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.







Saturday, August 22, 2015

Willamina Creek Fire Evening Update - Saturday, August 22, 2015

Willamina Creek Fire Update
Oregon Department of Forestry
West Oregon District – Dallas Unit

Fire Information number:  (503) 934-8153


August 22, 2015
9:00 pm  


Special message:
Wildfire smoke from the large fires in the intermountain west filled the Willamette Valley today serving as a vivid reminder of the intensity of this fire season. While the smoke is a nuisance and a health risk to residents here, it pales in comparison to the homes, livelihoods and lives lost to those immense wildfires. We remain aware of the harsh reality of this incredible fire season. Our thoughts are with those affected by fire, here at home and across the west.

Current Situation: 
The heavy smoke over the fire area helped to keep the temperatures lower than expected which allowed crews to make good progress on reinforcing containment lines. In the absence of the gusty winds experienced the last couple days, the fire did not grow at all today. Tree falling crews worked in the fire area today dropping hazard trees and snags which posed a threat to firefighters working below. Fire crews are still facing risks from rolling debris, snags and bees which require them to be ever vigilant about safety. Tonight, crews will be continuing to work on mopping up the fire, working from the perimeter into the interior. The ultimate goal is to have the entire fire area mopped up 100%. A hand-held infrared camera will be used overnight to identify hot spots which could lead to embers escaping the fireline if not extinguished.

A special thank you needs to be extended to volunteers from Yamhill County’s CERT program who are volunteering their time to staff the road block on Willamina Creek Road. The road block is in place to keep fire crews and the public safe and the CERT volunteers efforts will help ensure this.

Burning on land protected by ODF’s West Oregon District Dallas Unit, the Willamina Creek Fire is currently estimated to be about 212 acres. The fire is burning in heavy fuels on high-value private and BLM timberland. Additional GPS data will be collected over the coming days to continue to improve accuracy of the acreage measurement.

Weather and Fire Behavior: 
The forecast for Sunday calls for more hot and dry conditions with gusty winds. Temperatures will be 85-90 degrees with humidity between 29 and 34%.

Fire Statistics
Location:  approx. 9 miles north of Willamina, OR  
Percent contained: 20%           
Size:  212 acres (estimated)                 
Cause:  under investigation  
Start Date: 8/19/15, approximately 5:00 pm  
Wildland resources assigned to the fire include (day and night shifts): 16 hand crews, 11 engines, 4 dozers, 12 water tenders, and overhead personnel. 
Air resources:  1 Type 2 helicopter
Total personnel:  266

Evacuations and closures:
Four cabins along East Creek Road remain under a Level 3 evacuation. Willamina Creek Road and East Creek Road are closed north of the junction with Coast Creek Road.

Places to get information:
ODF Fire Blog - http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/
Facebook - www.facebook.com/oregondepartmentofforestry
Twitter - www.twitter.com/ORDeptForestry

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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.