Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Firefighters conduct successful burnout operation on Gibbon Fire

Firefighters were able to successfully conduct portions of the proposed burnout operations on the 266-acre Gibbon Fire, contributing to the 72-acre growth over the past 24 hours.  The fire is now 30 percent contained. Due to the steep terrain, fire managers are using burnout tactics to bring the fire to areas where the risk to firefighters is decreased. 

Continued concerns for fire managers include rolling debris that could carry fire across control lines, and the potential for torching as fuels continue to dry and winds become an issue.  Today, burnout operations will continue along the east side of the fire, if weather permits.  Fire managers hope to have all burn-out operations completed by tomorrow evening.  Crews will also continue improving fire lines and mopping up along the perimeter.

Weather conditions in the region will trend toward warmer and drier.  The forecast is calling for highs in the 90s, increased winds and low relative humidity.  Measurements of fire behavior are climbing, meaning there is a higher risk for active fire behavior through the weekend.  There is also a chance for dry thunderstorms on Sunday. 

The public is reminded that lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Umatilla National Forest are under public use restrictions. 

Fires on Other Jurisdictions
More info on the following fires:  

Rail Fire
The 11,503-acre Rail Fire burning 10 miles WSW of Unity is 10 percent contained.
Orejana Flat Fire
The 897-acre Orejana Flat Fire burning 30 miles NE of Frenchglen is 80 percent contained.
Juntura Complex
The 24,301-acre Juntura Complex burning 30 miles SW of Vale is 65 percent contained.

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 Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016:
Lightning-caused fires: 59 fires burned 2,218 acres
Human-caused fires: 425 fires burned 463 acres
Total: 483 fires burned 2,681 acres

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

Lightning-caused fires: 215 fires burned 23,848 acres
Human-caused fires: 408 fires burned 4,185 acres
Total: 623 fires burned 28,033 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:

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick mountain snowpack. It didn't take long for that to melt and vegetation to dry out due to a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather over the summer. As forest fuels dried, fires started and spread, many from lands adjacent to those protected by ODF, such as the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. That one fire accounted for 46% of the 47,537 acres of land protected by ODF which burned in 2017. Of fires originating on ODF-protected land, 95% 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.


About Me

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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.