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.








Friday, August 12, 2016

OSP arrests suspects in fire on Weyco near Scappoose


Aug. 12, 2016                                    

Contacts:                                                                                    
Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425, rod.l.nichols@oregon.gov
Bill Fugate, 541-706-1653, bill.fugate@state.or.us
 
The Oregon State Police arrested four suspects on suspicion of starting a fire that burned Aug. 5 on Weyerhaeuser property along Holaday Road in the Scappoose area. The wildfire, thought to have resulted from an illegal campfire that spread out of control, ignited several logging slash piles. 

An OSP trooper arrested four males ranging in age from 19-23 on Aug. 6. They were charged with reckless burning, trespass and littering. The suspects later confessed to having built the campfire, which is prohibited under current fire safety rules. OSP obtained video from social media that shows the individuals at the campfire site. Text messages accompanying the video contain comments to the effect that they thought they had extinguished the campfire.

Weyerhaeuser security could file a complaint against the men. And the Oregon Department of Forestry intends to take legal action against the suspects to collect fire suppression costs.

Regulated Use rules were in force when the wildfire occurred and will continue in effect until significant fall rains allow them to be lifted. These heightened safety restrictions prohibit campfires and other open fires in order to prevent wildfires during periods of high fire danger.

"Oregon State Police would like to remind the public that having a campfire when prohibited is a potential criminal act,” said OSP’s Bill Fugate. “If an unintended wildland fire occurs, the crime would be more severe. Please obey fire restrictions so all may enjoy our forests."

Firefighting crews worked through the night last Friday to control the wildfire. No homes were threatened by the blaze. Scappoose Fire District was assisted in the suppression effort by Columbia River Fire & Rescue and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
 
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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 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.

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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.