Current situation

Widespread rain and unseasonably cool temperatures in Oregon have dampened existing fires and prevented new ones, easing the strain on firefighting resources. At the same time, wet conditions are making it harder on firefighters trying to remove equipment and repair the impacts from suppression efforts. In steep areas that burned earlier this summer, mudflows, rockslides and fire-weakened trees falling are concerns.






















Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Spring clean-up should prevent, not start wildfires

May 31, 2016

Contact:
Kristin Babbs, president
Keep Oregon Green Association
503-945-7499, Kristin.a.babbs@oregon.gov

Many Oregonians have good intentions when they set out to eliminate the fire hazards around the home. But the way they go about it may actually start a wildfire. Using the right tool in the right place at the right time is crucial during clean-up. Get any of these wrong, and the outcome could be disastrous.

In late July 2015, the Stouts Creek Fire in SW Oregon ignited, eventually growing to more than 26,000 acres and costing millions of dollars to put out. The blaze was caused by a resident mowing dry grass, with the probable intention to reduce the fire hazard.

Spring is the time to clean up excess vegetation, not during the summer when fuels are dry and susceptible to a spark from a steel blade striking a rock or emitted by a hot exhaust system. Improper equipment use ranks as the No. 2 cause of wildfires on state-protected lands in Oregon.

For more information on doing spring clean-up safely, go to:
http://oregonforestry.wpengine.com/archives/1459

 
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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: 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. 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.





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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.