Current situation

Sunny and dry conditions again prevail across Oregon this week. Mild temperatures will give way to warmer conditions, melting snow and drying fuels faster. This will raise fire risk across the state. There have already been twice as many wildfires on ODF-protected land compared to the same time last year, with more than twice as many acres burned.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month, a time when homeowners are urged to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire around their house and other structures. Among these are clearing debris from roofs and gutters, cutting back brush from around structures, and removing lower branches from trees.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Gibbon Fire now 20 percent contained

Despite the difficulties of fighting fire in rugged terrain, firefighters made good headway on the Gibbon Fire yesterday.  The lightning-caused fire is burning in brush and timber near Meacham Creek/Stumbough Ridge, 20 miles east of Pendleton.  The 194-acre fire has burned approximately 80 acres of CTUIR tribal fee lands that are protected by ODF.  The remaining 114 acres are on Umatilla National Forest lands.

Crews were unable to conduct burning operations yesterday because of cool, wet weather conditions on the fire.  Footing and rolling material have been concerns for firefighters on this fire.  Crews did work to improve fire line along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and began mopping up along that line on the western side of the fire.  Crews also worked to strengthen and improve other sections of the fire line.

Today’s objectives are to conduct burn-out operations on the north side of the fire to bring the fire to areas where it is safer for firefighters to work and to continue mopping-up along the railroad tracks..  The La Grande Interagency Hot Shot Crew, a Type 1 helicopter, a Type 2 helicopter, four engines and one Type 2 hand crew will be working the fire today.  Approximately 60 personnel are assigned to the fire.

The fire received some light rains yesterday, but warmer and drier conditions are forecast to begin today.  There’s a chance of thunderstorms, with some of the storms being dry, this weekend.  As this weather pattern and the potential for lightning approaches, fire managers are asking for help from the public in observing fire restrictions. Fire restrictions are in place on both ODF protected lands as well as the Umatilla National Forest. 

More info on the following fires:  

Bybee Creek Fire
The 1,072-acre  Bybee Creek Fire 18 miles NE of Prospect is now 100 percent contained.
Rail Fire
The 11,405-acre Rail Fire burning 10 miles WSW of Unity is 10 percent contained.
Orejana Flat Fire
The 900-acre Orejana Flat Fire burning 30 miles NE of Frenchglen is 40 percent contained.
Juntura Complex
The 24,301-acre Juntura Complex burning 30 miles SW of Vale is 51 percent contained.
Trail Creek Fire
The 250-acre Trail Creek Fire burning 22 miles ESE of Baker City is 50 percent contained. 

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 Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016:

Lightning-caused fires: 59 fires burned 2,218 acres
Human-caused fires: 423 fires burned 46 acres
Total: 482 fires burned 2,678 acres

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

Lightning-caused fires: 209 fires burned 21,749 acres
Human-caused fires: 403 fires burned 4,181 acres
Total: 612 fires burned 25,930 acres

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have a question/comment about this season's wildfire activity on the 16 million acres of private and public forestlands that the Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects from wildfire? Let us know. Please keep your remarks civil and free of profanity.

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

My photo
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.