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.







Thursday, August 20, 2015

Stouts Ck Fire update - 08-20-15 morning

Two days of hot, dry weather tested firelines and crews on the Stouts Creek Fire’s southern edge as personnel continue to make progress on burnout operations and containment. The fire is 25,806 acres and 76 percent contained and crews are lacking just a quarter-mile of line before it is completely encircled and they can began the final phases of a nearly weeklong burnout operation.

“The humidity is up, the temperature is down, but we’re still sitting on a lot of fuel out there,” said John Pellissier, Operations Section Chief for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Team 2. “We’d like to take care of (the burnout), but we don’t want to rush it.”

Low humidity and high temperatures delayed burnout operations the past two days. Conditions are expected to be more favorable today. The largest remaining pocket of active fire lies in a bowl east of Wildcat Ridge along both sides of Drew Creek. The fire has crept from the east side of the creek to the west and crews called in helicopters Wednesday to help douse the fire front and preventing it from making an dangerous uphill run on the northwest side of the creek.

Fire managers are hopeful to wrap up firing operations in the next several days then fallback to mop-up and monitoring mode for some time. Residents can expect to see smoke and helicopters in the area.

A Level 2 Evacuation notice (Get Set) remains in place for residents on Upper Cow Creek Road east of Devils Flat to the end of the road. This precautionary measure is because of high temperatures and low humidities that might cause increased fire behavior. The Stouts Creek Fire is 76 percent contained and still has the potential for rapid growth. A contingency plan to protect structures on Upper Cow Creek has been put into place and will be activated if needed. Evacuation levels for all other areas remain at Level 1 (Get Ready).

Even though personnel and equipment are needed on other fires, fire managers are keeping the resources required to meet the goals of fire containment and resource protection.

The Stouts Creek Fire has been managed under unified command by Oregon Department of Forestry Team 2 Incident Commander Chris Cline and Forest Service Incident Commander Mike Wilde, since August 13.

There are 920 personnel assigned to the fire with 18 hand crews, 20 fire engines, 27 water tenders, 15 bulldozers and six helicopters.

To date, the Stout Creek Fire has cost $32.4 million. The Incident Management Team is protecting lands that are about 48% on state protected lands, which include BLM and private lands and 52 percent on the Umpqua National Forest.

#StoutsFire

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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.