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 28, 2015

NW Oregon to raise fire precaution levels July 30

July 28, 2015      

Contact:
Malcolm Hiatt
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
503-397-2636, Malcolm.e.hiatt@oregon.gov

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will increase restrictions on industrial activity in the forests of northwestern Oregon July 30 in response to rising wildfire danger forecast to begin later this week. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) for the NW-1 Zone will go to Level 2, and Zones NW-2 and NW-3 will rise to Level 3 on that date.

These changes affect all lands protected by the Northwest Oregon Forest Protection District (ODF’s Astoria, Forest Grove and Tillamook districts), including all forestland within one-eighth of a mile of the districts. (A map showing the zones can be found on the ODF website, www.oregon.gov/odf/pages/fire/precautionlevelmap.aspx)

Level 2: Partial Hootowl
The following activities are allowed only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.:
·         powersaw use except at loading sites
·         cable yarding
·         blasting
·         welding or cutting of metal

Level 3: Partial Shutdown
The following activities are prohibited except as indicated:
  • cable yarding - except that gravity operated logging systems employing non-motorized carriages may operate between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. when all blocks and moving lines are suspended 10 feet above the ground, except the line between the carriage and the chokers.
  • powersaws - except powersaws may be used at loading sites and on tractor/skidder operations between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.  
In addition, the following activities are allowed between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.:
  • tractor/skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fire line are immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start; 
  • mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material;
  • blasting;
  • welding or cutting of metal;
  • any other spark-emitting operation not specifically mentioned.
Fire watch waiver is still in effect:
IFPL 1 = 1 hour
IFPL 2 = 2 hours
IFPL 3 = 3 hours
IFPL 4 = Shutdown

With NW-2 & NW-3 at IFPL 3, the non-industrial chainsaw waiver and the OHV (off-highway vehicle) waiver are not applicable. The OHV trails in the Browns Camp, Jordan Creek, Diamond Mill, and Trask and the trails in the BLM Nestucca Riding Area are CLOSED and will remain closed until further notice. Only the improved, maintained gravel roads in the Browns Camp, Jordan Creek, Diamond Mill, Trask and all other areas of the forest remain open for OHV use. 

More information can be found at:

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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.