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.
































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:
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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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, 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.