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, September 16, 2016

Highway 138 West Fire update Thursday evening

Contact: 
Kyle Reed
Douglas Forest Protective Association
541-672-6507 x 136              
Mobile 541-817-7186             
kyle.reed@oregon.gov  

Fire crews working on the Highway 138 West Fire in Douglas County made good progress Thursday in their efforts to fully extinguish the blaze. In total, 98 firefighters, four fire engines, two water tenders, a bulldozer and an excavator worked together to extinguish the burned vegetation that is still smoldering inside the fire area. Crews spent a significant amount of time in the northern portion of the fire where the heaviest concentrations of smoke and heat remain.

On Thursday evening 46 firefighters were aided by two fire engines and a water tender as night-shift crews continued to mop up hot spots inside the fire perimeter. In addition, two handheld infrared cameras were employed around the fire to help firefighters locate smoldering material burning below the surface. 

Safety for the public and firefighters remains the No. 1 priority on the Highway 138 West Fire. Residents driving through the fire area are asked to watch for fire personnel and equipment working near or entering the highway.

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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.