews trained to slow the fire’s advance with light-on-the-land suppression tactics.

While the fire is only 10 percent contained, its chances for escape, particularly toward private lands and areas of sage grouse habitat, reduce hour-by-hour as containment lines grow ever longer. Final containment of this incident will take a significant amount of time and additional work.

Suppression operations are being supervised by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team 1, led by Incident Commander John Buckman.

Information about the Corner Creek Fire is posted online at


Brian Ballou
Fire Prevention Specialist
ODF Southwest Oregon District
Office: (541) 665-0662
Cell: (541) 621-4156


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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.

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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.