Current situation

Fires in the Garner Complex in Josephine County have burned close to a 1,000 acres since Sunday. ODF Incident Management Team 2 has taken command of the Complex to allow the Southwest Oregon District to focus on dozens of other lightning-sparked wildfires. While temperatures in many parts of Oregon won't be quite as hot today, conditions are drier than normal for this time of year. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 99% of Oregonians live in areas that are abnormally dry or in moderate drought, with southeast Oregon already in severe drought.

Many ODF districts and forest protective associations have raised their fire danger level and tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx





Friday, August 21, 2015

Extrreme fire danger not letting up; ODF's West Oregon District urges caution in Oregon's forests



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  Distribution:  Major Media

August 21, 2015                                              Contact:  Shirl Fredenburg, (541) 336-2273

 

Northwest Oregon is currently experiencing fire danger not seen in recent memory and weather forecasts don’t provide any relief. Forest fuels are at record dry levels and forecasts for this weekend indicate it will continue to be hot and dry. Everyone should be concerned.

The Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) West Oregon District is currently engaged in fighting the Willamina Creek Fire approximately 9 miles north of the community of Willamina. Four cabins were evacuated as a result of the fire and forest resources have been lost. Estimated to be about 140 acres, this fire is under investigation, but it is believed to have been human-caused, possibly by recreational activities. In addition to the Willamina Creek Fire, the District’s firefighters continue their daily work of responding to reports of smoke and fire throughout the District. All of these fire activities stretch available resources very thin.

This fire season gives managers pause and calls attention to the need for everyone to exercise extreme caution in the forest and elsewhere. Land managers have tightened fire restrictions over the last week over much of the state.

On lands protected by ODF in the West Oregon District, public use restrictions, which limit campfires, chainsaw use, and mowing of dry grass and require forest travelers to carry fire tools, have been in place since mid-June, weeks earlier than in recent years.

Before you head out to the forest, parks or beaches for your weekend plans, take a moment to learn the fire restrictions for that area. You can find out more about fire rules by contacting the local ODF office.

In Benton County contact the ODF – Philomath office (541) 929-3266
In Lincoln County contact the ODF – Toledo office (541) 336-2273
In Polk and southwest Yamhill County contact the ODF – Dallas Office (503) 934-8146

Or by using ODF’s interactive map of forest restriction here: http://www.oregon.gov/odf/pages/fire/precautionlevelmap.aspx

Every person has a role in preventing wildfires.
 

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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

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.