Current situation

Heat returns to much of the state early this week, with air quality alerts from wildfire smoke for northwest Oregon and Josephine, Jackson, Klamath and Lake counties. Lightning sparked a number of wildfires over the weekend, with a chance for more through Monday in eastern Oregon.


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, 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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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.

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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.