Current situation

Fire season on ODF-protected land has officially ended in all of Oregon as cooler temperatures and moister conditions settle over much of the state. This late in the fall, a key source of ignitions is fire escaping when piles of woody debris are burned. Care is required with that activity at any time of year.
































Thursday, August 10, 2017

ODF crews work with partners on multiple new fires

 

The following fires were reported as burning on ODF-protected lands.


Creek Pine Fire
The Creek Pine Fire burned about 78 acres in Harney County. This lightning caused fire is located about 40 miles south of John Day. The fire was reported just after 1 p.m. yesterday burning in juniper, grass and sagebrush.


Crews stopped the spread of the fire by late Wednesday evening.  Aerial resources were critical in the response due to the steep terrain and difficult access. Today firefighters will continue to strengthen fire lines and begin mopping up the interior of the fire.

Kirk Road Fire 
The Kirk Road Fire also started just after 1 p.m. yesterday. It burned 242 acres, including 76 on ODF-protected land. The fire is roughly 20 miles northeast of Pendleton, near Weston, Oregon. The cause of fire is under investigation.
 
Yesterday's joint response by local rural fire districts, the U.S.D.A Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Oregon Department of Forestry included a land and air effort with multiple fire engines, bulldozers, water tenders, crews, airplanes and a helicopters. The fire was lined late yesterday and is 75 percent controlled. Today crews will be mopping up interior hot spots and patrolling the fire area. 
 
The fire is burning in steep hills and was running and spotting yesterday afternoon. Embers can fly a half mile or more, and ignite a hillside across a valley from the burning hillside.
 
Redwood Highway Fire
The Redwood Highway Fire about 4 miles south of Cave Junction started yesterday. It burned 10 acres before crews dug a line around the fire to contain it. The fire is under investigation. Crews are doing mop-up today and working with the local fire department.  

Reuben Fire
The Reuben Fire is about 15 miles northwest of Grants Pass and has burned about 11 acres. The fire was caused by lightning. Crews are working to complete the line around the fire today.  

Stratton Creek Fire
The Stratton Creek Fire started yesterday morning 10 miles north of Grants Pass. It has burned about 24 acres. The fire is under investigation. Firefighters will continue fighting this fire today with helicopters dropping water to support the effort.
 
 

The following updates are for fires ODF has already been working on.


Flounce Fire
The Flounce Fire near Shady Cove is now about 690 acres and 10 percent contained. Up to a quarter-inch of rain fell on parts of the fire last night from a thunderstorm. 
 
While the rain is welcome, it creates safety concerns. The moisture combined with burning root systems, weakens trees causing a risk of falling and carrying burning material downhill across fire lines. Another concern is the potential for rock slides in the steep, rugged terrain. 
A Level One (Be Ready) evacuation notice remains in effect for residents on Evergreen Drive and Lewis Road near Prospect. Jackson County Emergency Management and local fire agencies will continue to coordinate with fire team personnel in evaluating the situation.
 
The fire danger level on ODF-protected land in Jackson and Josephine counties remains at extreme (red).
 
Indian Lake Fire
The Indian Lake Fire that started August 4 is 100 percent lined and 85 percent contained. It is located about 19 miles northwest of La Grande. This 222 acre fire burned 37 acres on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected land and the balance was U.S.D.A. Forest Service land. The cause is under investigation. 

The coordinated response by the Forest Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Oregon Department of Forestry has made it possible to transfer command today from a Type 3 team to a Type 4 Team today. This is the last report on this fire unless significant activity occurs.
 
Whitewater Fire
The Whitewater fire started July 23 in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness and adjacent forestland. It has burned about 5,844 acres. Smoke from the Whitewater fire will affect the communities of Detroit, Marion Forks and Idanha. 
 
Some ODF crews are protecting private forestland on the fire's perimeter. Two Oregon National Guard Chinook helicopters will continue dropping water on the fire today, as part of Operation Smokey. Firing operations, which are used to remove fuels and reduce the spread of fire, will take place later today when conditions are favorable for managing fire intensity. 
 
All trail access points into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness and a portion of the Willamette National Forest west of the wilderness boundary remain closed. Individuals who have private lands within the closure, or leased lands, will be allowed to enter as long as it is safe to do so.  

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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: information@odf.state.or.us.

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these 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.





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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.