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.







Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Oregon Dept of Forestry Fire Update for Tuesday, August 11, 2015

NEW FIRES
The lightning-caused Cornet Fire (EOA) was reported yesterday burning in sagebrush and grass near Hereford, Oregon. Access is difficult but the fire is 50% contained this morning. This fire has burnt approximately 243 acres. Tough terrain has made firefighting difficult.
Resources assigned: A North Powder Rural engine, a Sumpter engine and a Baker Rural tender.
Also three 10 person hand crews from Snake River Correctional Center, one 10 person hand crew from Powder River Correctional Center, two Type 2 contract hand crews with 20 people each, two contract skidgens (i.e. part skidder, part fire engine) and a contract bulldozer.
Suppression efforts are being led by ODF, although assistance has come from several of the Baker County Fire Departments.
“Things are very dry. It’s important that folks that are out and about are paying attention to the restrictions that are in place. We need to prevent the human -caused fires that could add to our workload,” says Wildland Fire Supervisor Steve Meyer, Baker ODF.
Much of Northeast Oregon is under Red Flag Warning today for thunderstorms with abundant lightning. The public is reminded that ODF is currently in Regulated Use Closure in Northeast Oregon.
Fire managers recommend that recreationists check the fire regulations before heading out to enjoy the forest.  Contact a local Oregon Department of Forestry office for more complete information on ODF Restrictions.
La Grande Unit (541)963-3168
Baker City Sub-Unit (541)523-5831
Wallowa Unit (541) 886-2881
Pendleton Unit (541)276-3491
Comet Fire Fire Information:  Jamie Knight, (541) 786-0501
 
FIRES CURRENTLY BURNING ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS
The Stouts Creek Fire (Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) burning 11 miles east of Canyonville near Milo on forestlands protected by DFPA, is currently estimated at approximately 23,388 acres and 50 percent containment.
The fire size continues to grow as managed burns, called burnouts, bring the fire to the constructed fire line.  This is the first step in securing these lines. Growth of the fire’s size and associated smoke is expected as this work continues. Almost 50% of the Stout’s Creek Fire perimeter is now considered as a secured fire line.  Work continues to fortify these lines and more than 45 miles of fire hose is in place to provide water for the work.    
Evacuation level around the community of Drew between mileposts 28-39 were lowered to a Level I as of 6 p.m. on August 10th by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
Today the weather will be moderate and good progress on the fire is expected from the 1,900 firefighters now assigned to the fire.  On the sides of the fire bordering Milo, Tiller, and Drew mop-up operations will continue. North of Upper Cow Creek Road the possibility of burnout operations will be evaluated, otherwise firefighters will continue to prepare the fire lines for a future burnout.
Heavy equipment is in use along Forest Road 3201 and all non-essential traffic is requested to avoid this area.  All county roads are open within the fire vicinity, but caution is advised as fire suppression traffic is heavy.
There are 1,900 personnel assigned to this fire, with twenty three states and two Canadian providences supplying fire staff. Many of these personnel bring expertise in burnout operations and tree falling, allowing local firefighters to return to their initial attack responsibilities and other people who have been helping to return to their regular jobs.  As fire containment objectives are reached there will also be a steady release of firefighters assigned to this fire.
Smoke: With continued smoke in the area, those with health concerns should talk to their doctor or go to www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com where there is information on wildfires and health as well as access to AQI monitors. Motorists are urged to be careful driving through smoke on the roads, and turn on their low beam headlights. Residents and travelers also are asked to not stop along Tiller-Trail Highway to view fire or helicopter activity as traffic is heavy with response vehicles.
Fire costs: The Stouts Creek Fire costs to date are $19.4 million. The State and National teams leading the effort under unified command are protecting lands that are about 50 percent on state protected lands, which include BLM and private lands, and 50 percent on the Umpqua National Forest. The fire is being managed cooperatively by the Oregon Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service. The Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team 1 develops and leads the wildland fire suppression strategy.
The cause of this fire remains under investigation.
Stouts Fire Information:
PH: 541-825-3724
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4426/
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/StoutsFire
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/StoutsFire
E-mail:
StoutsFire@gmail.com
#StoutsFire
The Cable Crossing Fire, (Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) burning on DFPA-protected private and public forestlands six miles east of Glide, is currently estimated at 1,857 acres and is now 80 percent contained.  A Type 3 Team is now assigned to the fire (Incident Commander Brian Reel). Crews are continuing to mop-up.  
The cause of this fire remains under investigation.
Cable Creek Fire information:
PH: 541-817-7186
#cablecrossingfire 
The Phillips Creek Fire (Northeast Oregon District – LaGrande Unit) located 3-4 miles northwest of Elgin in northeast Oregon in brush, grass, slash, and heavy timber predominantly on the Umatilla National Forest, has burned 3,601 acres including approximately 435 acres of ODF-protected private forestlands.  The fire is now 70 percent contained, with 544 personnel assigned including 14 crews. Level 1 (Get Ready) evacuations were lifted on Sunday evening, however road closures in the area of the fire are in effect. Yesterday burnout operations were completed in the northwest area of the fire and crews are in mop up today.
Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 2 (Incident Commander Brett Fillis) assumed management of the Phillips Creek Fire on August 5 but the team will transition to a Type 3 Team tomorrow. A community meeting was held last night at Elgin Community Center, with representatives from the IMT, U.S. Forest Service, ODF, and Union County.
Due to the impact and continuing threats to ODF-protection, ODF is fully integrated with the team, with personnel assigned specifically to help protect ODF-protected private forestlands, as well as assigned elsewhere directly to the team or serving as liaisons. 
Phillips Creek Fire Information:
PH: 541-975-4271
#Phillipscreekfire

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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.



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. There are about 30.4 million total 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.