Lightning is largely absent from Oregon this week. However, warm, dry weather will greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21. Avoiding activities that can spark a wildfire is key to making the eclipse a safe and pleasant experience for all. One measure adopted to reduce the risk of wildfire is a temporary ban, now in effect, on all campfires in state parks





Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ODF responds to Flounce Fire in Jackson County

Above: Smoke rises from the Flounce Fire north of Medford.
Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters from the Grants Pass and Medford offices worked through last night constructing fire line on the Flounce Fire, located about 22 miles north of Medford. The fire was first reported as two separate fires late Monday afternoon. The main fire burned nearly 50 acres by sunset. It and a smaller fire joined shortly after burning close to 200 acres by midnight. By early this morning, the lightning-sparked fire had burned more than 250 acres, according to district estimates.

ODF has dispatched its Incident Management Team 1 to the fire today. Command of the fire will transfer from the Southwest Oregon District
to that team at 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9.

A Level One (Be Ready) evacuation notice has been issued by Jackson County Emergency Management for residents on Evergreen Drive and Lewis Road near Prospect.

The fire is burning on timbered land that ranges from moderate to very steep. The rugged terrain was one of the primary challenges over the past 12 hours. Still, crews were able to lay hose to help control fire activity. Today, firefighters will continue to knock down the active portions of the fire, as well as continue building a control line around the perimeter. Additional ground and air resources have been ordered.  

Along with Oregon Department of Forestry crews from the Southwest Oregon District, a Rogue Valley Strike Team was activated. The strike team consists of structural protection units from Jackson County Fire District 4, Jackson County Fire District 5, Jackson County Fire District 3, Medford Fire-Rescue, Jacksonville Fire and Ashland Fire-Rescue. Ten-person and 20-person crews are also on scene, and several Oregon Department of Corrections inmate crews have arrived to assist with fire line construction. Roughly 250 personnel are currently working on the fire, with more resources on the way.

A red flag warning has been issued from noon to 10 p.m. today, with abundant lightning in the forecast. The fire danger level on ODF-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties is “extreme” (red) today. For a full list of the public restrictions currently in place, visit ODF Southwest Oregon District's Facebook page @ODFSouthwest or our website: www.swofire.com.

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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, even in non-drought years Oregon's warm, dry summers create conditions that allow for fire to start and spread. In an average summer firefighters still see almost a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.



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. There are about 30.4 million total 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.