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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Firefighters strengthen fire lines on the Horse Prairie Fire

Above: Just over 4,400 acres in Douglas County
have burned to date in the Horse Prairie Fire.
Fire growth on the Horse Prairie Fire in Douglas County was slowed Tuesday night due to lower temperatures and higher humidity. Night crews took advantage of these conditions to strengthen fire lines and build contingency lines. With the minimal growth overnight, the fire continues to be estimated at just over 4,400 acres and remains 15 percent contained. It is located about 15 miles northwest of Canyonville. The cause has not been determined.

The fire crossed Cow Creek late yesterday at Dad's Creek and Table Creek. There is a burn of approximately 100 acres across the creek and crews and aircraft are focusing efforts in that area.

Clearing skies today will allow additional aircraft to assist firefighters. But smoke is expected over the fire later today and may impact air operations. In addition, any smoke over the air base in Myrtle Creek may prevent aircraft from taking off.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office continues the Level 3 evacuation notification for Lower Cow Creek. The notification is for Lower Cow Creek Road from the end of County Maintenance to Union Creek, including residents living on Doe Creek Road. The local fire departments have posted a fire engine at all nine affected homes in the evacuation area.

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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.