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 3, 2017

Oregon air quality is at risk from wildfire starts

Left: An orange haze surrounds the rising sun as it comes up in a sky full of wildfire smoke over Salem. ODF photo by Nick Hennemann.

SALEM, Ore. – Smoke from wildfires will remain over much of the state today (Aug. 3) but some relief may be on the way for the weekend, at least west of the Cascades. That’s according to Smoke Management Program Meteorologist Nick Yonker with the Oregon Department of Forestry in Salem.
In the Portland area and the Willamette Valley, air quality is currently unhealthy or unhealthy for sensitive groups. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality advisory for Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford and surrounding areas as well as for central and eastern Oregon. Particulate matter from wildfire smoke is one of the concerns.
Yonker said the upper level high pressure ridge may gradually weaken today and tomorrow and allow for some onshore northwesterly flow late this afternoon and evening. This will gradually scour smoke from the air at the coast and inland.
 “Stronger onshore flow Friday should provide additional relief west of the Cascades by Friday afternoon and Saturday,” said Yonker. “However, the winds potentially will increase smoke levels in eastern Oregon by pushing smoke from the Whitewater Fire near Mt. Jefferson and other wildfires into that part of the state.”
 Yonker said new wildfires could alter that picture, which is why Oregonians are being urged to use extreme caution when working, traveling or recreating in forestland.
Current air quality information is available on the web:

- For areas in Oregon, other than Lane County:

- For Lane County:

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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:

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.


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.