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.







Monday, September 26, 2016

Prescribed burns start soon in Douglas County

Contact: Kyle Reed                                                                        
541-672-6507 x 136, kyle.reed@oregon.gov

Smoke will soon be seen throughout Douglas County as the Douglas Forest Protective Association works with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to complete prescribed burns throughout the Umpqua Valley. Prescribed burns may be conducted on fields, pastures and hillsides to promote productive grazing lands for livestock and to improve habitat for wildlife. The main objective of the prescribed burns is to remove noxious weeds, brush, insects and plant disease from the proposed burn sites. Permits for backyard debris burning, including both debris piles and burn barrels, will not be issued at this time.

Historically, DFPA and local landowner’s have completed about 10,000 acres of prescribed burns annually throughout Douglas County to improve habitat and pasture lands. Prescribed burns are also beneficial to firefighters by reducing the buildup of brush and other flammable vegetation throughout the area. Fire officials note that many wildfires have been suppressed in open grass fields and hillsides where prescribed burning has taken place periodically over the years.

Prescribed burns are made safe by the construction of fire trails around the proposed burn site before fire is introduced onto the landscape. In addition, landowners must be able to show that they have the ability and resources in the form of fire suppression equipment and personnel on site to maintain control of the prescribed burn. Once fire trails are approved by DFPA and weather conditions are favorable, a permit may be issued to complete the prescribed burn.

Fire officials say that the effects from the prescribed burns on populated areas will be minimized by allowing the burns to take place only when both fire conditions and weather patterns are favorable to keep smoke out of large populated areas. 

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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: 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.