Current situation

Fires in the Garner Complex in Josephine County have burned close to a 1,000 acres since Sunday. ODF Incident Management Team 2 has taken command of the Complex to allow the Southwest Oregon District to focus on dozens of other lightning-sparked wildfires. While temperatures in many parts of Oregon won't be quite as hot today, conditions are drier than normal for this time of year. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 99% of Oregonians live in areas that are abnormally dry or in moderate drought, with southeast Oregon already in severe drought.

Many ODF districts and forest protective associations have raised their fire danger level and 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





Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Gov. Kate Brown declares a statewide wildfire emergency

SALEM, Ore.  — Governor Kate Brown today declared a statewide wildfire emergency, which activates Operation Plan Smokey to make Oregon National Guard (ONG) troops and resources available to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). At the request of ODF, aviation assets will be made available to wildfire crews in Oregon. Oregon National Guard ground troops have not yet been requested but are now available if wildfire conditions worsen.

"The wildfire season has escalated in Oregon much earlier normal, and crews are working around the clock to keep homes and resources safe," Gov. Kate Brown said. "Given drought conditions and hotter than usual temperatures, Oregonians should be prepared for an intense wildfire season this year. I'm committed to making state resources available to ensure crews have the resources they need, and I also urge the public to be mindful of fire restrictions and use caution this summer to help keep Oregon green."

Operation Plan Smokey is an agreement between the ONG and the ODF that allows guard resources to be deployed to assist in wildfire management and suppression. Additionally, the emergency declaration allows Office of Emergency Management to coordinate with other states for assets if needed in the future. 

 
                                                                                 
 
  # # #

Containment on Silver Creek Fire reaches 65 percent as mop up continues

SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Ore. - This lightning-caused fire in dense forest is now reported to be 65 percent contained. About 115 personnel remained to work on the 27-acre fire Wednesday. Overnight, crews used an infrared camera to look for hot spots within the fire's perimeter in a remote part of Silver Falls State Park. This revealed good progress on extinguishing remaining heat.

Most of the snags that posed a threat to firefighter safety have now been removed, although some large hazard trees remain. Smoke can still be seen rising from some of these fire-damaged trees.

Visitors to Silver Falls State Park will find pleasant conditions. Light smoke may be visible at times, but heavy smoke is unlikely. Other fires burning in the region may be responsible for increased haze in the area. While some closures remain in the Park, the Ranches have reopened. No scheduled events are being interrupted. The Park's landmark waterfalls remain fully accessible to visitors during normal Park hours.

Over 540 personnel are now engaged on the Garner Complex in southern Oregon

MERLIN, Ore. - The Garner Complex, made up of 12 fires in Josephine County, grew in the past 24 hours by about 700 acres. It's size was estimated this morning at 960 acres. More than 540 personnel are engaged on the fires, including ODF's Incident Management Team 2. The team is directing operations from the Incident Command Post at the BLM Sprague Seed Orchard in Merlin, Ore.

Ground and aerial resources are being used to fight the fires, which were caused by lightning. This morning there were nine fire engines, two water tenders, seven dozers, eight helicopters and 18 hand crews assigned to the fire. With dozens of wildfires in southern Oregon and five other incident management teams from different agencies deployed in the region, finding fire crews, air support and equipment is a challenge.

The team managing the fires plan to fully contain the smaller fires in the complex, construct firelines around the larger ones and keep looking for any new fires in the area.

Among the fires in the complex are the Grave Creek Fires, Spencer Creek Fires and Pleasant Creek Fire.

For more information about the Garner Complex fires, go online to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5935/

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

ODF sends Incident Management Team 2 to help with lightning fires in Southwest Oregon District

ODF's Incident Management Team 2 was dispatched overnight to take command of a series of fires in Josephine County at the request of the Southwest Oregon District. The district is dealing with 68 reported wildfires that have occurred since a lightning storm passed through the area Sunday.

The Team will be operating out of an incident command post in the community of Merlin, north of Grants Pass. Led by Incident Commander Chris Cline, the team is responsible for fires within the Garner Complex, including:

Grave Creek Fires
Four fires are in this group. The fires are about 17 miles north of the town of Rogue River in the vicinity of Upper Grave Creek Road several miles east of Wolf Creek and visible from the community of Wimer. No structures are threatened. The total area of the fires is estimated at 115 acres. The fire with the most potential to spread today is Grave Creek Fire No. 3. Getting control of this fire is the top priority for firefighters. Aerial and ground resources are continuing to aggressively attack these fires as they work lengthen current control lines along the flanks. Winds along ridgelines will test those control lines today.

Pleasant Creek Fire
Located 15 miles north of Rogue River, this fire is estimated at 60 acres. Ground resources are working to build lines around the fire today while aircraft work to cool off the leading edge of the fire to stop further spread. No structures are threatened.

Spencer Creek Fires
This is a group of about three fires approximately 12 miles south of Grants Pass. The fires are highly visible from I-5 and Grants Pass, Applegate, Williams and the Illinois Valley. The combined size of the fires is estimated at 105 acres. Two of the fires were lined overnight. However, Spencer Creek Fire No. 3 is pushing firefighters to their limits. No structures are threatened.

The Southwest Oregon District is working to knock down and contain other fires in the area, including fires in the Wagner Creek Complex in Jackson County. Among these fires are:

Green Top Mountain
This fire 5 miles northeast of Eagle Point is holding at 125 acres. Firefighters completed control lines around the perimeter of the fire Monday night. Containment now stands at 45 percent. Ground-based firefighters and aircraft will continue to knock down interior heat today.

Sterling Creek
Located 7 miles south of Jacksonville, this fire is estimated at about 100 acres. The fire is 30 percent contained. Ground forces and aircraft will continue knocking down flames inside the perimeter of the fire today.

Trail Creek and Elk Creek Drainage
Multiple fires are burning in the area surrounding Cleveland Ridge, Elk Creek and the Trail Creek area, which is roughly 5.5 miles north to northwest of Shady Cove. There are about 10 confirmed fires on ODF-protected land within the drainage, the largest of which is estimated at 20 acres. Several fires within the drainage were lined on Monday, including an 18-acre fire. Several of the fires are one acre or less in size. Overall the fires are 50 percent contained. Crews will continue to attack any remaining active fires today. No structures are threatened.

 

Silver Creek Fire now 100 percent lined with no new growth expected


Above: Smoke rises from the Silver Creek Fire. The heavily
forested location away from roads and trails has made
firefighters job more difficult. Despite that, firefighters
were able to completely encircle the fire.
SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Ore. - Firefighters continue making good progress on the Silver Creek Fire, with about 125 remaining to mop up over the next several days..

The fire, which is in a remote southeast part of Silver Falls State Park, is mapped at 27 acres. No further growth is expected. Firefighters have succeeded in building control lines completely around the fire, which is now 55 percent contained.

Investigators have officially determined the cause of the Silver Creek Fire was lightning, most likely from a storm that passed over the area on June 18. Known as a lightning holdover, the fire smoldered for several weeks before emerging during a windy period with high temperatures, low relative humidity and drier fuels on the ground.

While Howard Creek horse camp, the 214 Trailhead and several back-country trails remain closed, the Ranches have reopened and there are no interruptions to scheduled events. Waterfall areas remain accessible to visitors during normal park hours. Visitors may notice light smoke at times, but the fire is not anticipated to produce heavy smoke.

For the next several days crews will continue mopping up around the fire perimeter. This involves working from the fire's edge into the fire's interior, ensuring all heat has been extinguished. Mop-up is especially challenging on this fire because of thick brush, a heavy layer of duff and dangerous snags. Firefighters have been carefully removing large snags around the fire's perimeter. Night crews have used infrared cameras to help identify hot spots. Fire managers anticipate maintaining current staffing levels for the next several days to continue this work and secure the fire area. No injuries or fatalities have been reported over the course of the fire.

Photos and videos from July 14-15 remain available online at
https://drive.google.com/open?id=19RlLpHp3XPlNq0d-H8ZBz7SqEvDUG3Yy.
ODF recently received the following note of thanks from people whose home was threatened by the Memaloose Fire.

NOTE: The Memaloose Fire broke out July 6, 2018 near the rest stop about 10 miles east of Hood River in the Central Oregon District's The Dalles unit. ODF firefighters and agencies throughout the Columbia River Gorge responded to the fire. The fast-moving blaze eventually grew to 74 acres and prompted evacuation orders of nearby residents before being stopped by ground and aerial forces.

Please share the following letter of thanks with any and all people who assisted with the Memaloose Fire.  Our home was the one closest to being lost, but was saved by the hard work of all involved.  This letter has been sent to both The Dalles and Hood River papers for publication.  **We got to meet some of the ODF crew, who were just outstanding people!  Thanks!

Anyone who has had their property saved from fire must feel as we do---that there are no words strong enough to express our gratitude, our thanks, and our overwhelming sense of relief.  When told to evacuate, one feels completely helpless …the world is coming to an end.   And when things turn out well, again one feels amazement.  The firefighters have performed a miracle.   Saving Oregon… field, forest, homes, people, businesses cannot be over estimated.

The firefighters who defeated the recent Memaloose Fire (July 6-14) deserve praise not just from residents in the area,  but from everyone.  Controlling wind and flame seems an impossible task.  Success results from unrelenting effort, physical endurance, and complete dedication.  It comes from working on the ground all night and all day, from cooperation with planes dropping retardant, and helicopters  taking up water from the river and dropping it where most needed.   And the vigil and perseverance of the fighters on the ground, the working, the checking, the watching… this persistence continues for many days even after people return to homes. 

Firefighters work for results, for satisfaction, not for praise. But we hope they know the debt we owe them, how much we value them, and that we laud them, extol them every day of our lives.   
 
Thanks to the many agencies who responded, the pilots and crew of planes and helicopters, the men and women firefighters on the ground and all the support staff.   The land is now charred, but our homes were saved and we will watch the land turn brilliant green again in spring.

Nancy Matthisen

Colin and Jean Zylka

Besides ODF, responders to the Memaloose Fire included Wasco County Sheriff, Hood River County Sheriff, Hood River County's Immediate Needs Task Force, Klickitat County (Washington) Rural Fire Department Engine Strike Team, fire departments from Wasco and Sherman counties, Mosier Fire Department, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Travel Experience, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, U.S. Forest Service, and Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Firefighters are working in high heat to put out dozens of lightning fires in So. Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. - Firefighters across Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake counties are battling dozens of wildfires in the wake of Sunday's lightning storm across southern and south-central Oregon.

The outbreak has pushed the cumulative number of fires on lands protected by ODF to 429 so far this year, well above the 10-year average of 321. Total acres burned - an estimated 5,000 acres - are still in line with the 10-year average of 5,155 acres.

ODF's Southwest Oregon District reported approximately 1,000 lightning strikes during the storm. About 55 new fires have been reported in that district, with planes continuing to scout for the tell-tale smoke of new ignitions.

The district has grouped the fires into two complexes:

Garner Complex in Josephine County

Spencer Creek # 3: Highly visible from Grants Pass and the Illinois Valley, this fire is 12 miles south of Grants Pass. Estimated at 10 acres, no structures are threatened by the fire which is being fought by both ground and aerial resources.
 
Swamp Creek: 16 miles north of the town of Rogue River. Estimated at 3 acres. Ground and aerial resources engaged. No structures are threatened.
 
Little Grayback: 8 miles east of Cave Junction. Estimated at 2 acres. Several ground resources engaged, securing the perimeter. Smoke will be present. No structures are threatened.

Wagner Creek Complex in Jackson County

Wagner Creek Area: ODF is not engaged with this wildfire because it is on U.S. Forest Service land in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The fire is highly visible from I-5.

Green Top Mountain: 5 miles northeast of Eagle Point, this fire is estimated at 125 acres. This morning roughly 90% of the perimeter control line was complete and the fire was 5% contained.

Sterling Creek: Estimated at 100 acres, this fire is 7 miles south of Jacksonville but no structures are threatened. About 55% of the perimeter control line is complete and the fire is 5% contained. There was a roughly 4-acre spot fire this morning that has already been knocked down. Ground and aerial resources are engaged.

Trail Creek and Elk Creek drainages: Multiple fires are burning in the area surrounding Cleveland Ridge, Elk Creek and the Trail Creek area, which is roughly 5.5 miles north to northwest of Shady Cove. The largest fire in the area is estimated at 10 acres. Ground and aerial resources are engaged . No structures are threatened.

Douglas County Fires
The Douglas Forest Protective Association responded to five fires reported on Sunday in Douglas County. All but one were kept to less than an acre. The fifth - the Canyon Creek Fire four miles south of Canyonville - has proved more difficult to contain because of steep terrain and heavy fuels. About 30 firefighters a dozer and two helicopters worked on Sunday to install hose lays around the fire, and cool the perimeter, with work continuing Monday.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Firefighters make good progress Sunday on the Silver Creek Fire

SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Ore. - Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters assisted by local cooperators and a Type 1 helicopter made good progress on the Silver Creek Fire on Sunday despite temperatures that reached into the 90s. Firefighters have built trails around 75 percent of the fire. The fire is burning in dense forest in a remote part of Silver Falls State Park. Containment is now at 35 percent. About 125 personnel are engaged on the fire. There have been no reported injuries.

Silver Creek Fire is now estimated at 27 acres and 25 percent contained

SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Ore. - The Silver Creek Fire in Marion County is currently estimated at 27 acres and 25 percent contained. A good portion of the change in acreage over the last day is due to improved mapping and information from firefighters on the ground rather than fire growth.

The fire, which was first reported burning inside Silver Falls State Park July 12, is in the Howard Creek drainage. This is a remote, steep, timbered area over a mile from the park's boundary. Initial acreage estimates were hampered by the dense canopy, extensive understory, and limited visibility due to smoke.

The area is especially challenging for firefighters due to steep slopes and the nature of a mature forest; thick undergrowth slows progress and snags pose a falling hazard. Firefighter and public safety remains priority for all involved. No injuries or facility damage have been reported.

The number of personnel engaged has risen to approximately 125.

Current aerial support includes two Type 2 helicopters and a Type 1 helicopter. Heavy airtankers and single-engine airtankers (SEATs) are on standby if needed.
Park facilities remain unchanged from earlier reports:
  • the 214 Trailhead and several back-country trails, Howard Creek horse camp and Howard Creek day-use area, youth camp (Camp Silver Creek), and the Ranches are all closed. Howard Creek and the Ranches are closed to serve as incident command posts.
  • All other areas of the park are currently operating normally, with no interruptions to scheduled events. Visitors are enjoying the Historic Silver Falls Day event (https://silverfallsstatepark.wordpress.com/category/historic-silver-falls-days/),
  •  The Silver Falls Lodge and Conference Center (http://silverfallslodge.com/) continues to serve customers, including a wedding reception.
Conditions can change quickly; watch for updates on https://bit.ly/2meFGMP.
Photos and videos taken at the fire Saturday, July 14 are online at https://drive.google.com/open?id=19RlLpHp3XPlNq0d-H8ZBz7SqEvDUG3Yy
                                                                                  ###

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Firefighters achieve 10% containment on the Silver Creek Fire


Above: Firefighters had to make their way through
dense forest Saturday to reach the Silver Creek Fire in a remote part of  
Silver Falls State Park, then endure high heat. The fire size tonight
is reported at around 12 to 15 acres.
 
SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Ore. - Containment on the Silver Creek Fire inside Silver Falls State Park is reported at 10% tonight. Firefighters successfully forged trails through thick forest today to reach the fire, which is located in the Howard Creek drainage, a remote, steep area over a mile from the park boundary. Coordinated ground and air attacks made headway on the fire, which is currently estimated at 12 to 15 acres.
 
About 110 personnel from Oregon Department of Forestry and partner organizations are involved, with most engaged in firefighting on the ground. Aerial attack involves heavy airtankers, single-engine airtankers (SEATs), helicopter and aviation ground support.
 
Despite the difficult terrain and high heat Saturday, no injuries have been reported. No structures have been damaged. Park facilities remain unchanged from earlier reports:
  • The 214 Trailhead and several back-country trails, Howard Creek horse camp and day-use area, the youth camp (Camp Silver Creek) and the Ranches are all closed. Howard Creek and the Ranches are closed to serve as command posts.
  • Other areas of the park are currently operating normally, with no interruptions to scheduled events.
 Conditions can change quickly. Watch for updates on https://bit.ly/2meFGMP

Over 100 firefighters are now engaged on the Silver Creek Fire

SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Ore. - Oregon Department of Forestry aerial and ground resources are continuing their attack on the Silver Creek Fire this morning, with continuing close collaboration from the local Drakes Crossing Rural Fire Protection District and hand crews from the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.

The fire's size is estimated to be 12 acres this morning. The cause is under investigation. The fire is located in the southeast corner of Silver Falls State Park in steep, heavily timbered terrain far from roads and trails. This has made accessing the fire challenging for ground forces, who have had to clear a path to reach the fire, according to Incident Commander Brent O'Nion from ODF's Forest Grove Unit.

The fire's Incident Commander Brent O'Nion with ODF said this morning that, "Because the fire is in steep, heavily timbered terrain in a section of the park away from roads and trails, getting ground crews up to the fire has been challenging. Firefighter safety is a concern and our number one priority right now as we battle this blaze."

ODF's North Cascade District and Drakes Crossing firefighters responded to the initial report of fire Thursday night and searched until 1 a.m. trying to locate the fire but could not find any smoke column. The search resumed at daybreak Friday morning when the fire - Oregon State Parks fire closures web page.estimated at less than an acre - was finally located beneath thick timber.

Once the fire's position was known, ODF rapidly called in air resources to help slow the fire's spread.

"We had solid initial attack on the fire from the air yesterday, with response from a helicopter, single-engine airtankers and large airtankers," said O'Nion. "That gave our firefighters time to work their way toward the fire so they could begin engaging on it."

O'Nion lauded the continuing close collaboration on the fire with local firefighers and Oregon State Parks personnel.
Above: ODF Aviation Manger Neal Laugle
at a briefing discusses strategy on the Silver Creek Fire 
with ODF fire team and local cooperators.

Silver Falls State Park is a popular summer destination in Marion County. Oregon State Parks has closed to the public the Howard Creek Horse Campground within the park so it can be used as the staging area for firefighting operations. Camp Silver Creek (also known as Y Camp) about a mile from the fire's location was evacuated yesterday and remains closed.

Oregon State Parks is reporting that also closed are all back-country trails on the east side of the park, The Ranches, and 214 Trailhead. The rest of the park and events there are unaffected and remain open but visitors are cautioned to be alert to firefighting activity and traffic. For the latest on park and trail closures check  Oregon State Park's fire closures web page.
 
 


# # #

Friday, July 13, 2018

ODF responds to small fire at Silver Creek State Park

SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Ore. - Oregon Department of Forestry's North Cascade District has responded to a small fire inside Silver Falls State Park in Marion County. The Silver Creek Fire is about a quarter acre in size. First called in last night, the fire is reported to be creeping along in heavy timber. ODF has two fire engines on scene with two 10-person hand crews en route. Two single-engine airtankers have made four retardant drops on the fire.

According to Oregon State Parks, the park remains open to visitors, including its waterfall trails. Some trails in the vicinity of the fire may be temporarily closed. Check Silver Falls State Park for the most current information.


Left: Single-engine airtankers like this one were called on today to drop retardant on a small fire in Silver Falls State Park. Two of these airtankers have dropped a total of at least four loads on the fire earlier today.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

300 Oregon National Guard members wrap up firefighter training ahead of peak fire season



CAMP RILEA, Ore. - Wildland firefighter training wrapped up at this military training center on the Oregon coast today for some 300 Oregon National Guard members.

Above: ODF Protection Unit Forester Neal Bond
fires a very pistol (a type of flare gun) to start a controlled
fire at Camp Rilea, a military training center.
 Oregon National Guard members practiced hands-on firefighting
techniques at the fire to get ready for this summer.
Sixteen instructors from the Oregon Department of Forestry, Washington Department of Natural Resources, National Wildfire Suppression Association and Oregon Office of Emergency Management participated guided the Guard members through classroom and field exercises to get them ready for deployment later this summer to wildfires across the state.

Last year, more than 700 Oregon National Guard members were mobilized during the peak of fire season to help firefighters battle a number of persistent large wildfires statewide. That year, Guard members did not receive the week-long training until they were mobilized. This year, thanks to changes in how federal training funds can be used, the Guard could train before being mobilized to a wildfire.

ODF's Deputy Chief of Fire Protection Russ Lane said several hundred other Oregon Guard troops who trained last year have completed or soon will complete required refresher training. That gives the state access to the same number of Oregon National Guard member as last year.


"By training Guard members ahead of when they will be needed, we can get Guard members to a fire about five to six days sooner than in the past," said  Lane. "That can make a huge difference in freeing up our resources to respond to other large wildfires."

Holding the training earlier in the summer also frees up instructors during peak fire activity, Lane said, making them available to help their agencies manage wildfires.




Right: Oregon National Guard members
gather around their instructor
before a firefighting field exercise
at Camp Rilea on Oregon's north coast.
 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Klamathon Fire is being fought in southern Oregon wilderness area

The largest wildfire burning in Oregon at the moment is the Klamathon Fire. The fire is now estimated at 36,500 acres, of which more than 1,000 are in Oregon. Oregon Department of Forestry is in unified command of the fire with CalFire's Siskiyou Unit and the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.
The command is reporting the fire as 45% contained.

Aerial and ground attack is continuing today after good progress was made overnight, with no increase in acres burned. A major focus is preventing any further spread into Oregon. The Oregon portion of the fire is burning in the Soda Mountain Wilderness. The fire has forced closure of the Pacific Crest Trail where it passes through the wilderness. The 24,700-acre Soda Mountain Wilderness is inside the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

East of I-5 evacuation Levels 2 and 3 remain in place east. West of I-5 evacuation levels have decreased, with Level 3 evacuations now down to Level 2, and Level 2 orders lowered to Level 1.

About 2,800 firefighters are engaged on the wildfire, with 208 fire engines, 27 water tenders, 29 dozers, 18 helicoptes and 88 handcrews.

For more information about the fire, go to Cal Fire at http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents/incidentdetails/Index/2108

Sunday, July 8, 2018

ODF Fires July 8, 2018

Klamathon Fire - Southwest Oregon District
This fire started Thursday, July 5, in northern California on Klamathon Road. With dry and windy conditions, the fire quickly grew to over 8,000 acres in the first day and is currently estimated at 30,500 acres, with approx. 1,200 of those in Oregon. The fire
crossed the Oregon/California border about 5 miles east of I-5 early Saturday morning. ODF ground crews and aviation forces are heavily engaged and our agency is in unified command with CAL Fire and Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office. There are currently upwards of 2,300 personnel battling the blaze.

The fire continues to threaten the communities in northern California and Colestin, Ore. Approximately 600 homes in these areas remain threatened.

Oregon evacuation notifications in Jackson County remain in place with the following areas in Jackson County are currently at a Level 3 (red) "Go" evacuation notice:
  • Colestin Road area from the Oregon-California border to the Mount Ashland Ski Road.
  • Highway 99 from the Oregon-California border to the Mount Ashland Ski Road.
In addition, the following areas will remain at a Level 2 (yellow) "Be Set" evacuation notice:
  • Mount Ashland Ski Road from Mount Ashland down to Highway 99.
  • Old Highway 99 to just below Callahan's Lodge.
For more detailed information on the Klamathon Fire, visit: www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents
 
Memaloose State Park Fire
Located ten miles east of Hood River, Oregon, the Memaloose State Park fire was reported on Friday, July 6 with the cause still under investigation. Firefighters worked on Saturday to complete fireline and have kept the fire at 65 acres. This morning the fire is 35% contained. Firefighters from Mosier Fire Department, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area continue to assist in the suppression effort providing water tenders, fire engines and fire fighters. Today firefighters will be working to mop-up heat and flames within the fire area.
The fire threatened homes in the Rowena Dell area. Current evacuation information can be found on the Wasco County Sheriff’s facebook page:
www.facebook.com/WascoCountySheriff/.
Highway 30 re-opened late Saturday, however fire activity and suppression actions can rapidly evolve, please use www.tripcheck.com to verify road closures.
Memaloose State Park is currently closed to new campers entering the campground. This closure is in place to ensure firefighter and public safety during firefighting activities. The westbound Interstate 84 Memaloose Rest Area will remain closed until repairs can be made to the electrical system which were damaged by the fire.
The fire burned lands within Memaloose State Park, Oregon Travel Experience’s Memaloose Rest Area, and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue protection, and some lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

 
Atlantic Ave Fire
Continued mop-up and damage
assessment are underway.
First reported just after 4 p.m. Thursday, July 5, this wind-driven fire grew rapidly reaching 100 acres  Medford Fire-RescueJackson County Fire District #5 IAFF Local 2596Illinois Valley Fire DistrictApplegate Valley Fire District, and Lake Creek Rural. By 8:30 p.m., a majority of the fire’s spread was stopped. 
within an hour of ignition. In addition to ODF Southwest and Fire District 3 engines, one of our Rogue Valley Structural Strike Teams was activated bringing additional assistance from
Firefighters worked overnight to complete the perimeter fire line and begin mop-up operations, keeping the fire at 115 acres burned. 
Firefighters conducted a damage assessment with damages including multiple vehicles including two RVs, one bus, and six boats; four outbuildings; and one vacant residential structure have been deemed a total loss. No public, firefighter, or animal/pet injuries reported. Crews will continue working with the community in the upcoming days to assess any further damage on personal properties.
After a thorough investigation by Fire District 3ODF Southwest Oregon District, and Jackson County Sheriff's Office - Oregon, fireworks were found to be the cause of the fire. Deputies will refer the case to the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office for adjudication. 
We are continuously thankful for our partnerships with our city, county, private and state agencies throughout our region, not to mention the countless community members willing to help their neighbors. Yesterday’s conditions were ripe for a wildfire that could have spread to even greater lengths. Due to the speedy and superb partnership, this fire was deemed “controlled” by nightfall.
 
 
Lobster Creek Fire
The Lobster Creek Fire burned hot in a clear cut below
the road and scorched the stand of trees above
ODF Incident Management Team 3 handed the fire back to the Coos Forest Protective Association today. After four days with no additional growth and well-established control lines,  ODF Incident Management Team 3 handed the fire back to the Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA). Fire managers are confident it poses no additional threat to life or property. with containment estimated at 75 percent.
CFPA will manage the fire with a smaller (Type 3) organization based at the Curry County Fairgrounds. Suppression strategies include additional mop up, regular engine patrols and rehabilitation efforts. The Curry County Fair will take place at the Fairgrounds as planned July 25-28.
The Lobster Creek Fire was a fast-moving wildfire driven by strong winds. It burned valuable productive timberlands protected by the Coos Forest Protective Association. Responsive efforts by state and local wildland forces kept the fire’s size under 400 acres.  
 
 

Friday, July 6, 2018

ODF Fire Update: July 6, 2018


Oregon's 2018 Fire Season well underway

With fire on the landscape and dry conditions in the forecast, the 2018 fire season is well underway. ODF is seeing continued success with initial attack on new fires, keeping the majority of new starts under 10 acres and preventing further loss.
All ODF districts and protective associations are officially in fire season, with regulated use effective in the majority of these districts. Due to variations in terrain and conditions, restrictions differ by district, with sky lanterns prohibited year-round in Oregon. For more information on restrictions or closures in a specific area, visit ODF's website. 

The Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service for much of central and south-central Oregon remains in effect through 9 p.m. this evening. 

Fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties remains at high (yellow).




Recent ODF wildfires

Atlantic Ave Fire - Southwest Oregon District
Ignition Date: July 5
Acres burned: 115
Status: 100% lined, in mop-up
Location: White City, OR
Structures lost: 5
Cause: Human caused


Lobster Creek Fire - Coos Forest Protective Association
Delegated authority: ODF Incident
Management Team 3
Ignition date: July 1
Acres burned: approximately 397
Personnel: 275
Status: 100% lined, 55% containment, in mop-up
Location: 12 miles northeast of Gold Beach, OR in Curry County
Cause: Under investigation

Bryant Fire - Klamath Lake District
Ignition date: July 4
Acres burned: 32
Status: 100% contained, in mop-up
Location: 5 miles south of Bonanza , OR
Cause: Under investigation

Thursday, July 5, 2018


Fire season in full swing across Oregon


All ODF districts and protective associations are officially in fire season with regulated use effective in the majority of these districts. For more information on restrictions or closures in a specific area, visit ODF's website. Sky lanterns are prohibited year-round in Oregon. 


With fire on the landscape and dry conditions in the forecast, the 2018 fire season is well underway. The National Weather Service has issued Red Flag Warnings from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. today for much of central and south-central Oregon.
 
ODF crews are currently managing three fires burning 10 acres or more:
 
Recent ODF wildfires

Lobster Creek Fire - Coos Forest Protective Association
Firefighters work to eliminate hot spots on the
Lobster Creek Fire.
 

Delegated authority: ODF Incident Management Team 3
Ignition date: July 1
Acres burned: approximately 446
Personnel: 700
Status: 100% lined, in mop-up
Location: 12 miles northeast of Gold Beach, OR in Curry County
Cause: Under investigation

 Bryant Fire - Klammath Lake District
Ignition date: July 4
Acres burned: 32
Status: 100% contained, in mop-up
Location: 5 miles south of Bonanza , OR
Cause: Under investigation
 
Pilot Butte
Ignition date: July 4
Acres burned: 10
Status: mop-up
Location: near Bend, OR
Cause:  Under investigation
For photos and more information on Oregon wildfires and wildfire readiness, visit ODF's wildfire blog at http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/.
 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lobster Creek Fire Update: July 4, 2018

Gold Beach, OR -- Firefighters on the Lobster Creek Fire and fires across the nation wish everyone a happy 4th of July. On this anniversary of independence, firefighters are encouraging everyone to act responsibly with fireworks and other spark emitting activities that could to lead to another devastating wildland fire. Wildland firefighters cherish our country’s beauty and work hard every day to preserve it. Their message is simple, “only you can prevent wildfires”.
Firefighters on Lobster Creek Fire are working 
to eliminate hot spots like this burning stump.
Acres burned on the Lobster Creek Fire remain unchanged at 446. Containment has reached 15 percent. Personnel on the fire has grown to over 700, which typically means that the fire is growing. In this fire’s case, with much of the fire season still remaining, reinforcements were brought in to eliminate any chance of the fire rekindling and escaping in the future. Crews are transitioning from building containment lines to mop-up operations. The objective will be to seek out and destroy any hot spots near containment lines that pose a risk of escape. Sawyers will also fall hazard trees (snags) that could potentially fall across containment lines and start new fires. In addition, several “islands” of unburned vegetation still remain within the perimeter of the fire’s footprint. So again, with much of the fire season remaining, fire crews will construct additional control lines around these islands to prevent any future escape.

The Lobster Creek Fire started Sunday afternoon within a Curry County park and subsequently spread to private industrial timberlands. It quickly grew to an estimated 446 acres by Monday morning and required the support of an Incident Management Team from the Oregon Department of Forestry.
  
More information:

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Firefighters making progress on the Lobster Creek Fire in southwest Oregon

Above: Firefighters tackle the Lobster Creek Fire 12 miles
northeast of Gold Beach in Curry County.

GOLD BEACH, Ore. - Firefighters gained considerable ground overnight on the Lobster Creek Fire 12 miles northeast of Gold Beach. The wind-driven fire started Sunday afternoon on private industrial timberlands and quickly grew to an estimated 450 acres by Monday morning. Since that time, fire crews have nearly completed hand and bulldozer lines around the fire’s perimeter. Current containment stands at 10 percent.

 
Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team (IMT), led by Incident Commander Link Smith, arrived Monday afternoon to relieve Coos Forest Protective Association crews and allow them to return to initial attack responsibilities on the district.
 
The IMT, comprised of 33 fire managers and support personnel, quickly assessed the needs and began ordering additional resources. About 450 firefighters will be working round the clock, split between a day and night shift. Ground forces are being supported with 6 helicopters, 3 retardant-dropping Single Engine Airtankers (SEATs), 3 bulldozers, 5 engines and 5 water tenders.
 

The Lobster Creek Fire has been determined to be human caused (not lightning), but remains under investigation. The fire is a good reminder that conditions are prime for ignition and fire spread. Fire managers are encouraging everyone to be cautious with fireworks this 4th of July as well as any other spark-emitting activity. Fireworks are currently prohibited in most areas. Other public fire restrictions in place include keeping campfires in approved campgrounds and vehicles on improved roads. The mowing of dried, cured grass, cutting and welding, and the use of power saws are also restricted. Check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry or forest protective association office for fire regulations in your area or where you may be traveling.

Monday, July 2, 2018

ODF deploys IMT 3 to help with Lobster Creek Fire in Curry County


About 150 firefighters are battling the Lobster Creek Fire today 10 miles east of Gold Beach in the Coos Forest Protective Association. Firefighters are working with  fire engines, hand crews, dozers and aircraft.

The fire was reported Sunday evening, July 1. Pushed by strong winds, it spread to the south and is estimated to be 446 acres. The fire is estimated as 60% lined and 10% contained. 

Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Incident Management Team 3 has been mobilized to take over management of the fire today at 6 p.m. This is the second IMT deployment in as many weeks. IMT 2 demobilized just last week from the Graham Fire in Central Oregon District.

The fire is burning in private industrial timberlands in the Lobster Creek and Fall Creek drainages. No homes or structures are threatened at this time.

For information on closures and fire prevention you can find Coos Forest Protective Association on the web at www.coosfpa.net, call the Closure Line at (541) 267-1789, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Last Oregon Department of Forestry district goes into fire season June 28 in NE Oregon


LA GRANDE, Ore — With the start of fire season Thursday, June 28 in the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northeast Oregon District, all lands protected by the state agency will be in a declared fire season.

Forecasted higher temperatures and drier conditions prompted ODF fire managers in the Northeast Oregon District to declare fire season for forest and range lands protected by ODF in Baker, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa counties along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow, and Grant counties.
 
Above: When fire season starts June 28 in northeast Oregon,
all lands statewide protected by ODF districts and
fire protection associations will be in fire season.

“Long range forecasts indicate high to extreme fire danger beginning in July and extending through September across the district,” Justin Lauer, Pendleton Wildland Fire Supervisor said. “The light fuels in the lower elevations will cure out quickly and carry fire readily.”

The fire season declaration places fire prevention restrictions on landowners and the public. Additionally, fire prevention regulations on industrial logging and forest management activities are put into place. Lands affected include private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District. This area encompasses approximately 2 million protected acres. The public are urged to use caution in areas of dry, cured vegetation.

Lauer stated, “It’s easy to be complacent when we’ve had a few days of storms, but fuel conditions and weather will change rapidly. We need everyone to use caution, check regulations before they head out and keep an eye out for fires while they’re out and about.”

During fire season in northeast Oregon:

• Burn permits for burn barrels and all open burning except camp fires are required on all private forest and range lands within the Northeast Forest Protection District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). Contact your local ODF office in La Grande, Baker City, Wallowa, or Pendleton to acquire a burn permit.

• Landowners who conducted burning of slash piles last fall and this spring are encouraged to check the piles to ensure they are completely out and all heat is gone. It is not uncommon for recently burned slash piles to retain heat in them for several months after the actual burning of the piles.

• Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF. Contact your local Stewardship Forester at any ODF office for more information.

• Campfires must be dead out! Recreationists are reminded that campfires need to be attended and fully extinguished before being left. Get permission from the landowner prior to starting a campfire.

For further information on fire restrictions and closures, go to this ODF web page at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx or contact the nearest ODF office.

To report a fire, dial 9-1-1.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Graham Fire in mop up


Above: Firefighters are completing control lines
and mopping up on the Graham Fire northeast of Sisters.
Over 300 personnel have been engaged on the fire,
which was stopped at 2,175 acres.
 
SISTERS, Ore. - After three days with no additional perimeter growth and well-established control lines, the ODF Incident Management Team 2 will be handing management of the Graham Fire in Jeffeson County back to Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District Wednesday morning, June 27. Control lines around the fire’s perimeter have been mopped up to at least 50 feet. However, local residents may still expect to see occasional smoke from pockets of unburnt fuel smoldering in the fire’s interior. If residents see flames or spot fires they are advised to call 911.

Resources on the fire today include: 10 hand crews, 2 helicopters, 17 engines, 1 dozer, 3 water tenders and 338 personnel. Containment is estimated at 85 percent
 
ODF’s Central Oregon District will continue the use of additional engines and fire crews to achieve 100-percent containment. The district strategies will include daily engine patrols and mop up operations.

The Graham Fire was a hot, fast-moving wildfire driven by strong winds, dry conditions and light flashy fuels that burned in the wildland urban interface in and around the community of Three Rivers. The firestorm torched trees and produced 100-foot flame lengths. Thanks to the responsive efforts of local wildland and structural suppression forces, as well as prior defensible space created by local residents, the fire was held to 2,175 acres.

Team 2 fire managers leave behind an excellent safety record. More than 300 personnel were assigned to the incident and no injuries were reported.
 
ODF’s Central Oregon District will continue to provide occasional updates on the fire status.
 




 

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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

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.

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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.