Current situation

Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and Washington continue to affect air quality in much of northern Oregon today. Meanwhile, smoke from multiple wildfires again hovers over southwest Oregon. Mostly dry thunderstorms are predicted through Friday in southern and eastern Oregon, which could result in lightning-sparked fires.


Many ODF districts and forest protective associations are in high or extreme fire danger with tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

ODF and association firefighters will return to Oregon from California before Christmas

Over 60 firefighting personnel from Oregon Department of Forestry districts and Coos and Douglas Forest Protective Associations will be returning to Oregon this holiday weekend from Southern California, where they have been helping battle the Thomas Fire. That fire is now reported as 60% contained. The firefighters will be returning in the same 25 fire engines in which they traveled to California.

Above: Firefighters from ODF's Eastern Oregon Area
pause for a group photo after fighting
the Thomas Fire in Southern California.
 
The ODF and association firefighters have been engaged on the fire northwest of Los Angeles for almost two weeks. During that time, the Thomas Fire has grown to more than 272,000 acres, almost equal to the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego, which has stood as the largest wildfire in California in modern times.

Oregon sent the largest contingent of fire engines and personnel from out of state to help California with the massive blaze, which began on Dec. 4. Earlier this week some 300 other Oregon firefighters deployed to California through the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal were demobilized.

Unusually prolonged Santa Ana winds spread the fire through rugged terrain in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The lack of significant rainfall in the area since February provided ample dead and dry fuel that carried the fire deep into the Los Padres National Forest as well as nearby communities.

The ODF and association firefighters dug control lines and put out spot fires during their assignment. Their mobilization was part of a mutual-aid agreement that this summer saw California firefighters travel north to help during an especially intense outbreak of wildfires in Oregon. 

At the peak of the Thomas Fire, the ODF and association firefighters were part of a virtual army of more than 8,400 firefighters assigned to the fire. Wind-driven flames forced the evacuation of thousands of area residents and destroyed more than a thousand structures, according to Cal Fire’s official information website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have a question/comment about this season's wildfire activity on the 16 million acres of private and public forestlands that the Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects from wildfire? Let us know. Please keep your remarks civil and free of profanity.

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 about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters are predicting the summer of 2018 will see above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Drought has already been declared in a number of counties in eastern and southern Oregon, with northwest Oregon also unusually dry for June. 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.

Followers

About Me

My photo
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.