Current situation

Fire season on ODF-protected land has officially ended in all of Oregon as cooler temperatures and moister conditions settle over much of the state. This late in the fall, a key source of ignitions is fire escaping when piles of woody debris are burned. Care is required with that activity at any time of year.
































Monday, July 31, 2017

Burnt Peak Fire being mopped up ahead of heat wave


Burnt Peak Fire
Today firefighters are continuing extensive mop up of the Burnt Peak Fire in the Southwest Oregon District, hoping to reduce any chance for flare ups ahead of this week's expected high temperatures. The Burnt Peak Fire started Saturday, July 29 roughly 13 miles northeast of Shady Cove, a town about 20 miles north of Medford. GIS mapping showed the fire Sunday at 31 acres.

The fire burned in timber and debris on steep terrain on private property. No structures were threatened. The rugged landscape and gusty winds challenged ODF firefighters, who were nonetheless able to fully line the fire on Sunday.

Below: An air tanker makes a drop on the Burnt Peak Fire northeast of Medford. Photo courtesy of ODF's Southwest Oregon District. 
 

The initial report was made by a reconnaissance aircraft. Continuous coordination between ground and air resources assisted in checking the fire's progress. Two large air tankers and three helicopters fought the fire Saturday. Some 15,000 gallons of fire retardant were dropped on the fire in addition to water drops. One fixed-wing aircraft and three helicopters supported the fire Sunday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Triple-digit temperatures this week will bring increased fire risk
A heat wave is expected to settle over much of Oregon this week, raising temperatures into triple digits on both sides of the Cascades. The extreme heat will raise the risk of fire starts even further.  In anticipation, today at least two entities raised their fire danger level to extreme (red). ODF's Southwest Oregon District raised the fire danger level on the 1.8 million acres of private and public lands it protects, including Bureau of Land Management land. The Douglas Forest Protective Association did the same on the 1.6 million acres of private, public and Bureau of Indian Affairs lands they protect in southern Oregon, including Bureau of Land Management land.

For details about fire restrictions in your area, click on the ODF Fire Restrictions and Closures page or contact your local ODF office.

 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Crane Fire is now 40 percent contained at 602 acres


 At left: The Crane Fire burned this ridge at 5,800' elevation. The fire's spread has been checked. Photo by Chad Howard, ODF.

   
    LAKEVIEW, Ore. - Firefighters on the Crane Fire four miles southeast of Lakeview are
    working today to secure, hold and patrol containment lines and locate and mitigate hazard trees.
    Mop up is expected to continue today and through the weekend. The ODF team managing the fire
    expects to demobilize some crews starting as early as tomorrow.

    The lightning-caused fire has burned 602 acres of rugged terrain covered in grass, sagebrush,
     juniper and pine. Most of the fire has been on ODF-protected land, but about 28 acres belong to
     the Bureau of Land Management.

    Warm weather with light winds are expected today through Saturday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

ODF firefighters are in extended attack on the Crane Fire in Lake County

 

LAKEVIEW, Ore. - A second day of aerial and ground attack is underway on the Crane Fire today. The fire is now reported at 570 acres and is 5 percent contained.

ODF firefighters from the Klamath-Lake district are battling the fire alongside engines from the Central Oregon, Northeast Oregon, Northwest Oregon, North Cascade and West Oregon districts, and the Douglas Forest Protective Association.
 
The engines and water tenders, hand crews and dozers have been working in an area of sagebrush, juniper trees and pine. Suppression efforts are more difficult because of poor road access and steep terrain.
To overcome the limitations of terrain, ODF has employed air resources on the fire, including four helicopters, four single-engine air tankers and one large air tanker. 

A Type 3 team made up of local resources and ODF personnel from across the state is managing the fire.
 
ODF was joined in the initial attack on the fire Monday by U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and rural fire districts. Several rural fire districts provided structure protection early on in the fire, including:
  • Lakeview Rural Fire District
  • New Pine Creek Rural Fire District
  • Silver Lake Rural Fire District
  • Thomas Creek West Side Rural Fire District
Thunderstorms are possible in southern Lake County this afternoon and evening, bringing gusty and erratic winds and lightning. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



Photo above: Smoke rises from the Crane Fire in Lake County yesterday. Photo by Kellie Carlson, ODF. 

ODF firefighters are working to stop a 400-acre fire near Lakeview

LAKEVIEW, Ore. - This morning Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters from the Lakeview office and interagency cooperators are battling a lightning-caused fire that broke out yesterday afternoon on ODF-protected land.

The Crane Fire ignited in an area of sagebrush and juniper trees about four miles southeast of Lakeview. It has since burned at least 400 acres and reached an area of pine and other conifers in difficult terrain with poor road access. The fire is being attacked by air resources, engines, hand crews and dozers.
 
Several Lake County fire departments are working to protect homes near the fire, according to the Oregon State Fire Marshal.

A Type 3 team made up of local resources and ODF personnel from across the state assumed management of the fire today.
 
 
Photo above: The Crane Fire, above, is one of dozens of fires sparked by lightning this week in ODF's  Klamath-Lake District. Photo by Mike Leach, ODF.



Monday, July 24, 2017

Initial attack successes are keeping acres burned below average


Overall, ODF is tracking closely to the 10-year average for numbers of fires at 399 fires on ODF-protected land.  In contrast, the number of acres burned to-date sits at less than 10 percent of the 10-year average. Currently 678 acres have burned on ODF-protected land compared to an average for this date of over 7,400.

"Our initial attack success so far this year has been exceptional," said ODF's Chief of Fire Protection Doug Grafe.

He said ODF has responded to fires every day in July. He highlighted ODF's Severity Program resources (mainly aviation assets, such as airtankers and helicopters) as critical in keeping fires small. 

"It takes a coordinated effort with our partners in the structure fire service, forest landowners, contractors and cooperating agencies to realize this type of success," Grafe said. "I’m grateful for that partnership.”

Fire risk remains a concern

Oregon’s fire protection system will be tested over the next several days with dry fuels and lightning predicted for much of southern Oregon and the Cascades through Monday. In response, ODF is utilizing the Severity Program to shift aviation resources and mobilize engines to areas where the greatest threat lies. 

The following fire danger/fuels link highlights the elevated threat of fire this week across eastern Oregon: https://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/fuels_fire-danger/fuels_fire-danger.htm

“As we enter the start of peak fire danger for the season, I appreciate all staff raising fire prevention awareness within their circles of influence," said Grafe.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mop up continues today on Row River Fire in south Lane County

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. - Mop up continues on the Row River Fire southeast of Cottage Grove near the Dorena Reservoir. The fire, which was first reported on Sunday burned about 12 acres of wooded land by the Rowena River Trail before being fully lined by ODF personnel dispatched from the Springfield office.

Read more about the fire in this article by the Eugene Register-Guard.

Oregon has experienced almost no measurable rain in late June and the first half of July, allowing vegetation to dry out. Statewide the moisture content of fuels is dropping. With relative humidity also low in summer, the stage is set for fires to start more easily and spread more quickly. So far 2017 has seen an average number of fires for this time of year. However, there have been fewer lightning-sparked fires than the 10-year average for this date and more human-caused ones.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fire southeast of Cottage Grove is now in mop up

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. - ODF firefighters have fully lined the Row River Fire southeast of Cottage Grove and are in mop up. The fire started in timber on private land on Sunday night, July 16. Two Type 2 hand crews and a dozer from ODF's Springfield unit responded to the fire along with two private landowner water tenders. The fire was stopped after burning just under 12 acres.

An ODF engine is patrolling the fire this evening. It is expected that an engine, hand crew and water tender will continue mop up Tuesday. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo below: A bulldozed fireline on the Row River Fire southeast of Cottage Grove. Photo by Marcus Kauffman, ODF.

Fire near Clatskanie contained to about 29 acres

CLATSKANIE, Ore. - A wildfire at milepost 5.5. along Highway 47 near Clatskanie is reported as fully lined
 
at 29 acres. About 50 personnel are on site this morning mopping up the fire. Hoses have been laid to help firefighters water down any burning woody debris. Investigators will be arriving on scene this morning to look into the cause of the fire. Highway 47 is now reopened.

The fire was reported Sunday at around 11:30 a.m. The fire occurred on private ODF-protected land in logging slash and some standing trees.  Sunday afternoon a 10-mile stretch had been temporarily closed  as some 70 fire personnel from multiple agencies battled the blaze along with two helicopters and two single-engine air tankers. No structures were threatened.

ODF crews from Columbia City, Forest Grove and Astoria were aided by local fire departments from the towns of Clatskanie, Scappoose, and Vernonia as well as Washington County, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District, Knappa Fire District and Columbia River Fire and Rescue, and private landowner personnel.


According to ODF records, there have been 356 wildfires statewide so far this year on the 16 million acres of land protected by the agency. The fires have burned about 442 acres of ODF-protected land. About 82% of those wildfires have been caused by humans.  

Photo below: View of the aftermath of the Highway 47 Milepost 5 Fire outside of Clatskanie. Photo from Malcolm Hiatt, ODF.

Friday, July 14, 2017

ODF firefighters work to mop up fires in Klamath and Polk counties

 

Photo above: Flames consume brush and juniper trees
on the Buck Butte Fire southeast of Klamath Falls.
Photo by Bryson Williams, ODF.

Buck Butte Fire
Firefighters from ODF's Klamath-Lake District are busy today mopping up the 11-acre Buck Butte fire 17 miles SE of Klamath Falls. The Buck Butte fire began the afternoon of July 13 on private land, burning grass, brush and timber.  ODF's Klamath Falls office sent eight engines, a dozer and a hand crew, aided by an air attack plane, and two helicopters that dropped water on the fire. The U.S. Forest Service also responded to the fire.

Mop up on Buck Butte is being assisted by a contracted water tender and two 10-person inmate crews from the Warner Creek Correctional Institute north of Lakeview.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Riley Central Fire
In the West Oregon District work continues to mop up the Riley Central Fire. That fire burned about 40 acres of steep, wooded terrain outside Falls City, which is southwest of Dallas, Ore. The Riley Central Fire began on July 9. Firefighters from ODF's Dallas, Philomath and Toledo offices were involved in both the initial attack and the ongoing mop up this week. Private contractors and inmate crews from the South Fork Forest Camp east of Tillamook have assisted with the mop up.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

ODF assisting in fires around the state

One of the largest fires currently burning in Oregon is the Ana Fire in central Oregon southeast of Bend near Summer Lake. The fire, which began Saturday, is reported as having burned 5,874 acres of grass, brush and trees and is reportedly 75% contained as of this morning.

Oregon Department of Forestry sent 10 engines to help battle the Ana Fire, five of which were still assisting today. At its peak, over 400 personnel from multiple agencies were working to suppress the Ana Fire. One of those assisting on the Ana Fire is Kurt Donaldson, a forest officer with ODF in Astoria. He was interviewed by Medford TV station KVDR. See the story here. For updated information about the Ana Fire, check the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership Facebook page.

As part of Oregon's complete and coordinated system of protection, firefighting agencies throughout the state can call on each other to fight fires when more resources are needed to get the job done. Those resources can be as basic as a local rural fire department sending a single engine to full-scale mobilization of state and federal firefighting equipment and specialized teams.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

All ODF fire protection districts are now in fire season

With the declaration of fire season yesterday in ODF's Northwest Oregon District, all 12 fire protection districts and associations are in fire season. Districts and associations declare fire season as local conditions become drier and warmer. Those factors increase the risk of fire starting.

Oregon summers usually see little rainfall, so vegetation will continue to dry out as the summer advances. This makes fuels catch fire more easily and spread more quickly. Fire danger levels are raised when conditions worsen. Higher fire danger levels prompt increased fire restrictions. As the timing of these varies by location, check restrictions for a particular area on ODF's Fire Restrictions and Closures web page.
 
Above: Brush, grass and trees like these in central Oregon's Crook County north of Prineville are quickly drying out under the summer sun. Most fires are caused by careless human activity that ignites these dry fuels. Photo by Jim Gersbach, ODF.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fires on ODF lands are burning fewer acres

Compared to the 10-year average for this date in July, this year's fires on ODF-protected land have burned  far fewer acres than expected. While the number of fires to this point in 2017 is exactly the same as the 10-year average - 296 fires - only a fourth as many acres have burned. For example, each fire over the past decade burned on average just under 8 acres. This year, each fire has burned only 1.34 acres.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Firefighters are mopping up a 29-acre fire west of Lakeview

LAKEVIEW, Ore. – A fire that started yesterday in open ponderosa pine forest and grassland about 40 miles west of Lakeview is now fully contained, with firefighters doing mop up today. The Gerber Rim fire broke out Wednesday afternoon on ODF-protected land, spreading to 29 acres.

ODF fire crews from Lakeview were joined in fighting the fire by the landowner, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Four single-engine air tankers, two helicopters, at least 11 fire engines, two dozers and two water tenders were used to bring the fire under control.

Below: A helicopter douses the Gerber Rim Fire, which burned 29 acres of ponderosa pine and grassland about 40 miles west of Lakeview before being contained yesterday. Photo by Rob Wood, ODF.
 

 
Cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Hot temperatures in eastern Oregon, soaring above 100 degrees in many places again today, are raising the risk of wildfires in that part of the state.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Firefighters mop up 195-acre Grizzly Fire in central Oregon

PRINEVILLE, Ore. -- Firefighters continue to mop up the Grizzly Fire, which was reported Monday afternoon about nine miles northwest of Prineville in ODF's Central Oregon District. The fire briefly threatened homes Monday night before moderating as winds subsided. The fire is 100% lined and currently 50% contained. Firefighters are focusing on extinguishing smoldering debris and hot spots along the fire perimeter and adjacent to structures. That work will continue for the next several days.

The fire is human caused and remains under investigation. It burned 195 acres of brush and juniper, including parts of the Crooked River National Grassland and private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and Crook County Fire and Rescue.
 
Photo above: The Grizzly Fire scorched 195 acres in central Oregon July 3-4. Photo by Jim Gersbach, ODF.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fire threatens homes NW of Prineville

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A Level 3 Evacuation has been ordered for residents of the Grizzly Mountain Road area about 12 miles northwest of Prineville where a fire broke out this afternoon shortly before 2 p.m. The fire, which has spread to an estimated 200 acres, is reportedly threatening between 10 and 15 homes whose residents have been asked to leave immediately. Residents of an additional 10 to 15 homes on McCoin Road have been put on a Level 1 Evacuation and are asked to be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

ODF's Central Oregon District has dispatched nine fire engines and their crews, a dozer, four single-engine air tankers, two large air tankers and three helicopters to fight the fire. Others responding include the Bureau of Land Management, Crooked River Fire and Rescue, and Jefferson County Fire and Rescue.

The fire is burning in an area of grass and juniper trees on ODF-protected land, on the Crooked River National Grassland, and in BLM's Prineville District. The most up-to-date details on the fast-moving fire is being posted on Twitter @CentralORFire.

Fire season opens in three western Oregon districts

Four more ODF fire protection districts have declared fire season, prompted by continuing warm, rainless weather. The Northeast Oregon District went into fire season June 26. The South Cascade and Western Lane districts did so on June 29, and the West Oregon District on July 3. The North Cascade District is set to enter fire season on Wednesday, July 5.

The last remaining district without a fire season start date - Northwest Oregon - is expected to announce later this week when it will enter fire season, possibly near the beginning of next week.

ODF's meteorologists are forecasting continued dry weather over most of the state, with temperatures above average in most areas through the middle of July. Dry, warm summers such as we're having may be normal in Oregon but they quickly dry out vegetation, snags and other woody debris. The longer summer conditions prevail, the greater the chance for lightning to not just spark a fire but for that fire to quickly spread into a major blaze.

Fire schools prepare firefighters for summer blazes


Firefighting agencies have been busy preparing with a number of different firefighter trainings around the state. The largest Fire School in Oregon just wrapped up last week. The Willamette Valley Interagency Wildland Fire School took place in Sweet Home. It concluded with a live-fire exercise on June 30. Some 250 firefighters and instructors from ODF, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde set fire to slash piles in a 10-acre clearcut outside of town, then worked to extinguish the fires. The trainees practiced everything from digging fire containment lines to laying hose and spraying down embers as part of suppression and mop up. With increased lightning predicted for later in the week, they may soon get a chance to put those skills to work on actual wildfires.

(Photo above right: Mopping up operations on a slash pile burn at the Mid-Willamette Valley Interagency Wildland Fire School. Photo by Marcus Kauffman)
 

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, 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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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.