2015 another severe fire season

A cool, wet winter and heavy snowpack delayed the start of fire season in much of western and northeastern Oregon. However, the onset of hotter, drier weather is quickly drying out forests and rangeland, making it easier for fires to start. More than half of ODF-protected lands are in districts that have declared the start of fire season this month. It's especially important as summer approaches to avoid or be extra careful with any potential source of fire in wooded areas. Fire season means the end of most outdoor activities that are high risk for starting a fire, such as debris burning, campfires outside of designated areas, and using tracer ammunition and exploding targets.







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 snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, even in non-drought years Oregon's warm, dry summers create conditions that allow for fire to start and spread. In an average summer firefighters still see almost a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.



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. 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.