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 3, 2017

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)

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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:

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.