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, September 1, 2016

Evacuations Levels lowered at Griffin Gulch Fire

Aug. 31, 2016


Contact: Jamie Knight, 541-786-2039

 Baker City, Ore—Firefighters are making good progress on the Griffin Gulch Fire. The fire is currently reported at 30 acres, located approximately two miles southwest of Baker City. Aggressive initial attack stopped the fire spread. Resources remained on scene Wednesday evening to continue securing the fire line and extinguishing hot spots. The fire is burning on lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry and the Greater Bowen Valley Fire District. ODF is managing the fire in coordination with Greater Bowen Valley Fire.

Currently The Griffin Gulch area has been lowered to a Level 2 (SET) evacuation order. The area surrounding Griffin Gulch remains at a Level 2. A Level 1 (READY) evacuation notice is still in place for Elk Creek, Washington Gulch, Old Auburn and the foothills south of Baker City. Evacuation orders will be reevaluated Thursday morning.

Resources on the fire include: one bulldozer, four fire engines, one water tender and five hand crews. Resources from Keating, Bowen Valley, and Baker Rural Fire Departments, as well as those from Oregon Department of Forestry and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest responded Wednesday afternoon. Ten fire engines, four bulldozers, three hand crews, two helicopters, four Single Engine Air Tankers, two heavy air tankers, and an air attack plane were part of the effort.

Thunderstorm activity has been reported in the area and resources are patrolling the strike areas looking for any new starts.

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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:

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.