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.







Friday, August 21, 2015

Eagle Complex Fire Closure Expanded and Phase C Public Use Restrictions (No Campfires) Implemented in the Eagle Cap Wilderness Effective Midnight Tonight

News Release
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
1550 Dewey Ave.
Baker City, OR 97814
www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman
Katy Gray (541) 523-1246 August 21, 2015
Matt Burks (541) 523-1208


Baker City, OR: To provide for the safety of Wallowa-Whitman National Forest visitors the Eagle Complex Emergency Fire Area Closure area has been expanded effective August 22. The Emergency Closure and a map of the affected areas are available at www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/ Active fire behavior, leading to level one, two and three evacuation areas and increased fire traffic on forest roads have prompted forest officials to implement the larger closure area for public and firefighter safety. Information about the Eagle Complex Fire and the evacuation areas is available at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4481/

Depending on fire conditions and hazards the closure area may expand or contract. Any changes will be communicated via news release, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest website and Inciweb.
Due to the amount of active fire on the landscape and the dry fuel conditions, fire officials have decided to implement Phase C Public Use Restrictions within the Eagle Cap Wilderness. “Generally the Eagle Cap Wilderness is exempt from seasonal Public Use Restrictions,” said Deputy District Ranger, Wallowa Mountains Zone, Jake Lubera, “But this year we can’t afford to take any chances”. People will still be able to use their gas camp stoves and wood burning stoves equipped with a chimney and a spark arresting screen, but there will be no campfires in the Eagle Cap Wilderness beginning August 22. The forest order is available at www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/

Several emergency area closures are in effect on the Whitman and La Grande Districts due to the Cornet/Windy Ridge, Eagle Complex and Merry-Go-Round Fires. To view a map of the closure area and the forest order please visit www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/ Also available at this website are daily fire updates from the Joint Information Center and the Public Use Restrictions for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

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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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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.



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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.