2015 another severe fire season

By mid-September 2016, ODF's net expenditures on large wildfires stood at $12.1 million. The lack of dry lightning played a significant role in the moderate firefighting costs this season. In 2015, large-fire costs totaled $29.6 million.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Prescribed burns start soon in Douglas County

Contact: Kyle Reed                                                                        
541-672-6507 x 136, kyle.reed@oregon.gov

Smoke will soon be seen throughout Douglas County as the Douglas Forest Protective Association works with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to complete prescribed burns throughout the Umpqua Valley. Prescribed burns may be conducted on fields, pastures and hillsides to promote productive grazing lands for livestock and to improve habitat for wildlife. The main objective of the prescribed burns is to remove noxious weeds, brush, insects and plant disease from the proposed burn sites. Permits for backyard debris burning, including both debris piles and burn barrels, will not be issued at this time.

Historically, DFPA and local landowner’s have completed about 10,000 acres of prescribed burns annually throughout Douglas County to improve habitat and pasture lands. Prescribed burns are also beneficial to firefighters by reducing the buildup of brush and other flammable vegetation throughout the area. Fire officials note that many wildfires have been suppressed in open grass fields and hillsides where prescribed burning has taken place periodically over the years.

Prescribed burns are made safe by the construction of fire trails around the proposed burn site before fire is introduced onto the landscape. In addition, landowners must be able to show that they have the ability and resources in the form of fire suppression equipment and personnel on site to maintain control of the prescribed burn. Once fire trails are approved by DFPA and weather conditions are favorable, a permit may be issued to complete the prescribed burn.

Fire officials say that the effects from the prescribed burns on populated areas will be minimized by allowing the burns to take place only when both fire conditions and weather patterns are favorable to keep smoke out of large populated areas. 

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Regulated-Use lifted in NE Oregon District but fire season still in effect

September 22, 2016

Contact: Jamie Knight, 541-786-2039
 
 On September 23, the Oregon Department of Forestry will terminate the Regulated-Use Closure for forestlands protected by the Northeast Oregon District. Due to the change in weather, the closure and the associated fire prevention restrictions are no longer necessary. Campfires are now allowed with landowner permission.

Joseph Goebel, Wallowa Wildland Fire Supervisor, cautions, "While we are trending towards cooler fall weather, the conditions can change rapidly. Parts of the region have gotten some moisture and while that has helped, there is still a danger of fire spreading. Make sure you’re cautious with campfires and debris burning and ensure they are dead out before leaving them unattended."

While fire restrictions have eased, Fire Season remains in effect for private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands protected by ODF. Burn permits are required for all open fires (except campfires), debris burns and burn barrels. ODF will still need to issue a burn permit for any open burns or burn barrels within the protection district until weather conditions warrant an end to fire season.

The Northeast Oregon District includes lands in the following counties: Union, Baker, Umatilla, Wallowa and small portions of Grant, Morrow and Malheur counties.

To obtain a burn permit from ODF, call the local ODF office:
  • La Grande Unit 541-963-3168
  • Baker City Sub-Unit 541-523-5831
  • Wallowa Unit 541-886-2881
  • Pendleton Unit 541-276-3491

Fire restrictions may differ on lands protected by rural fire departments or lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. Check local regulations before burning. More information on fire restrictions can be found on the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center website, www.bmidc.org.

To report a fire, call the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center at 541-963-7171, or dial 9-1-1.

http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/ is the spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fire danger level drops to high tomorrow in SW Oregon

Oregon Department of Forestry
Southwest Oregon District

Contact: Melissa Cano, 541-613-6313 or 541-664-3328

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity across southwestern Oregon have made it possible to ease off some of the fire prevention regulations. However, warm and dry weather is expected to return to the region by the weekend.

The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties will be lowered to "high" (yellow) tomorrow, September 22, 2016, at 12 a.m. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will remain at 2.

These regulations affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

Restrictions on the public use of chainsaws, brush cutters and other power-driven or spark-emitting machinery are being slightly relaxed, allowing the use of equipment until 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. Today will be the last day power-driven and/or spark-emitting machinery is completely prohibited.

Other fire prevention regulations that will remain in effect include:

· No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels

· No fireworks use on forestlands

· Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited

· Sky lanterns may not be used in wildland and forestland areas

· Campfires allowed only in designated campgrounds. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used in other locations

· Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads

· Chainsaws may be used until 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. Chainsaw users must have an ax, a shovel and an 8-oz. or larger fire extinguisher at the job site, and a fire watch is required for one hour after the saw is shut down

· Mowing of dead or dry grass with power-driven equipment is allowed until 10 a.m., and may resume after 8 p.m. This restriction does not apply to mowing green lawns, or to equipment used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops

· The cutting, grinding or welding of metal is allowed until 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. These activities may only take place at a site cleared of potentially flammable vegetation and other materials, and with a water supply at the job site

· Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine not specifically mentioned is permitted during high fire danger before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. as long as it is used in a cleared area and has a charged garden hose or one 2-½ lb. or larger fire extinguisher immediately available

· Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, and other designated locations

· Electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s public regulated use regulations, or Industrial Fire Precaution Levels, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:

· Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328

· Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152

Fire season information is also available online at www.swofire.com.

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Fire danger reducing and restrictions lifted in SC Oregon

September 20, 2016
Media Contact: Tamara Schmidt
541-947-6243

LAKEVIEW, Ore. – As of this morning, the fire danger had been reduced from extreme to high, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level was reduced to 2 on lands under the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership and Public Use Restrictions were lifted in several areas.
The IFPL affects lands administered by the Fremont-Winema National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management Lakeview District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Sheldon-Hart Mountain and Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complexes. The Public Use Restrictions are also lifted on these public lands.
The only Lakeview District BLM lands not included in this are those within the Klamath Falls Resource Area west of Langell Valley. This area is under the protection of the Oregon Department of Forestry, which remains under regulated use. For information on specific restrictions in areas under ODF’s fire protection, please visit http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

Crater Lake National Park remains under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, prohibiting campfires in the backcountry and restricting campfires and smoking to designated areas. For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/crla and select “Alerts.”

Personal and commercial woodcutters are allowed to resume operations in accordance with their permit and current IFPL levels. Woodcutters are reminded of their responsibility to stay informed of current IFPLs and all restrictions that apply to activities conducted on public lands. Failure to comply with the fire precautionary requirements may result in a violation notice.

“While the Public Use Restrictions are lifted and the fire danger is decreasing, conditions are still dry,” said Interagency Fire Staff Officer Barry Shullanberger.  “As people go out to enjoy their public lands – whether it’s cutting firewood, hunting, camping or just enjoying the warm weather – we ask that they be careful with anything that can throw a spark and to make sure campfires are completely out and cold to the touch before leaving.”

Visitors should also be aware of their surroundings and prepared for changing weather conditions as the seasons change. This includes reporting visible smoke that could be from a wildfire.

For more information on SCOFMP, please visit www.scofmp.org, on Twitter @scofmpfireinfo or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/scofmpfireinfo.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fire danger lowered to HIGH in Klamath-Lake District

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Contact: Randall Baley
541-883-5681


Klamath Falls - The Oregon Department of Forestry has decreased the fire danger level from Extreme to High in the Klamath-Lake District, effective Sept. 20. However, the district remains in fire season, which means the regulations restricting debris burning and timber harvest operations remain in effect.

“With the forecasted weather for the upcoming weekend and week, we will stay in Closed Fire Season and Public Regulated Use Closure restrictions. The public has done an awesome job this season being considerate of the landowners that have allowed the usage of their properties and by following the regulations that were in effect,” said Randall Baley, Unit Forester.

The best protection measures are always preventative measures. Residents and visitors to Klamath and Lake Counties have been very responsible in their use of Fire Safe Practices, he said. 
 
"Let's continue to not let our guard down. Be sure to follow any restrictions put in place and other general fire prevention measures to decrease the chance of or the spread of a wildfire."

Friday, September 16, 2016

Highway 138 West Fire update Thursday evening

Contact: 
Kyle Reed
Douglas Forest Protective Association
541-672-6507 x 136              
Mobile 541-817-7186             
kyle.reed@oregon.gov  

Fire crews working on the Highway 138 West Fire in Douglas County made good progress Thursday in their efforts to fully extinguish the blaze. In total, 98 firefighters, four fire engines, two water tenders, a bulldozer and an excavator worked together to extinguish the burned vegetation that is still smoldering inside the fire area. Crews spent a significant amount of time in the northern portion of the fire where the heaviest concentrations of smoke and heat remain.

On Thursday evening 46 firefighters were aided by two fire engines and a water tender as night-shift crews continued to mop up hot spots inside the fire perimeter. In addition, two handheld infrared cameras were employed around the fire to help firefighters locate smoldering material burning below the surface. 

Safety for the public and firefighters remains the No. 1 priority on the Highway 138 West Fire. Residents driving through the fire area are asked to watch for fire personnel and equipment working near or entering the highway.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Highway 138 West Fire Update

Fire crews working on the Highway 138 West Fire made good progress today in their efforts to fully extinguish the blaze.  In total, 98 firefighters, four engines, two tenders, a bull dozer and an excavator worked together to extinguish the burned vegetation that is still smoldering inside the fire area.  Crews spent a significant amount of time in the northern portion of the fire where the heaviest concentrations of smoke and heat remain.

Tonight, 46 firefighters will be aided by two engines and a water tender as nightshift crews continue to mop up hot spots inside the fire.  In addition, two handheld infrared cameras will be used around the fire to help firefighters locate smoldering material burning below the surface. 


Safety for the public and firefighters remains the number one priority on the Highway 138 West Fire.  Residents driving through the fire are asked to watch for fire personnel and equipment working near or entering the highway.

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

The weather conditions setting up for this summer are ominous: continuing drought, meager winter snowpack, and above-average temperatures forecast through August.

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. There are about 30.4 million total 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. Suppression of large fires can run into millions of dollars.

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About Me

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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.