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 7, 2015

Stouts Creek Fire Evening Update - Friday, August 7, 2015

Stouts Creek Fire
Evening Update
August 7, 2015


Public Information Phone: (541) 825-3724 (7 a.m. to 9 p.m.)http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4426/
www.facebook.com/StoutsFire
Email: StoutsFire@gmail.com
Twitter: @StoutsFire
#StoutsFire



Friday was a good day on the 20,804 acre Stouts Creek Fire just south of Tiller, Oregon, and firefighters made significant progress on every flank of the fire. Burnout operations to the North along Hatchet Creek and to the east near Milepost 33 of the Tiller-Trail Hwy went well during the afternoon and will continue into the night.

Helicopters were visible dipping from the South Umpqua River and making repeated bucket drops along the Hatchet Creek drainage, supporting firefighters as they held the fire within contingency lines.  That work will continue into the night.  West of Milepost 33 on the Tiller-Trail Hwy, firefighters began a burnout on three knobs this afternoon, to bring the fire down the hills slowly and at their pace. This burnout will help Saturday’s planned burnout in the same area, to keep flames low to the ground and burning slowly. 

Fire managers warn, however, that this burnout activity, along with the fire’s normal spread, will likely put smoke into Tiller, along the South Umpqua River and down the Tiller-Trail Hwy and in Drew. “The smoke could be a problem,” said Incident Commander John Buckman, “especially late tonight and early in the morning, for people with health issues or for anyone driving in those areas.” The public is asked to use extreme caution when driving in smoky areas and watch out for each other and fire equipment.

Besides the northeast and east sides of the fire, the rest is in varying end stages of firefighting: some are completing fireline dug by hand, others are seeing progress with the use of a significant amount of heavy equipment, while the northwestern and western perimeters are being aggressively mopped-up and have very little fire activity.

The Upper Cow Creek Road and Milo area, as well as a small area along the Tiller-Trail Highway north of Trail in Jackson County, are under a Level 1 (Ready) evacuation alert. Drew (MP 28 to 39) remains at Level 2 (Set).
The fire is 25 percent contained. Over 1,500 personnel are assigned to the fire suppression effort. The cost of suppression so far is $12.1 million.
The Stouts Creek Fire is burning on private timberlands, other tracts of private land, Bureau of Land Management and Umpqua National Forest lands.
The Stouts Creek Fire is being managed cooperatively by the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal and the U.S. Forest Service. Wildland fire suppression direction is coming from the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team 1.

Structural fire protection is being handled by task forces under the command of the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Green Team.
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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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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.