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, October 30, 2018

2018 Fire season officially over, fire prevention continues

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), which protects roughly 16 million acres of private, state and federal lands, officially declared the end of fire season statewide yesterday, Oct. 29.

For ODF, fire season is declared and terminated at the district level, based on local fire danger conditions. Of the Department’s 12 districts across the state, Central Oregon and Southwest Oregon Districts saw drier, warmer conditions early on, officially kicking off the season June 1. Over the course of the 2018 fire season, ODF and its forest protective association partners suppressed a total of 1,059 fires. An estimated 75,531 acres burned on ODF-protected land this year, more than doubling the 10-year average.

Oregon’s complete and coordinated wildfire protection system — consisting of ODF, landowner partners, agency cooperators, and the fire contracting community — was successful under extremely challenging conditions this year. In spite of statewide drought conditions, ODF and partners again succeeded in keeping 95% of all wildfires to less than 10 acres with aggressive and successful initial attacks.

From mid-June through much of September, a combination of historically high temperatures and near-record low precipitation levels and fuel moistures resulted in a significant fire activity increase across the state, in spite of an above-average snowpack and precipitation the previous winter. Dry lightning storms were a contributing factor.

More than 2,800 lightning strikes in mid-July ignited hundreds of starts, at least seven of which became large fires in southwest Oregon. Another lightning event in August with 2,335 strikes ignited hundreds of starts in central and eastern Oregon. Of these hundreds of starts, the majority were caught and contained in initial attack, with only eight large fires established in central Oregon.

“With numerous large fires and limited resources across the nation, the 2018 fire season brought real challenges,” said ODF Interim Deputy Chief for Fire Operations, Russ Lane. “For ODF, we also saw a number of successes. Thanks to aggressive and safe firefighting, we were able to keep several potentially large fires small in scale while keeping firefighter injuries to a minimum. We are grateful for our partnerships and their invaluable roles within Oregon’s complete and coordinated fire protection system, including forest landowners, rural fire districts, and federal and state partners.”

Nationally, as well as in Oregon and Washington, we were at Preparedness Level 5 (the highest level) for 32 days, 8 days shorter than the record-holding 2017 fire season, Increased wildland fire activity on the national level required major commitment of limited resources, adding complexity to an already dynamic fire season.

With the transition out of fire season, ODF districts across the state are shifting their attention to wildfire prevention efforts. Working with partners, landowners and members of the public, the shared objective is to minimize potential fuels for the coming fire season, mitigating risk while remaining vigilant with any activity associated with fire.

“Fire prevention remains our top priority,” Lane said. “Human-caused fires — especially debris burning and illegal, abandoned campfires — continue to raise concern, and we are focusing outreach and messaging efforts there alongside our partner Keep Oregon Green. Combined with fuel reduction and mitigation, we are constantly looking for new ways to raise awareness and support Oregonians in our shared objective to reduce wildfire and keep Oregon green.”

Monday, October 29, 2018

ODF sends incident management team to support Hurricane Michael response efforts

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), working with Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), is filling a request from the Florida Division of Emergency Management for an All-Hazards Incident Management Team (IMT) to support the response to Hurricane Michael. 

The request is coordinated through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) agreement. The EMAC offers assistance among states and territories during any governor-declared state of emergency through a responsive system, providing a mutual aid structure. This allows states to send personnel, equipment, and supplies to assist with response and relief efforts in other states.

While ODF utilizes the EMAC most often during fire season, agency Incident Management Teams maintain All-Hazard qualifications to ensure capacity for potential disaster relief needs. ODF’s complete and coordinated fire suppression system relies on strong partnerships with other agencies, states and even countries, offering reciprocal assistance in times of need.

With an estimated 23,000 residents still without power in wake of this catastrophic storm, the ODF IMT, led by Incident Commander Chris Cline, is eager to bring some added capacity to their counterparts in Florida.
The IMT departing to Florida on Monday.


“Our strong partnerships with fellow agencies and states have proven invaluable to our success in wildfire suppression,” Cline said. “Just a few months ago we had an IMT from Florida standing side-by-side with our folks battling wildfire here in Oregon. Knowing the bases are covered on the home front with fire season winding down, our team is ready and willing to get to work. We’re truly grateful for the opportunity to return the favor.”

Arriving in Tallahassee, Fla. Monday afternoon, the team will be working out of a base camp in Panama City, in the epicenter of the devastation zone. The ODF IMT anticipates a full deployment of 14 days.  

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Oregonians return home from Florida inspired and humbled

Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) IMT’s returned home from Florida yesterday, Oct. 27 after a 14-day assignment. Their mission was in Bay County in the Florida Panhandle, where they integrated with IMTs from Mississippi and Florida. The unified IMT provided leadership to the county for emergency management response by deploying resources for search and rescue. The team then shifted into recovery mode by helping residents obtain transitional housing and getting kids back into schools.
OSFM and ODF team in Bay County, Florida
supporting the cleanup efforts for Hurricane Michael.

Incident Commander Ted Kunze said, “OSFM and ODF working in unified command along with the IMTs from other states optimized our resources and created a robust IMT, which allowed us to get started quickly and efficiently on our search and rescue mission. I feel we all represented Oregon very well.”

The team spent time in Mexico Beach, where the eye made landfall. Tens of thousands of tarps have been distributed in Bay County. They were in total awe of the spirit of the people here and the outpouring of volunteers throughout the county from all over the country. A funeral was held Wednesday for the Bay County firefighter killed last week. The Oregon IMT is donating $1,000 to the family. 


In Mexico Beach, Florida, tarps distributed cover roofs.
Although the recovery efforts posed some challenges, the team describes their mission as very inspiring and humbling. They are very proud of the work done by both of our teams in helping Floridians put the pieces back together again.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Fire update for Oct. 26, 2018

Fire season still in effect
  • Douglas FPA (will terminate Sunday, October 28)
  • Southwest Oregon
Fire season no longer in effect
  • Northwest Oregon (Astoria, Tillamook, Forest Grove): Oct. 5
  • Northeast Oregon: Oct. 12
  • Central Oregon: Oct. 12
  • Walker Range FPA: Oct. 12
  • Klamath Lake: Oct. 12
  • West Oregon: Oct. 26
  • North Cascade: Oct. 26
  • South Cascade: Oct. 26
  • Western Lane: Oct. 26
  • Coos FPA: Oct. 26
New Fires

Pile Fire (1012 Fire)
Location: Northeast Oregon/Wallowa, north of Troy
The Pile Fire, previously known as the 1210 Fire,
burned 27 acres last weekend.
 
Acres burned: 27 acres
Containment: 100%
Ignition: Oct. 19, 2018
Cause: Under investigation

Pile Fire burned 27 acres was creeping and smoldering in timber and grass. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff also responded to the incident and were assisting with suppression. This is a stark reminder of fuel conditions across the district. Remember to continue to be cautious with fire as fuel conditions can change rapidly this time of year. 

Ongoing Fires

Klondike Fire West
Location: 9 miles northwest of Selma
Ignition: July 15, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Acres burned: 174,446 acres
Personnel: 512
Containment: 75%
More information:

Klondike Fire West had minimal fire activity again yesterday. All the spot fires are contained and in patrol status. Fire spread is expected to be minimal over the weekend. Level 2 (Be set) evacuations orders are in effect.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Fire update for Oct. 19, 2018


New Fires
Holland Mainline Fire, southeast of Cave Junction, is estimated to be 73% contained.
A big thank you to Rural Metro Fire - Josephine County and
 
Illinois Valley Fire District for partnering with us on fighting this fire.


Stukel Fire
Location: 11 miles SE of Klamath Falls
Acres burned: 518 acres
Cause: Human

Holland Mainline Fire
Location: Southwest Oregon District
Acres burned: 77 acres
Cause: Under investigation

Pierce Road Fire
Location: North Cascade District
Acres burned: 12 acres
Cause: Under investigation

Ongoing Fires

Klondike Fire West has burned 37 acres into private land with minimal growth overnight. ODF, through Coos Forest Protective Association, has been engaged since July. Over the last weekend, ODF added additional resources to support both day and night firefighting efforts. Crews continue to battle numerous spot fires caused by east winds. Evacuation orders are in effect.

Klondike Fire West
Location: 9 miles northwest of Selma
Ignition: July 15, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Acres burned: 173,359 acres
Personnel: 614
Containment: 72%
More information:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

ODF urges extra caution with debris burning

Over the past few weeks, ODF along with many of our partner agencies, have responded to dozens of escaped debris burns across the state. As the calendar turns toward fall, Oregonians are anxious to get outside and clean up the forest and yard debris accumulated over the summer.

ODF engines respond to a 10+ acre fire caused by
an escaped debris burn outside of Molalla.

With the increase in temperatures, dry fuels, and unpredictable wind and weather conditions, many of these burns have escaped and resulted in acres and structures lost. With multiple agencies responding, costs accumulate quickly and often fall to the landowner or individual found to be responsible for the fire.   

These fires are completely preventable and ODF is here to help. For those looking to burn their debris piles, ODF local offices are a phone call away. Another option is the interactive ODF Fire Restrictions Map where users simply click on their location to receive current local fire restrictions.   

Please check your local restrictions before you burn - these fires are preventable!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

 Klondike Fire Update

      The Klondike Fire, currently estimated at over 172,000 acres, has been burning since July 15th, primarily on federal lands.  With the dry east winds and warm temperatures over the weekend, containment lines east of Agness were breached and the fire made a 5 mile run towards Agness. This breach burned over 2,000 acres Sunday and moved within 2 miles of Agness.
      Governor Brown invoked a conflagration and the Oregon State Fire Marshal Team (Yocum) integrated in Unified Command with the existing Incident Management Team on scene (Knerr).  Five taskforces of structure engines are on scene and evacuations are in place for residence around Agness. 
      ODF, through Coos Forest Protective Association, has been engaged since July.  Over the weekend, ODF added additional resources to support both day and night firefighting efforts.  Crews continue to battle numerous spot fires caused by east winds. No structures have been lost or damaged at this time. Evacuation orders are in effect.

Infrared map for the #KlondikeFire shows the area of high intensity growth to the west with a few additional spot fires. Fire crews and bulldozers were able to construct fireline around many of these spot fires and fire behavior was moderated Mon/Tues by the inversion.
Monday, October 15, 2018

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal and Oregon Department of Forestry, through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), sent a second All-Hazards Incident Management Team (IMTs) to support relief efforts and response to Hurricane Michael. 

The OSFM IMT, led by Chief Ted Kunze, includes staff from the Oregon Department of Forestry who are qualified within the Incident Command Structure. 
“We value our working relationships and partnerships with fellow states agencies,” said Oregon Department of Forestry's Interim Operations Manager, Blake Ellis. “Florida has been there for us in our time of need, sending a full IMT to our aid during this year’s challenging fire season, and Oregon is fortunate to have the opportunity to return the favor.”
The team anticipates a full deployment of 14 days, returning late October.

 





Friday, October 5, 2018

Restrictions lowered, but fire season is still active

Northwest Oregon Protection Association (Astoria, Tillamook, Forest Grove) ended fire season today.

Fire danger has dropped from high to moderate in Central Oregon District and Walker Range. 

Rain will move across much of the region today diminishing over the weekend. Temperatures will remain below average. Winds will vary across the region as weather systems arrive and depart.

The potential for large fire initiation over the region is minimal due to the wet and cool weather on today and lingering through the weekend.

New Fires

Wilkins Fire
On Monday the Northeast Oregon District battled a 19.5 acre fire two miles west of Ukiah. The Wilkins Fire burned through grass and timber. The fire was aggressively initial attacked and is 100% dozer lined. Resources stayed on scene overnight and through Tuesday. The cause is under investigation.

Ongoing Fires

Klondike Fire West
Location: 9 miles northwest of Selma
Ignition: July 15, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Acres burned: 167,309 acres
Personnel: 525
Containment: 72%
More information:

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 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.

Followers

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.