2015 another severe fire season

By mid-October 2016, ODF's net expenditures on large wildfires stood at $13.2 million. The lack of dry lightning played a significant role in the moderate firefighting costs this season. In 2015, large-fire costs totaled $29.6 million.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Difficult Terrain Challenges Firefighters on the Gibbon Fire

Steep terrain continues to challenge firefighters on the 100-acre lightning sparked Gibbon Fire.  The fire is burning in brush and timber stringers in the area of Meacham Creek/Stumbough Ridge, about 20 miles east of Pendleton.  The fire originated on Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) fee lands that are protected by Oregon Department of Forestry.  ODF is leading the management of this fire in conjunction with the Umatilla National Forest with a Type 3 management organization.  Cooperators also include the Union Pacific Railroad and CTUIR. 

Yesterday crews worked to build direct fire lines where it was safe to do so, and to construct indirect fire line to support burning operations.  Because of the difficult terrain, fire managers feel that burning will bring the fire to areas where it is safer for firefighters to directly engage on the fire.  Two helicopters helped crews on the ground yesterday by slowing fire spread and cooling hotspots, as well as supporting burning operations along the east and north sides. 

Today’s objectives are to continue burning out on the north side of the fire, if weather conditions allow.  Also, continuing to secure the line along the railroad tracks and mopping up that portion of the fire is a priority for fire managers.  The La Grande Interagency Hot Shot Crew, a Type 1 helicopter, a Type 2 helicopter, six engines and a Type 2 hand crew will be working the fire today.  Approximately 51 personnel are assigned to the fire.

While temperatures the past two days has been more moderate and the fire received light rainfall, the return to warmer and dry conditions is expected mid-week, with the potential for more thunderstorms this weekend.

Fire managers would like to remind people that fire restrictions are in place on ODF-protected lands.

Fire statistics are for the current year and the average over the past 10 years for the 16 million acres of private and public forestland protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

January 1, 2016, through Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016:

Lightning-caused fires: 59 fires burned 2,218 acres
Human-caused fires: 418 fires burned 468 acres
Total: 477 fires burned 2,686 acres

10-year average (for this period of the year):

Lightning-caused fires: 200 fires burned 19,825 acres
Human-caused fires: 398 fires burned 4,177 acres
Total: 598 fires burned 24,002 acres

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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

The weather conditions setting up for this summer are ominous: continuing drought, meager winter snowpack, and above-average temperatures forecast through August.

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. Suppression of large fires can run into millions of dollars.


About Me

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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.