Current situation

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

ODF Fire Protection Chief assesses Oregon's largest wildfire

ODF Fire Protection Division Chief Doug Grafe has been at the Chetco Bar Fire yesterday and today. The fire has burned 105,518 acres in Curry County, making it the largest wildfire in Oregon so far this year. Grafe met with Coos Forest Protective Association leaders, co-operators, forest landowners and incident managers. Below is his assessment of the fire, which is the largest wildfire so far this year in Oregon:
  • The past four days on the fire have been highly productive as firefighters have turned from life-safety tactics during last week's fire runs to aggressive fire suppression efforts. Direct attack efforts organized through the Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA) and forest landowners on the head of the fire have been highly effective at checking the spread of the fire toward coastal communities. We have established over 14 miles of dozer lines thus far. Structure task forces have held their ground protecting homes against another potential run from this fire. Dozers and hand crews are pushing into Forest Service ground on the north and east flanks, building fire line as tight as possible to the fire perimeter as we move into more broken and difficult terrain. There is very challenging firefighting ahead of us but our emergency response coordination at all levels is aligned very well.  Approximately 18,000 acres of ODF-protected lands through CFPA have burned on this fire, including private and Bureau of Land Management lands.
Chetco Bar has burned to within five miles of Brookings, whose residents have been put on a pre-evacuation notice. To date the fire has destroyed five homes, 20 outbuildings, and 13 vehicles. It has also damaged one home and eight outbuildings. No additional homes were reported destroyed or damaged Friday.

Highway 101 remains open but motorists are requested to avoid traveling the section north of the Brookings area if possible.

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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.


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.