Current situation

Cooler air should start moving across the area late Thursday or Friday, bringing more widespread showers with some embedded wet thunderstorms west of the Cascades. Precipitation should taper off into the weekend. The potential for new significant fires will stay low across the Pacific Northwest into next week.


Thanks to cooler temperatures, and higher humidity and precipitation, fire restrictions have started to be reduced in different parts of the state depending on the local fuel conditions. Check with your local district or forest protection association for restrictions on activities linked to fire starts or use 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

National Guard helicopters to help on Whitewater Fire

SALEM, Ore. - Two Oregon National Guard Chinook helicopters from Pendleton arrive in Salem today as the first resources mobilized to fight wildfires under the state of emergency declared by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday. The heavy-lift helicopters have been assigned to make water drops on the Whitewater Fire starting Saturday. That fire in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness has grown to more than 4,500 acres and could pose a threat to nearby private forestland protected by ODF.

ODF Aviation Manager Neal Laugle says helicopters are in especially high demand due to wildfires burning across the western United States and British Columbia. "That makes the availability of these National Guard helicopters very important right now for helping check the spread of Whitewater into private forestland."

Laugle says the Chinook is a highly effective firefighting tool, able to work in difficult terrain.

Gov. Brown's declaration came as high temperatures and dry fuels this week created a significant risk of wildfires starting and spreading.

“As Oregon faces a near record-breaking heatwave, the threat of wildfires increases,” Brown said in a statement accompanying the declaration.

Gov. Brown also urged all Oregonians to respect burn bans and other fire restrictions and do all they can to prevent wildfire starts.

Photo of a Chinook helicopter courtesy of the Oregon National Guard.

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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 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.

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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.