Current situation

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fire still a danger despite cooler weather

Despite cooler overnight temperatures, fire can still pose a danger in Oregon.  This was demonstrated Monday evening when firefighters from the Douglas Forest Protective Association and Camas Valley Rural Fire Department responded to a grass fire about 1.5 miles northeast of Camas Valley in Douglas County.  Crews arrived on scene of the Camas Mountain Fire and attacked the blaze, which was burning through grass at a moderate rate of spread.  Firefighters stopped the Camas Mountain Fire at 3/4 of an acre and remained on scene for about an hour, mopping up hot spots and securing control lines.

Fire officials determined that the Camas Mountain Fire was caused by hot ashes from a wood stove being dumped in dry grass.  While there are no restrictions on using wood stoves insides homes, it is important that the ashes are disposed of properly so they don’t start a wildfire.  Ash from a fireplace or wood stove can retain enough heat to ignite other combustible material for several days after a fire. 

When cleaning ash from a fireplace or wood stove, follow these tips:

  • Treat all ashes as hot!
  • Never put hot ash into a paper or plastic bag, cardboard box or other similar container.  The only type of container suitable for ash storage is a metal or ceramic container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Spray water on the ash prior to attaching the metal lid to the container and allow them to completely cool outside, away from your home.
  • Never store a metal ash container (with ashes in them) on a deck, in a garage, or in any location that may allow heat to transfer from the hot coals to nearby flammable items.
  • Once the ash has completely cooled, only dump them in areas free of flammable vegetation.
  • As an additional precaution, have a garden hose and shovel on site when you dump the ash so you can spray water and mix the ash to ensure they are completely out.
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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.