Current situation

Fire season on ODF-protected land has officially ended in all of Oregon as cooler temperatures and moister conditions settle over much of the state. This late in the fall, a key source of ignitions is fire escaping when piles of woody debris are burned. Care is required with that activity at any time of year.
































Friday, July 8, 2016

Lmited moisture not enough to reduce fire danger

News Release
July 8, 2016


Contact: Christie Shaw, ODF Central Oregon District Public Information Officer
christie.shaw@oregon.gov
541-263-0661


While central Oregon is in a pattern of cooler than normal weather, and has received precipitation over the last twenty-four hours, fire danger remains high.  The US Drought Monitor for Oregon issued on July 7, 2016, indicates that most lands within the Central Oregon District (COD) fall into the “abnormally dry” category.  This reflects what fire managers are seeing in the forest and current fuel moisture conditions.  Now into Oregon’s fifth year of drought conditions, we continue to see the long term affects to the down material and live vegetation stressed from limited water.

For the next few days firefighters will benefit from the moisture, because it will be more difficult for a “spark” to ignite a fire and rapidly spread.  This is because of the increased moisture in the fine fuels, but these fuels will quickly dry out even with the moderate temperatures expected over the next few days.  “The biggest concern for us now, during the heart of fire season, is that someone assumes the rain has made it safe to burn.  When surrounding fuels dry out in the days following a debris burn, the remnants of that debris burn rekindle and spread to wildland fuels while no one is watching”,
states Mike Shaw, Central Oregon District Forester. 

Debris burning is not allowed on lands protected by the Central Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry.  Contact information for your local ODF Office can be found on ODF’s Central Oregon District website: www.ODFcentraloregon.com

COD remains in a Regulated Use Closure intended to reduce human caused fires.  Year to date there have been thirty-six human caused fires within the District, primarily related to debris burning.  This number is significantly higher than the ten year average of twenty-eight (for the same time period).  These fires are preventable, causing concern for firefighters and fire managers.  While fire managers have the ability to use modern technology to track thunderstorms and staff with additional resources, human caused fires do not allow that as they occur at random times. 

Please report fires to your local 911 dispatch center.

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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, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these 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.





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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.