Current situation

Hot, dry weather continues to dry out fuels. That makes any fires that do get started likely to spread quickly and be harder to put out. As a result, many ODF districts and forest protective associations are tightening restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. For example, fire danger in the Douglas Forest Protective Association and The Dalles Unit of ODF's Central Oregon District is now rated as extreme. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Niagara Fire Update, Tuesday, July 7, 2015 @ 8 a.m.

July 7, 2015 8:00 a.m.
Niagara Fire Update                                                     
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                  
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, 35% contained
Location: Adjacent to Big Cliff Dam on Highway 22
Personnel: 180
Aircraft: Two Type 2 helicopters
Weather: warm and dry today

A fire containment line has been established around the Niagara Fire and additional growth is not anticipated. The fire is mapped at 70 acres and containment is 35%.

The goal for July 7, 2015 is to secure the fire containment line by extinguishing all fire adjacent to it and working inward.  Firefighting hose has been positioned along a portion of the line providing firefighters with a ready source of water.  Tuesday night, 6,000 gallons of water were used in this effort.  Where the ground is just too steep for a person to walk helicopters will drop water to cool the fire.  At the morning briefing Blake Ellis, Operations Chief, established the importance of the work saying “there are challenges out there but I don’t want you to go quickly over it, make sure it is 100% out”.

Depending on the firefighters work today, containment is expected to steadily increase.  Infrared (heat seeing) cameras were used last night to check for remaining fire along Highway 22 where the fire began. Very little fire was found in the area, and that will be put out today.  Even though the fire is located on very rugged and rocky ground progress has been good.  Russ Lane, Incident Commander, commented that he was “super impressed with the efforts of the firefighters”.

There are no road or recreational closures associated with the fire at this time.

The Niagara Fire was first reported July 4, 2015 and is located adjacent to the Big Cliff Dam along Highway 22.  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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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.

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.