Current situation

Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and Washington continue to affect air quality in much of northern Oregon today. Meanwhile, smoke from multiple wildfires again hovers over southwest Oregon. Mostly dry thunderstorms are predicted through Friday in southern and eastern Oregon, which could result in lightning-sparked fires.


Many ODF districts and forest protective associations are in high or extreme fire danger with tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Highway signs warn of extreme wildfire danger


SALEM, Ore. – Starting today messaging boards on major Oregon highways will warn motorists of the extreme fire danger in much of the state. The signs are a collaborative effort between the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Transportation.  The message "Extreme Fire Danger: Use Caution" can be seen on I-5, I-84 and State Highway 97 through central Oregon and Highway 20 from Albany to Ontario. The messages will be shown during times of peak wildfire danger.  

                    Left: Motorists along Oregon's main freeways and Highways 97 and 20 are being warned about the extreme fire danger in much of the state by signs like this one near Madras. ODF photo by Jamie Paul.


The majority of wildfires in Oregon are caused by humans, according to Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields with the Oregon Department of Forestry in Salem.

“Taking extra care to avoid any activity which might spark a fire is especially important in summer. By August, vegetation is dry and can readily catch fire even from small sparks,” he said.

Drivers should not toss cigarette butts out windows and avoid parking on dry grass, which may ignite from heat from their vehicle. For a full list of restrictions when traveling, recreating or working in forestland, visit the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Restrictions and Closures web page at  http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/pages/FireStats.aspx

“We appreciate the Department of Transportation helping us raise awareness among Oregonians and visitors to our state of the extreme fire danger in our forestlands,” said Fields.

                                                                 
 

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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 about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters are predicting the summer of 2018 will see above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Drought has already been declared in a number of counties in eastern and southern Oregon, with northwest Oregon also unusually dry for June. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

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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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.