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 31, 2018

Oregon's governor declares a drought emergency for Lake County


(SALEM, Ore.) — Gov. Kate Brown announced on May 31 a drought emergency for Lake County due to low snowpack and precipitation, low streamflows, and warming temperatures as Oregon braces for the upcoming wildfire season.

Above: Four eastern Oregon counties are now
in official drought emergencies. Dry conditions
allow fire to spread more easily.
"Forecasts are predicting severe drought and wildfire conditions for much of Oregon," Gov. Brown said. "The conditions in Lake County are already concerning, and I'm directing state agencies to prioritize assistance in the area to help minimize the impacts drought conditions could have on the local economy."

Forecasted water conditions are not expected to improve. The drought is likely to increase fire risk and have significant impacts on agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and the local economy. Lake County officials requested the state to take action on March 21, and the Oregon Drought Council considered the county's' requests by weighing current water conditions, future climatic forecasts, and agricultural impacts.

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 that users would not otherwise have access.

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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.