Lightning is largely absent from Oregon this week. However, warm, dry weather will greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21. Avoiding activities that can spark a wildfire is key to making the eclipse a safe and pleasant experience for all. One measure adopted to reduce the risk of wildfire is a temporary ban, now in effect, on all campfires in state parks





Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fire danger level is raised to moderate in ODF's Southwest Oregon District

 
MEDFORD, Ore. -- ODF's Southwest Oregon District has raised the fire danger level from low to moderate. The change reflects hotter weather that has speeded up the drying of grass and other vegetation. As of June 20 the district has seen 44 fires, a third of all fires reported so far this year on ODF-protected lands. All but three of these fires were caused by humans.  
 
Fire restriction are now in effect on the 1.8 million acres of public and private land protected by ODF in Jackson and Josephine counties. Restrictions in effect at all times include:
  • No debris burning, including burn barrels and piles
  • No open fires, including campfires except in designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are still allowed.
  • No fireworks on forestland
  • No use of exploding targets, tracer ammunition or bullets with pyrotechnic charges in their base
  • No smoking in forestlands except in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, on boats on water, or in designated locations
  • Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are allowed only on improved roads free of flammable vegetation.
Restrictions in effect between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. include:
  •  No use of chainsaws. When they are allowed, have a shovel and fire extinguisher or a gallon of water on hand and keep a one-hour fire watch after use.    
  • No mowing of dead or dried grass with power-driven equipment (mowing of irrigated green grass is still allowed)
  • Other restrictions are also in effect and can be viewed on the district's website www.swofire.com
Fire danger in the Klamath-Lake District in eastern Oregon is also at moderate.
 
Check with your local ODF office for details about restrictions in your area or log onto ODF's fire restrictions web page for more information.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Douglas Forest Protective Association declares fire season

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) announced the start of fire season today on the 1.6 million acres of land it protects in Douglas County. The start of fire season ends unregulated outdoor debris burning in rural Douglas County. If fire conditions allow, DFPA will issue free burn permits for handmade debris piles until July 1. An onsite inspection by a forest officer is required before a burn permit can be issued. The inspection is to ensure that:
  • the pile is in a safe location close to a water source
  • the pile is surrounded by a fire trail scraped down to bare soil
  • that fire tools are at the ready 
To schedule an onsite inspection for a burn permit, call DFPA at 541-672-6507.

Also suspended until the end of fire season is the use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition on or within an eighth of a mile of any public or private land protected by DFPA. That includes county, state, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs lands in addition to private forestland.

Already this year, some 14 fires have burned 65 acres on DFPA lands. Although most have been small, at the end of May the Honey Creek Fire northeast of Glide burned 54 acres. 
With the onset of fire season, debris piles like this may no longer be burned without a permit on or near land protected by the Douglas Forest Protective Association. (Photo by Melissa Cano)

Burning ban in effect in Linn, Benton and Marion counties


SALEM, Ore. -- A ban on all open and backyard burning took effect June 15 in Linn, Benton and Marion counties. The Oregon Department of Forestry and the fire defense boards of the three counties issued the ban. It aims to reduce the number of open debris burns escaping control and causing wildfires. The restrictions will extend through Oct. 15 or later, depending on fire danger. 

Linn County Fire Defense Board Chief John Bradner says a wet spring has caused a heavy buildup of fuels, especially grass. He says as temperatures rise and plants dry out over the summer, fire danger will increase.

The open burning restrictions coincide with the current air-quality rules set forth by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Those rules already forbid open burning within three miles of cities over 1,000 in population and six miles from cities over 50,000 in population after June 15. These burn restrictions expand to include areas outside the three- and six-mile limit.

Outdoor debris burning closes in all Lane County

Outdoor burning of woody yard debris in all parts of Lane County is closed to reduce the risk of wildfire. The Lane County Fire Defense Board closed the spring outdoor burning season on June 15. Lane County residents are encouraged to dispose of yard debris through composting, chipping or hauling the debris to designated transfer sites. Violators of the outdoor burning ban are subject to fines and are also liable for damage caused if fires they start escape. For more information, visit wwwlrapa.org or call the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency at 541-736-1056.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Media note start to fire season in central, southern Oregon

Earlier this week, public radio stations in Oregon ran stories about the beginning of fire season in four fire protection districts in southern and central parts of the state.

Reporter Amanda Peacher reported that ODF fire managers are urging campers and others to take extra precautions with fire season now underway in southern and central portions of the state.

District Forester Mike Shaw in ODF's Central Oregon District was quoted describing how the loss of snow cover in spring elevates fire risk: "As the snowpack melts and recedes to higher elevation, the lower- and mid-elevation ground becomes available to burn." 

Shaw went on to say “When we go into fire season, that is kind of the heads up to the public that yeah, we need to be careful with the activities that we do out in the wild land."

The Klamath Falls Herald and News also covered the start of fire season in ODF's Klamath-Lake District. Reporter Stephen Boyd wrote "The declaration of fire season comes as warm and dry conditions are expected to intensify during June. Randall Baley, with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s protection unit, said this will lead to the rapid drying of fuels in the coming weeks, despite much vegetation remaining green at this time."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Central Oregon District enters fire season

ODF's Central Oregon District entered fire season today. Warm, dry conditions at the end of May and early June prompted the declarations. Central Oregon joins the Walker Range Fire Patrol Association in northern Klamath County and ODF’s Southwest Oregon and Klamath-Lake districts in declaring fire season underway. Portions of 15 counties are now affected by fire prevention restrictions:
  • Crook
  • Deschutes
  • Gilliam
  • Grant
  • Harney
  • Hood River
  • Jackson,
  • Jefferson
  • Josephine
  • Klamath
  • Lake
  • Morrow
  • Umatilla
  • Wheeler
  • Wasco
ODF-protected lands covered by the declaration include state, private, county, city forestland, as well as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in western Oregon.

Fire season restrictions in all four areas include season-long bans on several fire-prone activities. Among these are debris burning, and use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition. During declared fire seasons, industrial operators also must follow fire season regulations and have fire tools and equipment at forestland sites where they work.

Central Oregon experienced a drier spring than the rest of the state, leading to an earlier risk of fire than parts of the state that received heavy rain and snow.

“In a large district like Central Oregon, the level of fire danger can vary from place to place depending on a lot of factors, such as elevation, northern or southern aspect and type of fuel,” said District Forester Mike Shaw of ODF’s Central Oregon District. "Declaring fire season is a heads up for people to be extra careful about activities that could spark a fire."

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

As of June 6 ,87 fires have been reported on ODF-protected lands in Oregon. This is fewer fires to date statewide than the 10-year average for this time of year. These fires burned just over 101 acres. More than 70 of the fires were caused by people. Three-fifths occurred in southern and central Oregon ODF districts.

Other ODF protection districts will declare fire season as conditions warrant. For the latest on specific restrictions in your area, check with your local ODF office or log onto www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fire season begins in three parts of southern Oregon

Three areas in southern and central Oregon have officially started their fire season. Local fire protection leaders in the Walker Range Fire Patrol Association and ODF's Southwest Oregon and Klamath-Lake districts declared fire season respectively on June 2, June 4 and June 5. Warm, dry conditions at the end of May and beginning of June prompted the declarations.
 
Fire danger in the Klamath-Lake District in south-central Oregon is already considered moderate. Unlike the rest of Oregon, fire starts and acres burned in Klamath and Lake counties are above the 10-year average for this time of year.
 
In ODF's Southwest Oregon District, the fire danger level since Sunday, June 4 has been "low" (green), and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is at level 1 - the lowest level. Lands covered by the declaration include state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties. Fire season means an increased risk of fire starting and spreading. During fire season, fire officials place restrictions on the riskiest activities. For example, Walker Range officials remind the public that outdoor burning is prohibited during fire season. Check with your local ODF office for specific restrictions in your area or for more information log onto http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx

 
 
 
 


 

 

 

 

Fire near Gold Beach is stopped at 27 acres


A fire in slash in Curry County that went unreported for several days was mopped up on Friday, June 2 by three hand crews, a water tender and a dozer. The Coos Forest Protective Association reported the fire and responded to it. No structures were damaged or threatened by the Saunders Creek Fire, which burned near the town of Gold Beach in southwest Oregon. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

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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About Me

My photo
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.