2015 another severe fire season

In 2015, more than 631,000 acres burned on all forestland jurisdictions in Oregon. Firefighting costs totaled $240.5 million.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fire update - 08-20-16

The weather service issued a red flag warning effective through today. 

Fires on ODF-Protected Lands
 
Withers Fire
The 3,424-acre Withers Fire one mile north of Paisley is 56 percent contained. This human-caused fire is under investigation. Evacuation notices in effect. For more information click here.

Fires on Other Jurisdictions
For more info on these fires visit the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.  

Rail Fire
The 29,097-acre Rail Fire burning 5 miles west of Unity is 30 percent contained.

Sheridan Fire
The 191-acre Sheridan Fire burning 13 miles north of La Pine is 35 percent contained. Evacuation notices in effect.

Rim Reservoir Fire
The 669-acre Rim Reservoir Fire burning 23 miles east of Burns Junction is 80 percent contained.

Aspen Fire
The 250-acre Aspen Fire burning 20 miles southeast of Frenchglen is 90 percent contained.This is the last report, unless significant activity occurs. 

Fire Statistics
Fire statistics are for the current year and the average over the past 10 years for the 16 million acres of private and public forestland protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. When fire activity increases, the latest information might not be included in the statistics. 

January 1, 2016, through yesterday:
Lightning-caused fires: 61 fires burned 2,338 acres
Human-caused fires: 486 fires burned 1,964 acres
Total: 547 fires burned 4,302 acres

10-year average (for this period of the year):
Lightning-caused fires: 256 fires burned 28,234 acres
Human-caused fires: 449 fires burned 4,393 acres
Total: 705 fires burned 32,627 acres

Fire Information Duty Officer
Name: Nick Hennemann
Phone: 503-910-4311
E-mail: Nick.Hennemann@oregon.gov

Friday, August 19, 2016

Withers Fire update - Aug. 19, 2016 evening

Fire Information: scofmp.fire.info@gmail.com
541-947-6243 or 541-219-6863

Status:
With temperatures soaring into the 90s today, firefighters continued working on containing and mopping up the Withers Fire.

The Level 1 Evacuation for Paisley will be lifted at 6 p.m. thanks to the effort of firefighting resources from throughout the West. Their hard work and commitment to public and firefighter safety made it possible to lift the evacuation this evening.

The fire is located west of Oregon State Highway 31. The fire was one of four started Wednesday.

A local Type 3 incident management team continues working on the fire.

Smoke impacts to local communities should be minimal. However, there may still be pockets of visible smoke and active fire within the perimeter. 

While Hwy 31 remains open, there is a significant increase in fire traffic. Minimizing travel in the area if possible will help both firefighter and public safety. There is also a likelihood of increased air traffic in the area as part of firefighting efforts. A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire area.

As hot and dry conditions continue into the weekend – not only in South Central Oregon, but across the western United States – the National Interagency Fire Center has elevated the National Preparedness Level to 4 on a scale from 1 to 5. This means more than three Geographic Areas are experiencing Type 1 and Type 2 incidents, there is competition for resources and 60 percent of Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams and crews are committed. As the Withers Fire approaches containment and control, firefighting resources are prepared to continue their important mission locally, regionally and nationally as needed.

Fire danger remains high and the public should be aware of their surroundings and prepared for changing conditions.

Residents and area visitors are asked to be vigilant with anything with a flame or spark. Also, respect current Public Use and Fire Restrictions on federal and state lands in Lake and Klamath counties. It only takes one coal or ember to spark a wildfire!

The cause is under investigation. However, the evidence indicates arson and it is now a criminal investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 541-947-2504.

Expected Fire Behavior: Conditions continue to be hot and dry with relatively low fuel moistures. Increased fire activity is likely as temperatures increase.

Weather: High temperatures will be in the 90s with low humidity.

Road Closures: Forest Road No. 33, also known as the River Road, from the junction with Forest Road No. 3315 to Jones Crossing, as well as Forest Road No. 3315 from the junction with Forest Road No. 33 to the intersection with Forest Road No. 3360 are closed.

Evacuation Information: Evacuation levels are being evaluated this morning and may be modified. There is a Level 3 Evacuation for campgrounds along the Chewaucan River and any residences along the River Road – anyone in this area needs to leave immediately. The Level 1 Evacuation for the town of Paisley will be lifted today at 6 p.m.

Size: 3,424 acres

Containment: 56 percent

Resources: 2 helicopters, 7 hand crews, 24 fire engines, 6 water tenders and 3 bulldozers. Total personnel: 350.
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Fire update - Aug. 19, 2016


The U.S. Weather Service issued a red flag warning effective through Saturday.

Fires on ODF-Protected Lands

Withers Fire - The 3,422-acre Withers Fire one mile north of Paisley is 40 percent contained. This human-caused fire is under investigation. Evacuation notices in effect. For more information click here.

Fires on Other Jurisdictions
For more info on the following fires visit the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

Rail Fire - The 28,209-acre Rail Fire burning 5 miles west of Unity is 25 percent contained.
Sheridan Fire - The 200-acre Sheridan Fire burning 13 miles north of La Pine is 25 percent contained. Evacuation notices in effect.
Rim Reservoir Fire - The 669-acre Rim Reservoir Fire burning 23 miles east of Burns Junction is 40 percent contained.
Aspen Fire - The 250-acre Aspen Fire burning 20 miles southeast of Frenchglen is 80 percent contained.

Fire Statistics
Fire statistics are for the current year and the average over the past 10 years for the 16 million acres of private and public forestland protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. When fire activity increases, the latest information might not be included in the statistics.

January 1, 2016, through yesterday:
Lightning-caused fires: 60 fires burned 2,218 acres
Human-caused fires: 483 fires burned 560 acres
Total: 543 fires burned 2,778 acres

10-year average (for this period of the year):

Lightning-caused fires: 256 fires burned 28,234 acres
Human-caused fires: 449 fires burned 4,393 acres
Total: 705 fires burned 32,627 acres


Contact: Nick Hennemann, 503-945-7248, nick.hennemann@oregon.gov
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Multiple fires reported in Lake County Aug. 17

This afternoon firefighters from the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) responded to several fires along U.S. Highway 395 and Oregon State Highway 31 from north of Lakeview to north of Paisley.

There are four fires total. 

The largest is the Withers Fire, northwest of Paisley, which started on Bureau of Land Management  Lakeview District lands. The fire is moving towards private and Fremont-Winema National Forest lands. 

It is currently estimated at approx. 800 acres. It is potentially threatening the town of Paisley and is burning on the southeast side of Winter Rim.

Currently there is a Level 1 Evacuation in place in Paisley. This means residents should “Be Ready” for potential evacuation, monitor local media and should make preparations if an evacuation becomes necessary.

There are 19 fire engines, four bulldozers, one hand crew, three single-engine air tankers, four heavy air tankers, three helicopters, and a lead plane working the fire this evening. Additional resources have been ordered.

A Type 3 incident management team has been ordered and is expected to arrive Thursday morning.

The other three fires pose no threat at this time. The first fire located on Highway 395 was contained at a quarter-acre, and the second fire along the highway was lined at a little over two acres and is being mopped-up. The J.V fire is located off Hwy 31, west of the Withers Fire, and is approximately six acres.

Cause of the fires is currently under investigation.

For more information on the Withers Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov.

Area visitors are asked to be aware of their surroundings and to be prepared for changing conditions.  This includes reporting visible smoke that could be from a wildfire.

To report a fire, please call 911.

With hot, dry weather forecast through the end of the week and into the weekend, fire conditions remain extreme throughout the SCOFMP area. The agencies ask that the public be careful with anything that can throw a spark while out on federal or state public lands.

Fire danger remains extreme in Lake and Klamath counties. The area is also under Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3 and there are Public Use Restrictions in place on Forest Service, BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands in the area and Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in effect at Crater Lake National Park.  

For more information on the IFPL restrictions, please visit www.scofmp.org/lifc.shtml. For information on specific restrictions in areas under Oregon Dept. of Folrestry’s fire protection, please visit www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx. Visitors are also advised to be aware of Personal Use and Fire Restrictions when planning a visit to their public lands.

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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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Wildfire in Selma Burns Three Homes

Contact: Brian Ballou, ODF SWO District, (541) 621-4156
www.swofire.com

Fire crews worked through the night cooling hot spots and monitoring fire lines on the Redwood Highway Fire in Selma, located on Highway 199 near the California border in southwest Oregon. Cooler nighttime temperatures and calm winds allowed for continued progress to be made on the fire line, which is 87 percent contained. The fire size remains at approximately 50 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

No other fires larger than 100 acres were reported Friday or early Saturday on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands.

Just before sunrise today on the Redwood Highway Fire, firefighters discovered a small spot fire 1,000 feet outside of the current fire line. Within minutes, firefighters extinguished the flames and formed a wet line along the perimeter. Throughout the day, ground crews and aircraft will continue to monitor fire activity and watch for burning snags, spotting and flare ups. The goal is to ensure the fire perimeter is 100 percent lined by this evening.

Firefighters working on structural protection this morning uncovered three homes, and at least five outbuildings destroyed by the fire. It was originally thought by fire crews that only two homes were lost on Deer Creek Road in Selma; however, the daylight revealed that there were two homes on one property, a main house and guest house. All residents managed to safely evacuate. Firefighters will continue to search for additional structures damaged or threatened in the burned area.

Deer Creek Road remains under evacuation this morning. Residents on the 975 block and above on Deer Creek Rd. are at a "Be Set" Level 2 evacuation notice. Residents on the 974 block and below on Deer Creek Rd. remain at a "Go" Level 3 evacuation status. The road is closed to the public. After an additional assessment early this afternoon, Incident Command will revisit the option of reopening the road and changing evacuation levels. Residents seeking shelter assistance should visit the evacuation center, located in Cave Junction at 200 W. Watkins Street.

Redwood Highway is open but travelers are advised to drive slowly through the Selma area. Firefighting operations are still occurring next to the road and areas of smoke may be present.

The weather forecast today in southwest Oregon includes a Red Flag Warning for the Rogue River, Applegate River and Illinois River basins. Hot temperatures, 100-105, low relative humidity and potentially strong afternoon winds are expected across the region.

In the rest of Oregon, temperatures along the Coast remain moderate with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-50s. East of the Cascades, high temperatures are expected in low-to-mid 90s and light winds. On Sunday, there is a chance of thunderstorms in the southern Oregon Cascade Range and the Klamath Basin.

Friday, August 12, 2016

OSP arrests suspects in fire on Weyco near Scappoose


Aug. 12, 2016                                    

Contacts:                                                                                    
Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425, rod.l.nichols@oregon.gov
Bill Fugate, 541-706-1653, bill.fugate@state.or.us
 
The Oregon State Police arrested four suspects on suspicion of starting a fire that burned Aug. 5 on Weyerhaeuser property along Holaday Road in the Scappoose area. The wildfire, thought to have resulted from an illegal campfire that spread out of control, ignited several logging slash piles. 

An OSP trooper arrested four males ranging in age from 19-23 on Aug. 6. They were charged with reckless burning, trespass and littering. The suspects later confessed to having built the campfire, which is prohibited under current fire safety rules. OSP obtained video from social media that shows the individuals at the campfire site. Text messages accompanying the video contain comments to the effect that they thought they had extinguished the campfire.

Weyerhaeuser security could file a complaint against the men. And the Oregon Department of Forestry intends to take legal action against the suspects to collect fire suppression costs.

Regulated Use rules were in force when the wildfire occurred and will continue in effect until significant fall rains allow them to be lifted. These heightened safety restrictions prohibit campfires and other open fires in order to prevent wildfires during periods of high fire danger.

"Oregon State Police would like to remind the public that having a campfire when prohibited is a potential criminal act,” said OSP’s Bill Fugate. “If an unintended wildland fire occurs, the crime would be more severe. Please obey fire restrictions so all may enjoy our forests."

Firefighting crews worked through the night last Friday to control the wildfire. No homes were threatened by the blaze. Scappoose Fire District was assisted in the suppression effort by Columbia River Fire & Rescue and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
 
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Crews to begin demobilizing after fighting the Gibbon Fire

Firefighters were successful Thursday in completing the majority of planned burn-out operations on the Gibbon Fire, causing the overall acreage to increase to 316 acres.  The fire is now 40 percent contained.  Burning has been used to bring the fire to the indirect fire lines to further secure control lines and also to provide for firefighter safety.  

Objectives for today include mopping up along fire lines.  A helicopter will be assigned to the fire today to haul out surplus firefighting equipment and supplies that are no longer needed, as well as firefighters.  Crews will begin being demobilized from the fire today.  At the end of the shift today, the fire will be transitioned to a Type 4 management organization staffed by local Oregon Department of Forestry and Umatilla National Forest personnel.  A 10-person hand crew and one engine will remain on scene for the next few days.

As the weekend approaches and the public heads outdoors to recreate, they are reminded that lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry are under public use restrictions.


Fires on Other Jurisdictions

More info on the following fires:http://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/information/fire_info.aspx  

Rail Fire
The 11,800-acre Rail Fire burning 10 miles WSW of Unity is 10 percent contained.
Orejana Flat Fire
The 897-acre Orejana Flat Fire burning 30 miles NE of Frenchglen is 80 percent contained.
Juntura Complex
The 24,301-acre Juntura Complex burning 30 miles SW of Vale is 77 percent contained.


Fire Statistics

Fire statistics are for the current year and the average over the past 10 years for the 16 million acres of private and public forestland protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

January 1, 2016, through Friday, Aug. 12, 2016:
Lightning-caused fires: 59 fires burned 2,218 acres
Human-caused fires: 430 fires burned 463 acres
Total: 488 fires burned 2,681 acres

10-year average (for this period of the year):
Lightning-caused fires: 221 fires burned 25,380 acres
Human-caused fires: 414 fires burned 4,206 acres
Total: 635 fires burned 29,586 acres



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.

Followers

About Me

My photo
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.