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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tuesday a successful day for Central Oregon District firefighters

June 30 was a very successful day for firefighters working in ODF's Central Oregon District(COD). All fires in the John Day Unit were held within containment lines. 

The Jones Canyon Fire was mapped at 840 acres yesterday. Several SPA [special purpose appropriation] aircraft were used to aid firefighters on the ground and hold the fire within fire lines.  This fire is burning in steep rocky terrain with difficult access.  Firefighters will be focusing on mop-up on this fire over the next several days. There is significant work to be done to cool hot spots and strengthen the fire line. 

Firefighters at the Harper Complex will continue to focus on mop-up within the containment lines of the fires. There has been no growth on these fires since Monday.

On Monday The Dalles Unit held the Happy Ridge Fire to just under 15 acres. This fire had significant potential, burning in pine and oak with high temperatures. The fire boss from Salem and SEATs [single engine air tankers] were used to cool fuels and allow crews and dozers to construct line.   

Fire crews throughout the district have provided mutual aid to other agencies in addition to suppressing numerous ODF fires ignited by the weekend thunderstorms. Extreme fire conditions remain throughout the district with high temperatures, low humidity, and increasing winds.  Yesterday’s success will allow fire managers to regroup and prepare for thunderstorms forecast for later this weekend and early next week as well as the potential fire activity over the holiday weekend. The potential for holdover fires remains a threat throughout the district.

Over the next few days resources will be released from the fires and will be returning to their home units. Sending units will be contacted to plan for their return. These resources have done an outstanding job, and are much appreciated for their hard work.

ODF Team 1 (John Buckman, incident commander) has been making significant progress on the Sugarloaf Fire burning on BLM Offset private lands as well as BLM and inside the John Day Fossil Beds. This fire is approximately 4,800 acres. Yesterday team assumed command of the Blue Basin Fire inside the Fossil Beds, which burned just over 300 acres. This fire is under investigation and is currently in mop-up status. Later this afternoon the team will assume control of the Corner Creek Fire, estimated to have grown to over 6,000 acres since it was discovered on June 29. Corner Creek is also burning on BLM Offset private lands, BLM and Forest Service lands. It is located about 11 miles south of Dayville on the edge of the Black Canyon Wilderness. The fire is burning away from the wilderness on the west side of the S. Fork of the John Day River. The fire is burning across the river from the site of the South Fork Complex which burned in 2014. Yesterday the fire grew from 2,500 to the estimated 6,000 acres. A VLAT [very large air tanker], 3 tankers, 4 SEATs [single engine air tankers] and 3 helicopters were used to protect structures along Wind Creek. 

As we have all heard and seen, fire conditions are extreme with no relief in sight. Resources from other districts and areas, along with the SPA aircraft, contributed to the effort and success in controlling these fires under extreme conditions. While it is only July 1, we are truly in the heart of fire season. 

Thanks to all the firefighters who have come to COD and helped put the fires out, as well as to everyone who has picked up extra duties back in their home units.  

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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.