Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - 09-18-15

Scattered precipitation has occurred across the geographic area with some lightning strikes in Southeastern Washington and far Eastern Oregon. No initial attack activity with minimal growth on existing large fires. Conditions are expected warm and dry today and into the weekend, so please be careful with any activity that could start a fire.


The Dry Gulch fire that started Saturday, Sept. 12, is now estimated at 17,823 acres. Containment is 75 percent. Oregon Department of Forestry's Type 1 Incident Management Team will hand the fire back to local jurisdictions at the end of shift today and travel back to their respective home units tomorrow. Firefighters will use infrared hand-held devices to locate hot spots throughout the fire area and perform mop-up to ensure there is no potential for future flare-ups or escape. This procedure is very similar to putting a campfire completely out by drowning the fire and breaking up the material. Rehabilitation efforts are also taking place to repair landscape and infrastructure damaged by fire suppression efforts. Rehab work includes mending fences and constructing water bars along bulldozer and hand lines to prevent future erosion from heavy rains.

ODF's Type 1 Incident Management Team will hand the fire back to local jurisdictions at the end of shift today and travel back to their respective home units tomorrow.

The fire team would like to take this opportunity and thank the residents in Halfway, Richland, New Bridge, Carson and Cornucopia for their hospitality and support during the fire suppression effort.

The Canyon Creek Complex south of John Day is now estimated at 110,442-acres and 95 percent contained. When traveling through the fire area it is important to remember that many hazards remain. Fire-weakened trees can topple easily, large ash pits can appear cool but hold significant heat well into the winter, and burned out root holes can lead to twisted knees and ankles. Smoke from the interior of the fire will remain visible in many areas until a season ending event such as steady rain over a long period of time, or the formation of winter snow pack arrives. There are now 189 personnel staffing the fire. Resources include: five hand crews, six fire engines and two bulldozers. Updates will now be every other day.

The 79,374-acre Grizzly Bear Complex burning in grass and timber 20 miles SE of Dayton, Wash., and near Troy, Ore., in the Northeast Oregon District is 44 percent contained. There are now 164 personnel assigned to this fire as well as 12 fire engines and one helicopter. 

Local fire managers will assume responsibility for the continued suppression and rehabilitation work being done. Crews on the southern portion of the fire will be breaking down the spike camp at Elk Flats beginning today as future crews and equipment will be based out of Tollgate, Oregon at the Forest Service Work Center there. This will be the last update on this fire. 

The National Creek Complex 10 miles SW of Diamond Lake is now estimated at 20,945 acres and is 85 percent contained. 

Yesterday, the fire area received approximately one-half to one inch of rain over the fire. Today, direct line construction continues on the southeastern fire edge working to tie into the south side of the Pumice Desert. Fire crews continue to mop-up and secure the remaining southern fire edge. Weather begins a warming trend today with above-average daytime temperatures expected into the weekend, creating potential for increased fire activity. Along the north and east flank of the fire, firefighters continue to patrol sections of fire line and are poised for direct suppression if needed. The Crater Lake National Park North Entrance road and the PCT trail remain open. The fire is currently staffed with 156 total personnel.

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Comments and questions

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:

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick mountain snowpack. It didn't take long for that to melt and vegetation to dry out due to a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather over the summer. As forest fuels dried, fires started and spread, many from lands adjacent to those protected by ODF, such as the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. That one fire accounted for 46% of the 47,537 acres of land protected by ODF which burned in 2017. Of fires originating on ODF-protected land, 95% were put out at less than 10 acres.

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. In total there are about 30.4 million 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.


About Me

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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.