Current situation

Summer arrives this week, with maximum daylight hours. Having longer hours of sunshine allows more time for fuels to dry out with less overnight recovery of humidity.

ODF's Western Lane and South Cascade districts have announced both will enter fire season on Thursday, June 21. The districts protect lands in Lane and Linn counties and a portion of northwest Douglas County. Six other ODF districts and forest protective associations are already in fire season - Walker-Range Forest Protective Association, Coos FPA, Douglas FPA and the Southwest Oregon, Central Oregon and Klamath-Lake ODF districts.

Fire restrictions associated with fire season can be found on the ODF Restrictions and Closures page at this link http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx




Thursday, May 24, 2018

Drought emergencies now exist in Grant, Harney and Klamath counties

Gov. Kate Brown announced May 24 a drought emergency for Harney County, citing low snowpack and precipitation, low streamflows, and warming temperatures as Oregon braces for the upcoming wildfire season. The county joins Grant and Klamath counties in being in a drought emergency.

Harney County officials requested the state take action. The Oregon Drought Council considered the county's requests by weighing current water conditions, future climatic forecasts, and agricultural impacts.

“Oregon has already experienced hotter and dryer than usual conditions, and drought conditions in Harney County are expected to worsen in the months ahead,” Governor Brown said. “To minimize the impacts of drought on the local economy and community, I'm directing state agencies to work with local and federal partners to provide assistance to Harney County.”

Forecasted water conditions are not expected to improve. In addition to increasing wildfire risk, drought is likely to have significant impacts on agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and the local economy.

The Governor's drought declaration allows increased flexibility in how water is managed to ensure that limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible. Oregon’s state agencies will continue to work with local governments and other partners to coordinate efforts and mobilize actions to address drought-related issues. The Governor’s drought declaration authorizes state agencies to expedite water management tools to which users would not otherwise have access.

As state and local officials coordinate with federal partners, conditions will be closely monitored by the state’s natural resource and public safety agencies, including the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

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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

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.

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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.