Lightning is largely absent from Oregon this week. However, warm, dry weather will greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21. Avoiding activities that can spark a wildfire is key to making the eclipse a safe and pleasant experience for all. One measure adopted to reduce the risk of wildfire is a temporary ban, now in effect, on all campfires in state parks





Thursday, September 3, 2015

Weather favors suppression of Eagle Complex

Sept. 3, 2015

Cooler temperatures, higher humidity and a little rain are assisting firefighters on the lightning caused Eagle Complex Fire, located 20 miles northwest of Richland, Oregon. Approximately 0.04 inch rain was received in the area of the fire on Wednesday night. The fire is managed by a local Type 3 incident management team, led by Willy Crippen, Incident Commander.  The complex is 12,702 acres, with 62 percent containment. There are 180 personnel assigned to the fire, including four crews, nine engines, four water tenders, five dozers, and four helicopters. Weather conditions are allowing fire officials to release 2 helicopters today to assist with other incidents.

Crews are building hand line directly along the perimeter of the fire in the vicinity of Two Color Creek, in the northwest portion of the fire. They completed approximately 1-½ miles of fire line on Wednesday, tying it in to existing roads and natural fuel breaks; such as rocks and wet meadows. Masticators have been cutting and chipping fuels along roads, preparing these roads to be used as fire line, in the southwest area of the fire. Expert tree fallers are arriving Thursday, to fall hazardous snags near the perimeter of the fire in East Eagle Creek and along the west side of the fire.
Crews are continuing to mop up along the east perimeter of the fire, extinguishing smokes within 100 feet of the fire’s edge.  Firefighters are continuing to mop up around the cabins and structures along FS Road 7745, by East Eagle Creek.  On Wednesday, helicopters dropped water within the perimeter of the fire, on the northwest corner and the northeast side of East Eagle Creek. The fire team has been assisted by three firefighters in leadership roles from Australia for the last week. The Australians are leaving today in route to a fire in Washington.

The Eagle Complex Fire Area Closure was reduced in size on September 1. Please visit www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/  to view the reduced closure area.
Information about the Eagle Complex Fire can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/WallowaWhitmanNF http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4481/

The public use restrictions on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest are reduced to Phase B on September 3. Weather has modified slightly, but fire danger remains high to extreme. This change allows campfires ONLY in designated campgrounds and recreation sites, and in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Operating a chain saw is still prohibited. Traveling off developed forest roads and trails is not allowed. Motorized travel on closed roads is prohibited, and smoking restrictions are still in effect. Additional information about Public Use Restrictions and emergency closure areas on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/. Oregon smoke condition information is available at http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/.

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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.