Current situation

Check with your local district or forest protection association for restrictions or use ODF's fire restrictions and closures webpage for the latest details at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Governor declares two more Oregon counties to be in drought


SALEM, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown announced on June 18 a drought emergency for Baker and Douglas counties due to low snowpack and precipitation, low streamflows and warming temperatures. The declaration comes in the last week of spring as Oregon braces for summer wildfires.
 
Above: Spring flowers belie the fact that drought has
officially been declared in Klamath County
along with four others in eastern Oregon and
Douglas County in southern Oregon.  
Drought conditions have been intensifying in eastern Oregon, with drought emergencies already declared in Grant, Harney, Klamath and Lake counties. Douglas County is the first county west of the Cascades to receive a drought declaration.

“All signs point to another record-breaking drought and wildfire season for Oregon,” Gov. Brown said. “That means we must continue our urgent work to build communities that are ready for the challenges of climate change. I have directed state agencies stand ready to help and work with local communities to provide assistance."

 
Forecasted water conditions are not expected to improve, and drought is likely to have significant impacts on agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and the local economies. Baker and Douglas County officials requested the state to take action, and the Oregon Drought Council considered the counties' 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 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 predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. 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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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.