Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

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.


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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:

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick mountain snowpack. It didn't take long for that to melt and vegetation to dry out due to a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather over the summer. As forest fuels dried, fires started and spread, many from lands adjacent to those protected by ODF, such as the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. That one fire accounted for 46% of the 47,537 acres of land protected by ODF which burned in 2017. Of fires originating on ODF-protected land, 95% 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.


About Me

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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.