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Friday, August 25, 2017

Landowners play important role in helping fight wildfires

Landowners are important allies in helping stop or slow the spread of wildfire. Many examples could be cited. A recent one is from the Jones Fire in Lane County, where Weyerhaeuser Company resources played an important part in Oregon's complete and coordinated system of fire protection.

Above: The Jones Fire in Lane County
 is one of several burning on a national forest this summer 
where private landowners and ODF
have partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and others  
to protect local timber assets
 and the future economic benefits they represent.
The Jones Fire was started by lightning on the Willamette National Forest. The blaze has blackened 5,530 acres of steep, heavily timbered terrain about 10 miles east of the community of Lowell. The fire threatens private residences, recreational infrastructure, federal forestland and valuable industrial timberlands.

The Oregon Department of Forestry is engaged in battling the Jones Fire alongside the Willamette National Forest under the coordination of the Northwest Incident Management Team # 10. ODF has provided several personnel to support the incident management team and its operations.

On Aug. 11, 2017 the Jones Fire grew rapidly by over 800 acres, pushing into the sky a towering column of smoke. Weyerhaeuser quickly mobilized several local firefighting resources to work directly with the incident management team. The local resources provided important capacity to immediately support the firefighting operations.

Weyerhaeuser's forestland lies just a quarter-mile from the primary northern containment line for the Jones Fire. For several days, fire crews have been preparing a strategic firing operation nearby on lands of the Willamette National Forest. To complement those efforts, Weyerhaeuser and personnel from ODF developed a contingency containment line on Weyerhaeuser's land using roads and ridgelines. Weyerhaeuser put a dozer, two excavators and a feller-buncher to work removing roadside vegetation along the contingency line.

The cooperation on the Jones Fire allows for high-value timber stands and their future economic benefits to be protected. It highlights the importance of the "all-lands, all-hands" approach taken by ODF, Willamette National Forest, Northwest Incident Management Team # 10 and Weyerhaeuser. It is a partnership model that aims to prevent losses to forestland by helping stop the spread of wildfires, regardless of their origin.


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

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. 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.


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.