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.







Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fire protection agencies seek public cooperation

Contacts:       
      
Tom Fields                                                       
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
503-945-7440
 
Rich Hoover
Office of State Fire Marshal
503-934-8217

High Temperatures and Threat of Lightning Forecasted

As the heat returns to the region this week, fire managers are once again spreading the word of caution in efforts to prevent human-caused fires. Fire weather meteorologists are anticipating temperatures in the high 90’s and low 100’s midweek with a chance of lightning in southern and eastern Oregon arriving Friday. A Red Flag Warning is also in effect for much of the Willamette Valley and southern Oregon calling for hot and dry unstable conditions combined with low fuel moisture levels.

As fire season hits full stride, the chances of fires starting and spreading rapidly are of grave concern.

“We’re looking at a formidable fire weather forecast,” said Oregon State Forester Doug Decker. “The benefit of any recent moisture we’ve received has now evaporated, and we’re looking straight at record-breaking temperatures, extremely low humidities, and dry lightning: the trifecta of bad wildfire conditions.”

“This is the time for all Oregonians and visitors to be extremely aware of fire danger. One wrong move with power equipment, a cigarette, or any open flame can spell trouble.”

Homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts alike can contribute to the fire prevention campaign by reducing fire prone activities. Campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds on public lands and prohibited entirely on all private lands under ODF’s protection. Outdoor debris burning also remains prohibited throughout much of the state. While logging activity is being curtailed under these extreme conditions, many large industrial landowners have also closed their gates to public access in efforts to reduce possible ignitions from off-road driving, target shooting, smoking and campfires; all of which are illegal during fire season.

Should a fire occur close to communities, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is urging homeowners to be prepared in case an evacuation is necessary. “A serious wildfire can come up in a moment’s notice, so residents need to prepare now in case they have to leave their home, Walker said. “Make sure to put together a “Go Kit” and make a plan where your family will go and how you will stay in contact.” Find out more at www.wildlandfirersg.org .

To date, 621 fires have burned 3,393 acres on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and forest protective associations. Of these, 429 have been caused by people. ODF protects about 16 million acres of private and public forest and grazing land from wildfire in Oregon.

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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: 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.