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, 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."

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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.