Current situation

Sunny and dry conditions again prevail across Oregon this week. Mild temperatures will give way to warmer conditions, melting snow and drying fuels faster. This will raise fire risk across the state. There have already been twice as many wildfires on ODF-protected land compared to the same time last year, with more than twice as many acres burned.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month, a time when homeowners are urged to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire around their house and other structures. Among these are clearing debris from roofs and gutters, cutting back brush from around structures, and removing lower branches from trees.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Firefighters continue working to fully contain the Horse Prairie Fire

Over a thousand firefighters and support personnel continue working to fully contain the Horse Prairie Fire in Douglas County. Fire activity has decreased, which will result in a reduction in the number of personnel assigned to the fire as mop-up and rehab operations become more of the focus.

Above: Decreased fire activity on the Horse Prairie Fire
 is letting firefighters focus on finishing burnout operations
even as mop up and rehab efforts get underway.
ODF's Incident Management Team 3 is finishing their two-week assignment and will transfer command of the fire to ODF's IMT 1 on Saturday. Their mission will be to help bring the fire to full containment. The fire stands at 16,436 acres and is now 35 percent contained.

The rain that fell across the valley yesterday and last night dropped only about 15-hundredths of an inch on the fire. The light rain is not expected to hinder the burnout operations of unburned areas within the established fireline and smoke may be visible from Cow Creek Road. It is essential to finish burning out these “islands” of unburned fuels to prevent future flare ups and new fires crossing established containment lines.

Other work on the fire today includes the establishment of sediment controlling “water bars” on the fire trails.  These water bars are berms of earth constructed at an angle and spacing to prevent rain falling on the fire trial from creating a gully and erosion.  Additional work today will be falling fire-weakened trees along the railroad tracks to prevent their unexpected fall onto the tracks.

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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 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 mountain snowpack. It didn't take long for that to melt and vegetation to dry out due to a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather over the summer. As forest fuels dried, fires started and spread, many from lands adjacent to those protected by ODF, such as the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. That one fire accounted for 46% of the 47,537 acres of land protected by ODF which burned in 2017. Of fires originating on ODF-protected land, 95% 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.