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, September 8, 2015

Canyon Creek Complex: Smoke still visible, but lines secure along private ownership

Sept. 8, 2015

This week will bring warmer, dryer weather conditions back to the John Day valley, and back to the fires of the Canyon Creek Complex.   Un-burned vegetation and smoldering large fuels may begin to smoke more than they have in the past week when humidity was higher and temperatures were cooler.  Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) fire managers are confident that fire lines adjacent to private lands are secure, and do not pose a risk to landowners.  The fire continues to burn on the eastern front where Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 4 is developing a strategy to contain the fire and minimize impacts in the Slide Creek and Strawberry Creek drainages of the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness.

ODF’s John Day Unit will continue to patrol, focusing on the private lands within the fire area.  In addition to the normal engine patrols from the John Day Unit the Central Oregon District has assigned a strike team of five engines from other ODF offices around the state to patrol and mop-up smokes or hot spots near the fire perimeter.  These engines and their strike team leader will also be involved in fire suppression repair activities.

While interior smoke will be visible until fall rains and cooler temperatures completely extinguish the fire, any active fire or smoke near the fire edge, or within the urban interface should be reported to the John Day Interagency Dispatch Center (541-575-1321), or 911.  The John Day Unit is still fully staffed for fire season with initial attack resources including engines, Single Engine Air Tankers, a helitack crew, helicopters, and a reconnaissance plane.

The Central Oregon District remains in a regulated closure restricting activities with the potential to ignite fires.  Campfires are prohibited on lands protected by ODF, including Oregon State Parks.  This campfire ban includes warming fires and cooking fires.   Hunters are encouraged to be prepared for cooler temperatures as they go to the field so they will not be tempted to build a fire to stay warm.  Additional restrictions are included in the closure which can be found on the Central Oregon District website:  oregon.gov/odf/centraloregon.

Open burning such as burn barrels and debris burns within the Central Oregon District require a permit from ODF during fire season.  Currently no permits are being issued.  Burning without a permit can result in citations or fines.  In addition to these restrictions exploding targets, tracer ammunition, and sky lanterns are all prohibited during fire season. 


Christie Shaw
Public Information Officer
(541)263-0661
christie.shaw@oregon.gov

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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.