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.







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.
http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/

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, http://www.oregon.gov/odf/pages/fire/precautionlevelmap.aspx.
 
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: 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.



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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. 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.