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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Eldorado Fire update - 08-20-15

Oregon Department of Forestry
Incident Management Team 3
Link Smith, Incident Commander

Baker County Joint Information Center: (541) 523-2905

August 20, 2015

NOTE: Updates will now occur once daily before 10 a.m. unless significant changes or events take place during an operation period.

Unity, Ore. –  At approximately 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, a helicopter working on the Eldorado Fire eight miles southeast of Unity experienced a hard landing. The incident occurred on the western portion of the fire near King Creek in the vicinity of a medical unit serving firefighters on the line. Both occupants exited the helicopter unhurt and were transported by ambulance to St. Alphonsus Ontario Medical Center for further evaluation.

Current Fire Information
Firefighters continue to prepare for the pending weather change that is expected to bring increased winds to the area over the next two days. The incident meteorologist assigned to the fire says winds will elevate this afternoon out of the west along the ridge tops. The strongest winds are expected to arrive Friday morning and could be as strong as 40 miles per hour out of the north/northwest. Crews continue to work with aircraft to strengthen southern containment lines along the east side of Ironside Mountain and mop up hot spots to prevent hot embers from crossing.  The fire is now 20,611 acres and 40 percent contained.

On a separate note, Highway 245 from Unity to Baker City is now open. Motorists should travel with caution due to fire traffic still in the area.

There are now 435 personnel assigned to the Eldorado Fire. Resources on the fireline include 14 crews, 15 dozers, 26 engines, 7 water-tenders and 4 helicopters.


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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.


About Me

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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.