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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sugarload Fire update - 06-30-15 evening

Oregon Department of Forestry
Incident Management Team 1
John Buckman, Incident Commander

Contact: Brian Ballou, Information Officer, (541) 621-4156

5,016 acres
20 percent contained
Night Shift Resources:
3 hand crews
2 fire engines
2 water tenders
75 total personnel

Fire activity was moderate on the Sugarloaf Fire today, with little additional acreage burned outside of the previous fire perimeter. Some interior pockets of unburned fuels were consumed, reducing the chance of a reburn later. Crews were able to establish a fire line along part of the north to northeast edge of the fire. More mopup was completed around the structures along Dick Creek Road.
A Hot Shot crew worked on the Blue Basin Fire near State Route 19, maintaining containment of the fire without damaging any sites in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. A crew also suppressed a small lightning fire discovered today, about four miles north of Sugarloaf Mountain. Today this fire team also assumed responsibility for the Schoolhouse Gulch Fire. It is about 2 miles east of Dayville, roughly 100 acres in size, and relatively quiet.
Tonight the fire personnel will lay hoses along the fire lines that the day shift completed on the northeast part of the fire. This area has more trees and other heavy fuels which burn more intensely. The hose lays will be needed to supply enough water to extinguish this part of the fire. Other night shift personnel will continue to patrol the fire, watching for hot spots to extinguish. They will concentrate their efforts near the structures and along Dick Creek Road. A “heavy” helicopter will be available to help with water drops if needed until about 9:00 p.m.
On Wednesday, this fire team will be assuming suppression responsibility for the Corner Creek Fire. It is burning on the west side of the South Fork John Day River about 11 miles south of Dayville. This fire grew several thousand acres today.
The forecast for the rest of the week is for continuing hot weather with low humidity. Winds are a concern, especially in the evenings when “sundowner” winds have been gusting to 20 mph. Some nights the winds haven’t abated until 2 a.m.
Information about the Sugarloaf Fire is posted online 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:

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.