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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Niagara Fire update - July 6 morning

July 6, 2015    

Niagara Fire Update                                                     
Oregon Department of Forestry                                                                                                     
North Cascades District, Santiam Unit
Russ Lane, Incident Commander                                                                                            
Fire Information: (503) 801-8468.

Fire at a glance:
Size: 70 acres, 15% contained
Location: Adjacent to Big Cliff Dam on Highway 22
Personnel: 120
Aircraft: 3 helicopters
Weather: warm and dry today, compared to hot and dry yesterday
Fire control efforts continue on the Niagara Fire located adjacent to the Big Cliff Dam along Highway 22. Fire size has not changed from its size of 70 acres and is now is 15 percent contained.  The fire was first reported on July 4, 2015.
Today, July 6, 2015, the goal will be to “continue to build a fire containment line to secure the fire,” said Blake Ellis Operations Chief adding that “night [firefighting forces] set us up for success today.” Staffing has increased to 120 personnel and has been divided into two shifts providing 24-hour coverage on the fire.

Primary threat to reaching containment is the explosive growth whenever any fire is able to get across the fire line. These “slopovers” have shown that they can grow rapidly, but water-dropping helicopters have been used effectively to stop their spread.

There are no road or recreational closures associated with the fire at this time. Visitors to the Detroit Lake Recreation Area should be aware that boating on the west end of the lake and recreational activities on Detroit dam may be limited due to fire activity. For those traveling Highway 22, visit the Oregon Department of Transportation Trip Check site for the most current information. Fire traffic is heavy in the vicinity of the Big Cliff Dam, and the public is advised to use caution when traveling in this area.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire restrictions are in effect on the Willamette National Forest and state and private forests,

Cooperators include: Willamette National Forest, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon Department of Transportation, Bonneville Power Administration, Detroit-Idahna Fire District, Gates Fire Department, and Lyons Fire Department


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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.