Oregon Dept. of Forestry
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ODF Aviation Manager Neal Laugle discusses with ODF and local fire teams the agency's air attack strategy on the Silver Creek Fire.
ODF Aviation Manager Neal Laugle discusses with ODF and local fire teams the agency's air attack strategy on the Silver Creek Fire.
Over 100 firefighters are now engaged on the Silver Creek Fire in Marion County (Photo) - 07/14/18

SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Ore. – The number of firefighting personnel engaged on the Silver Creek Fire at Silver Falls State Park has grown to about 110. The Oregon Department of Forestry and Drakes Crossing Rural Fire Protection District both are engaged on the fire along with hand crews from Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. The fire’s size is estimated at 12 acres. The cause is under investigation.

The Howard Creek Horse Camp within the park has been closed to the public so it can be used as a staging area for firefighting operations. Camp Silver Creek (also known as the Y Camp) about a mile from the fire’s location in the southeast part of the park was evacuated yesterday and remains closed. Oregon State Parks is reporting that also closed are all back-country trails on the east side of the park, The Ranches, and 214 Trailhead.  The rest of the park and events there are unaffected and remain open but visitors are cautioned to be alert to firefighting activity and traffic. For the latest on park and trail closures, check Oregon State Park’s fire closures web page

The fire’s Incident Commander Brent O’Nion with ODF said this morning that, “Because the fire is in steep, heavily timbered terrain in a section of the park away from roads and trails, getting ground crews up to the fire has been challenging. Firefighter safety is a concern and our number one priority right now as we battle this blaze.”

O’Nion said ODF and Drakes Crossing firefighters responded to the initial report of fire Thursday night and searched until 1 a.m. trying to locate the fire. The search resumed at daybreak Friday morning, when the fire – estimated at less than an acre – was finally located beneath thick timber.

“We had solid initial attack on the fire from the air yesterday, with response from a helicopter, single-engine airtankers and large airtankers,” said O’Nion. “That gave our firefighters time to work their way toward the fire so they could begin engaging on it.”

O’Nion lauded the continuing close collaboration with local firefighters and parks personnel on the fire.

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ODF will raise fire precaution levels for industrial operators in northwest Oregon on Monday as skies stay dry - 07/14/18

FOREST GROVE, Ore. - Due to extreme heat and dry conditions, on Monday, July 16 the Oregon Department of Forestry will raise to Level 2 the fire precautions industrial operators must follow in forestlands the agency protects in northwest Oregon. The affected areas are Clatsop and Columbia counties, Tillamook County except for a narrow strip along the coast, as well as northwest Yamhill County, western Washington County and a sliver of northwest Multnomah County.

Under the rules, the following activities are not permitted between 1 and 8 p.m.

  • Cable yarding
  • Blasting
  • Welding, cutting or grinding of metal
  • Use of feller-bunchers with rotary head saws
  • Power saws may operate only at loading sites

The fire danger in ODF's entire Northwest Oregon Area is considered moderate. The use of off-road recreational vehicles in rural areas is prohibited and campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds with built in, metal-ringed fire pits.

"After a nearly rainless May and June we are seeing conditions in northwest Oregon similar to what we typically would see at the beginning of August - very dry with low fuel moisture," said Protection Unit Forester Eric Perkins with ODF's Forest Grove office. "With prolonged warm, dry weather expected to continue at least through next week, it's important that people are very careful with any possible source of ignition."

Perkins said restriction on the public include common-sense precautions, such as:

  • No debris burning
  • No campfires except in designated campgrounds (portable cooking stoves using liquid fuels are okay)
  • No wood-burning devices in temporary dwellings such as tents, travel trailers, etc.
  • No power saw use or cutting, welding or grinding between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • No fireworks
  • Smoking only in designated locations or inside vehicles on improved roads or in boats on the water
  • No exploding targets, tracer ammunition or sky lanterns

In addtion, all vehicles traveling off paved roads must have a shovel and fire extinguisher or a gallon of water. All-terrain vehicles and motorcycles must carry a fire extinguisher when traveling off paved roads.

For updates on fire restrictions, the public may contact the nearest ODF office or the state fire restrictions and closures web page at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/PFR.html  

ODF declares high fire danger for rural Lane County, southern Linn County and parts of northern Douglas County - 07/12/18

VENETA, Ore. – Due to extreme heat and dry conditions, the Oregon Department of Forestry has raised the fire danger level to high (yellow) in all of rural Lane County, southern Linn County and parts of northern Douglas County.

At this level the public is only allowed to use gas-powered equipment until 10 a.m. and then again after 8 p.m.  No gas-powered equipment may be used during this ten-hour shutdown period, with the exception of mowing well-irrigated green grass lawns. 

The use of off road recreational vehicles in rural portions of the district is prohibited and campfires are only allowed in incorporated campgrounds with built in, metal-ringed fire pits.

“While temperature does affect fire behavior, it is not as much a danger to the fire as it is a danger to firefighters” said District Forester Link Smith with ODF’s Western Lane District. “Fighting fires in cooler conditions is always difficult, but fighting fires in extreme heat is especially taxing on those who are trained to protect our lands from fire.  We are asking that our public remain mindful of this as they conduct activities during the coming days.”

For updates on fire danger levels in the Western Lane District, the public may call the district’s Veneta office at 541-935-2222 or check the district’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ODFWesternLane/.

Residents in eastern Lane County can contact ODF’s Springfield office at 541-726-3588.

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Media Advisory: Water drop to be part of July 12 training to reload firefighting planes at Salem Airport - 07/11/18

WHAT: Opportunity to film Oregon Department of Forestry staff learning how to load retardant onto single-engine airtankers used in fighting wildfires. Option to interview ODF aviation team members about aerial firefighting resource readiness for the current wildfire season.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Thursday, July 12

WHERE: Salem Municipal Airport (McNary Field) in Salem, Oregon (But meet in front of Building D on ODF headquarters campus, 2600 State Street, Salem, OR 97310)

Directions from I-5

  • Take Exit 253
  • Turn west on Highway 22 (Mission Street SE) to 25th Street SE
  • Turn right onto 25th Street SE to State Street
  • Turn right (eastbound) on State Street
  • Turn in at the second entrance to the Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Building D is the first building as you turn into the parking lot. Park anywhere in the lot and come to the front door of Building D where ODF public affairs specialist will be waiting to escort you onto the airport grounds.

CONTACT: Jim Gersbach, ODF Public Affairs Specialist, 503-945-7425 

Board of Forestry will meet July 24 in Salem, State Forests and Agency Budget top agenda - 07/10/18

Date:  July 10, 2018

Contact:  Megan Ehnle, Board of Forestry Executive Support, 503-302-5603

 

Salem, Ore. – Among the agenda items for the Oregon Board of Forestry’s July 24 regular meeting will be consideration of guiding principles for revising the State Forests Management Plan and the Agency Request Budget. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m., and go through approximately 5:00 p.m., with an Executive Session planned for the lunch hour.

The meeting will be held in the Tillamook Room, Administration Building C, at the Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters, located at 2600 State St., in Salem. The meeting is open to the public and public comment will be accepted on agenda topics as well as during the start of the meeting for topics not on the agenda. In order to ensure the Board has the opportunity to conduct all of the business on the agenda for its meetings, public comment for agenda topics will be limited to no more than 30 minutes. A sign-up sheet will be available for public comment on a first-come, first-served basis. Submission of written comments ahead of board meetings is encouraged. Written comments may be submitted prior to the meeting to: Boardofforestry@oregon.gov.

State Forests Management Plans establish the goals and direction to manage state forests, which are sustainably managed to provide environmental, social and economic benefits to all Oregonians. The board will be considering guiding principles for the revision of the FMP, the inclusion of measureable outcomes and quantifiable targets, and an impacts analysis framework. Information regarding the Forest Management Plan revision will be posted at: https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/AboutODF/Pages/Initiatives.aspx.

The staff presentation on the topic is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Following the staff presentation, the board has scheduled 15 minutes of invited testimony from both the conservation community and the forest industries sector, followed by public comment as described above.

The board will also consider the approval of the Agency Request Budget and its submission to the Department of Administrative Services. The ARB is part of the planning and development process for the next biennial budget. The recommendation for approval follows and builds upon the Board’s previous budget discussions and deliberations since early 2018.

Other agenda items for the meeting include:

  • Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust – Overviewing the trust’s organization, programs, and strategic direction, including an update on the status of the Salmonberry Trail.
  • Committee for Family Forestlands Annual Report – Summarizing the committee’s activities during the previous year, progress on key issues, and recommendations relating to policy affecting family forestland owners.
  • 2018 Fire Season Update
  • Forest Trust Lands Advisory Committee testimony – FTLAC comments and advice on State Forests policy.
  • Forest Patrol Assessment Hearings – Hearings before the Board for landowners in Yamhill and Lane counties who have appealed their addition to the forest patrol assessment roll.

Agenda materials are available at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Board/Pages/BOFMeetings.aspx. Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services, or assistance can be arranged by calling ODF’s Public Affairs Office, at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting, at 503-945-7200.

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The Oregon Board of Forestry consists of seven citizens nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. Responsibilities include appointing the State Forester, setting management direction for state-owned forests, adopting rules governing timber harvest and other practices on private forestland, and promoting sustainable management of Oregon’s 30 million-acre forestland base. More information about the Board is available at: www.oregon.gov/ODF/Board/Pages/AboutBOF.aspx

Lobster Creek Fire Final Update - 07/07/18

Lobster Creek Fire Final Update

ODF Incident Management Team 3 (ODF IMT 3) will hand responsibility for the Lobster Creek Fire back to Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA) Sunday at 12:00 pm. After four days with no additional growth and well-established control lines, fire managers are handing off the fire confident it poses no additional threat to life or property. Containment is estimated at 75 percent.

“History will judge us by what we leave behind. The fire team did excellent work and I’m confident our efforts to suppress this fire will withstand the summer,” said Link Smith Team 3 Incident Commander.

Control lines around the fire’s perimeter have been mopped up to at least 100 feet and deeper in areas with more potential to reignite. However, occasional smoke from unburnt fuel smoldering in the fire’s interior may be visible.

CFPA will manage the fire with a smaller (Type 3) organization based at the Curry County Fairgrounds. Suppression strategies include additional mop up, regular engine patrols and rehabilitation efforts. The Curry County Fair will take place at the Fairgrounds as planned August 14-18.

Resources on the fire today include 192 personnel—five hand crews, six engines, three water tenders and one light helicopter on standby.

The Lobster Creek Fire was a fast-moving wildfire driven by strong winds. It burned valuable productive timberlands protected by the Coos Forest Protective Association. Responsive efforts by state and local wildland forces kept the fire’s size under 400 acres. Through July 6th, suppression costs reached $2,038,000.

Team 3 fire managers leave an excellent safety record. Over 700 personnel logged more than 36,100 hours of exposure in hazardous terrain without a reported injury.

CFPA will continue to provide occasional updates on the fire. Visit https://www.facebook.com/Coos-FPA-637665976387903/ or http://www.coosfpa.net/.

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Lobster Creek Fire Update: July 6, 2018 - 07/06/18

GOLD BEACH, Ore. – With containment on the Lobster Creek Fire reaching 55 percent and the fire perimeter stable at 397 acres, fire managers are planning to transition control of the fire back to the Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA). ODF IMT 3 plans to transfer command of the fire back to CFPA Sunday.

Fire crews remain focused on mopping up the fire’s perimeter. Mop up is slow, dirty and hazardous work that involves methodically digging out residual heat which often lurks in stumps and roots. Modern technology aids the hunt for hot spots. Night-shift crews use hand-held infrared scanners to find and identify residual heat sources.

Fallers have been identifying and knocking down fire-weakened trees that could pose a hazard to firefighters working below. Removing hazard trees near the perimeter also eliminates the potential of those falling trees spreading fire across containment lines.

Fire managers have begun releasing fire resources, making them available for new fast-growing fires in the region. From a peak of over 700 firefighters, fire managers have slimmed the ranks to 275 personnel assigned to the fire, including 10 hand crews.

To date, firefighters on the Lobster Creek Fire have maintained an excellent safety record. Despite working almost 26,000 hours in steep, rocky terrain, no significant injuries have been reported.

Through July 5th, total suppression costs for the Lobster Creek Fire have reached $1,483,000.

More information:

https://www.facebook.com/Lobster-Creek-Fire-2021776444706700/

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5886/
 

Rising fire danger prompts public use restrictions in West Oregon forestlands beginning July 6 - 07/05/18

PHILOMATH, Ore – Due to rising fire danger, the Oregon Department of Forestry‘s West Oregon District has declared public fire restrictions beginning Friday, July 6. This is in addition to industrial restrictions already in effect.

Public use restrictions are based on activities most commonly associated with fire starts in the past.  They include, but are not limited to:

  • No open fires except at designated campgrounds
  • No fireworks
  • No mowing of dried grass between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Non-industrial chainsaw use requires a waiver from an ODF forester
  • Smoking is not allowed while traveling except in closed vehicles on improved roads

ODF officials urge members of the public to be prepared and take precautions to prevent fires, such as carrying a shovel and either a fire extinguisher or at least one gallon of water when traveling in the forest.

These restrictions apply to lands in Lincoln, Benton, Polk and parts of Yamhill County protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. For a complete list of restrictions that are in place at any given location, go online to ODF’s statewide fire restrictions and closures page at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx. Questions may also be directed to local ODF offices.

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Northwest State Forest Management Plan revision informational meeting set for July 13 - 07/05/18

SALEM, Ore – The Oregon Department of Forestry will host an informational meeting concerning the ongoing Northwest State Forest Management Plan revision at 1:30 p.m. Friday, July 13, in Salem.

The meeting will be held in the Tillamook Room at ODF’s Salem headquarters, Building C, 2600 State St. It is intended to inform members of the public about the status of the Forest Management Plan revision project. Only written testimony will be accepted at this meeting; the public will have an opportunity to provide in-person as well as written testimony at the July 24 Board of Forestry meeting.

State Forest Management Plans establish the goals and direction to manage state forests, which are sustainably managed to provide environmental, social and economic benefits to all Oregonians. By law, the majority of revenue generated from state forests must be distributed to counties and schools and used to provide public services. Information regarding the Forest Management Plan revision will be posted at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/AboutODF/Pages/Initiatives.aspx

This meeting is open to the public. Questions about accessibility or special accommodations can be directed to the Oregon Department of Forestry at 503-945-7200.

Lobster Creek Fire Update: July 5, 2018 - 07/05/18

Lobster Creek Fire Update

Gold Beach, OR – The Lobster Creek Fire is shrinking. Due to more accurate mapping, the fire size is now 397 acres. As the edge of the fire cools, allowing closer access, firefighters are able to utilize handheld global positioning system (GPS) devices to trace the perimeter more closely and move from an estimate fire size to a more precise calculation. Containment has reached 30 percent.

Mop up operations will continue over the next few days until the fire is in a state that the fire team is comfortable handing the incident back to the Coos Forest Protective Association. There are currently over 700 personnel assigned to the fire that includes 27 hand crews. The demobilization process begins today with crews and other resources heading home or to other fires over the next few days.

Through July 4th, total suppression costs for the Lobster Creek Fire are just over $956,000.

More information:

https://www.facebook.com/Lobster-Creek-Fire-2021776444706700/

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5886/
 

Lobster Creek Fire Update - 07/04/18

Gold Beach, OR – Firefighters on the Lobster Creek Fire and fires across the nation are wishing everyone a happy 4th of July. On this anniversary of independence, firefighters are encouraging everyone to act responsibly with fireworks and other spark emitting activities that could to lead to another devastating wildland fire. Wildland firefighters cherish our country’s beauty and work hard every day to preserve it. Their message is simple, “only you can prevent wildfires”.

Acres burned on the Lobster Creek Fire remain unchanged at 446. Containment has reached 15 percent. Personnel on the fire has grown to over 700, which typically means that the fire is growing. In this fire’s case, with much of the fire season still remaining, reinforcements were brought in to eliminate any chance of the fire rekindling and escaping in the future. Crews are transitioning from building containment lines to mop-up operations. The objective will be to seek out and destroy any hot spots near containment lines that pose a risk of escape. Sawyers will also fall hazard trees (snags) that could potentially fall across containment lines and start new fires. In addition, several “islands” of unburned vegetation still remain within the perimeter of the fire’s footprint. So again, with much of the fire season remaining, fire crews will construct additional control lines around these islands to prevent any future escape.

The Lobster Creek Fire started Sunday afternoon within a Curry County park and subsequently spread to private industrial timberlands. It quickly grew to an estimated 446 acres by Monday morning and required the support of an Incident Management Team from the Oregon Department of Forestry.

More information:

https://www.facebook.com/Lobster-Creek-Fire-2021776444706700/

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5886/

Rising fire danger prompts public use restrictions in Northwest Oregon forestlands beginning July 5 - 07/03/18

TILLAMOOK, Ore – Due to dry conditions in northwest forests, the Oregon Department of Forestry is implementing public fire restrictions beginning Thursday, July 5. This is in addition to industrial restrictions already in effect.

Restrictions include; no open fires except at designated locations, no fireworks, and no use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition. Non-industrial chainsaw use is prohibited between 1-8 p.m. Smoking is not allowed while traveling except in closed vehicles on improved roads.

ODF officials urge members of the public to be prepared and take precautions to prevent fires, such as carrying a shovel and either a fire extinguisher or at least one gallon of water when traveling in the forest.

These restrictions apply to lands in Washington, Yamhill, Tillamook, Clatsop, Columbia, and parts of Multnomah County protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. To find out what restrictions are in place at any given location, go online to ODF’s statewide fire restrictions and closures page at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx. Questions may also be directed to local ODF offices.

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Firefighters are making progress on the Lobster Creek Fire, which has burned about 450 acres of timberland in Curry County since the blaze began on July 1.
Firefighters are making progress on the Lobster Creek Fire, which has burned about 450 acres of timberland in Curry County since the blaze began on July 1.
Firefighters make progress on the Lobster Creek Fire in southwest Oregon (Photo) - 07/03/18

GOLD BEACH, Ore. —  Firefighters gained considerable ground overnight on the Lobster Creek Fire 12 miles northeast of Gold Beach. The wind-driven fire started Sunday afternoon on private industrial timberlands and quickly grew to an estimated 450 acres by Monday morning. Since that time, fire crews have nearly completed hand and bulldozer lines around the fire’s perimeter. Current containment stands at 10 percent.

Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team (IMT), led by Incident Commander Link Smith, arrived Monday afternoon to relieve Coos Forest Protective Association crews and allow them to return to initial attack responsibilities on the district.

The IMT, comprised of 33 fire managers and support personnel, quickly assessed the needs and began ordering additional resources. About 450 firefighters will be working round the clock, split between a day and night shift. Ground forces are being supported with 6 helicopters, 3 retardant-dropping Single Engine Airtankers (SEATs), 3 bulldozers, 5 engines and 5 water tenders.

The Lobster Creek Fire has been determined to be human-caused (not lightning), but remains under investigation. The fire is a good reminder that conditions are prime for ignition and fire spread. Fire managers are encouraging everyone to be cautious with fireworks this 4th of July as well as any other spark-emitting activity. Fireworks are currently prohibited in most areas. Other public fire restrictions in place include keeping campfires in approved campgrounds and vehicles on improved roads. The mowing of dried, cured grass, cutting and welding, and the use of power saws are also restricted. Check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry or forest protective association office for fire regulations in your area or where you may be traveling.

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Preventing wildfires like 2017's Hemlock Fire shown here is why restrictions on some activities that could spark a wildfire go into effect July 2 in western Lane and parts of northern Douglas County.
Preventing wildfires like 2017's Hemlock Fire shown here is why restrictions on some activities that could spark a wildfire go into effect July 2 in western Lane and parts of northern Douglas County.
ODF begins public fire restrictions July 2 for western Lane County and parts of northern Douglas County (Photo) - 07/01/18

VENETA, Ore. – With conditions becoming drier and warmer, the Oregon Department of Forestry has declared that fire restrictions for members of the public will go into effect on Monday, July 2.  While industrial operators have had some restrictions imposed on them since June 21, the public has remained unrestricted until now. 

As of July 2, the district will be at moderate fire danger (blue). At this level the public is allowed to use gas-powered equipment until 1 p.m. and then again after 8 p.m.  No gas-powered equipment may be used during the seven-hour shutdown period in the afternoon, with the exception of mowing well-irrigated green grass lawns. 

The use of fireworks in rural portions of the district is prohibited and campfires are only allowed in incorporated campgrounds with built in, metal-ringed fire pits.

“For the rest of fire season, we encourage you to be safe and use your best judgment in all activities conducted in and around dry grass and brush,” said Public Information Officer Dave Kjosness with ODF’s Western Lane District. 

For updates on fire season and the fire danger levels in the Western Lane District, the public may call the district’s Veneta office at 541-935-2222 or check the district’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ODFWesternLane/.

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County forestry advisory group meets July 13 - 06/29/18

SALEM, Ore – The Forest Trust Lands Advisory Committee will meet Friday, July 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the Oregon Department of Forestry Salem headquarters, Tillamook Room, Building C, 2600 State St. Items on the committee’s agenda include comments from State Forester Peter Daugherty and Board Chair Tom Imeson, as well as the following topics.

  • Northwest State Forests Management Plan Update
  • Habitat Conservation Plan Update
  • Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust update

Committee members will also formulate the committee’s testimony for the upcoming Board of Forestry meeting on July 24, 2018. The meeting agenda will be available on the department’s web site at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Board/Pages/FTLAC.aspx.

This meeting is open to the public. Questions about accessibility or special accommodations can be directed to the Oregon Department of Forestry at 503-945-7200.

The Forest Trust Lands Advisory Committee is comprised of seven county commissioners representing 15 Oregon counties where state forestlands are located. The FTLAC is a statutorily established committee that advises the Board of Forestry on matters related to forestland managed by ODF.

Last Oregon Department of Forestry district goes into fire season June 28 in NE Oregon - 06/27/18

LA GRANDE, Ore — With the start of fire season Thursday, June 28 in the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northeast Oregon District, all lands protected by the state agency will be in a declared fire season.

Forecasted higher temperatures and drier conditions prompted ODF fire managers in the Northeast Oregon District to declare fire season for forest and range lands protected by ODF in Baker, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa counties along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow, and Grant counties.

“Long range forecasts indicate high to extreme fire danger beginning in July and extending through September across the district,” Justin Lauer, Pendleton Wildland Fire Supervisor said. “The light fuels in the lower elevations will cure out quickly and carry fire readily.”

The fire season declaration places fire prevention restrictions on landowners and the public. Additionally, fire prevention regulations on industrial logging and forest management activities are put into place. Lands affected include private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District. This area encompasses approximately 2 million protected acres. The public are urged to use caution in areas of dry, cured vegetation.

Lauer stated, “It’s easy to be complacent when we’ve had a few days of storms, but fuel conditions and weather will change rapidly. We need everyone to use caution, check regulations before they head out and keep an eye out for fires while they’re out and about.”

During fire season in northeast Oregon:

• Burn permits for burn barrels and all open burning except camp fires are required on all private forest and range lands within the Northeast Forest Protection District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). Contact your local ODF office in La Grande, Baker City, Wallowa, or Pendleton to acquire a burn permit.

• Landowners who conducted burning of slash piles last fall and this spring are encouraged to check the piles to ensure they are completely out and all heat is gone. It is not uncommon for recently burned slash piles to retain heat in them for several months after the actual burning of the piles.

• Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF. Contact your local Stewardship Forester at any ODF office for more information.

• Campfires must be dead out! Recreationists are reminded that campfires need to be attended and fully extinguished before being left. Get permission from the landowner prior to starting a campfire.

For further information on fire restrictions and closures in ODF districts or fire protective associations, go to ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx or contact the nearest ODF office.
 
To report a fire, dial 9-1-1. 
 

 

Emergency Fire Cost Committee to hold special meeting - 06/27/18

SALEM, Ore. – The Emergency Fire Cost Committee is holding a special meeting June 28 in Salem. The meeting will take place in the Clatsop Room of Building C on the campus of the Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street. Committee members will participate via conference call. The public is invited to attend. The meeting will begin at 7 a.m. with an opportunity for public comment at the end of the meeting.

The meeting space is accessible to persons with disabilities. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the meeting by contacting Chrystal Bader at 503-945-7220.

The sole agenda item is further consideration of reimbursement to the Coos Forest Protective Association of extraordinary costs associated with last year’s Chetco Bar Fire.

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Inside the Forest Education Pavilion at the Tillamook Forest Center.
Inside the Forest Education Pavilion at the Tillamook Forest Center.
Tillamook Forest Center increases capacity with outdoor education pavilion thanks to donor generosity (Photo) - 06/26/18

Tillamook, Ore – The Tillamook Forest Center will be able to welcome even more school groups, summer travelers and visitors to explore the forest with the opening of a new outdoor education pavilion.

With room for 150 people, the education pavilion greatly increases the TFC’s capacity to accommodate larger groups. And while the forest views are always stunning, the North Coast’s unpredictable weather leaves many people longing for a place to beat the heat or dodge raindrops. The pavilion will provide a dry and warm space to host education programs for the 6,000-plus K-12 students who visit the TFC each year, as well as a community meeting room for a variety of groups and organizations. A grand opening event was held Friday.

The Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust (TFHT) raised $750,000 over a two-year period to make this pavilion a reality. Grants and donations came from a wide variety of individuals and organizations, including Tillamook County, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Ford Family Foundation, the N.B. Guistina Foundation, and many others. The Trust continues to raise funds for a variety of fantastic causes, including ensuring the pavilion has everything needed to provide a great experience for visitors. To donate, visit https://www.donatetillamookforestcenter.org.

“This pavilion allows us to meet the growing demand for forest education, particularly from larger school groups that we weren’t always able to accommodate due to space limitations,” TFC Director Fran McReynolds said. “I never cease to be amazed by our supporters’ generosity, and want to thank everyone who donated to make this happen.”

“Part of the original vision for the Tillamook Forest Center was to have a covered outdoor pavilion for hosting education programs and other activities on rainy days,” said TFHT Executive Director Ross Holloway. “Through the generosity of many previous donors and a number of first-time contributors, we have been able to achieve that dream.  We can’t wait for that first group of students to arrive and enjoy the pavilion this fall.”

About the Tillamook Forest Center: The Tillamook Forest Center is a special place to develop a deeper connection with Oregon’s forests through experience and exploration. The Center is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (summer hours). A $5 donation is suggested.

About the Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust: The Trust is a 501 (c)(3) organization with a mission of inspiring Oregonians to learn about and enjoy their state forests.  In addition to the Tillamook Forest Center, the Trust also provides non-profit support to the Salmonberry Trail project and the State Forests Recreation Fund.  The Trust is a qualified partner in the Oregon Cultural Trust, an innovative and widely-supported program for strengthening and preserving Oregon’s arts, heritage and culture.

Firefighters are completing control lines and moving to mop up the Graham Fire in central Oregon today. The fire was stopped at 2,175 acres.
Firefighters are completing control lines and moving to mop up the Graham Fire in central Oregon today. The fire was stopped at 2,175 acres.
Graham Fire in central Oregon moving toward 100% containment (Photo) - 06/26/18

SISTERS, Ore. - After three days with no additional perimeter growth and well-established control lines, the ODF Incident Management Team 2 will be handing management of the Graham Fire in Jefferson County back to Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District Wednesday morning. Control lines around the fire’s perimeter have been mopped up to at least 50 feet. However, local residents may still expect to see occasional smoke from pockets of unburnt fuel smoldering in the fire’s interior. If residents see flames or spot fires they are advised to call 911.

Resources on the fire today include 10 hand crews, 2 helicopters, 17 engines, 1 dozer, 3 water tenders and 338 personnel. Containment is estimated at 85%.

ODF’s Central Oregon District will continue the use of additional engines and fire crews to achieve 100% containment. The District strategies will include daily engine patrols and mop up operations.

The Graham Fire was a hot, fast-moving wildfire driven by strong winds, dry conditions and light flashy fuels that burned in the wildland urban interface in and around the community of Three Rivers. The firestorm torched trees and produced 100’ flame lengths. Thanks to the responsive efforts of local wildland and structural suppression forces as well as prior defensible space created by local residents, the fire was held to 2,175 acres.

Team 2 fire managers leave behind an excellent safety record. More than 300 personnel were assigned to the incident and no injuries were reported.

ODF’s Central Oregon District will continue to provide occasional updates on the fire status.

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Oregon Department of Forestry's Northwest Oregon District enters fire season June 26 - 06/25/18

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northwest Oregon District will enter fire season on Tuesday, June 26. ODF-protected lands covered by the declaration include state, private, county, and city forestland, as well as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in western Oregon.

The district protect lands in Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook and western Washington counties.

An unusually dry May and early June prompted the declarations.

According to Protection Unit Forester Neal Bond in ODF’s Astoria Unit office. “We are going into fire season a couple weeks ahead of where we did last year, when a wet spring kept fuel moisture levels high until early July. This year, we’ve experienced relatively dry conditions. A few cooler days and recent scattered rains have helped but not enough to significantly reduce fire danger.”

Bond said ODF officials look carefully at local conditions in determining when to declare the start of fire season. “Those conditions are telling us is that our district is now dry enough for wildfires that do start to have the potential to spread more rapidly to other landowners and become more costly.”

So far this year, about 250 wildfires have been reported on ODF-protected lands throughout Oregon. While most have burned about an acre, the largest – the Graham Fire in central Oregon – has scorched over 2,000 acres. 

Fire restrictions in ODF districts vary somewhat. To find out what restrictions are in place at any given location, go online to ODF’s statewide fire restrictions and closures page at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx or call the ODF office below that is nearest:

  • Astoria – 503-325-5451
  • Forest Grove – 503-359-7401
  • Tillamook – 503-842-2548

Of the other 11 ODF districts and forest protective associations in Oregon, all but the Northeast Oregon District are already in fire season. 

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Fire crews are working to mop up the 2,175-acre Graham Fire in central Oregon.
Fire crews are working to mop up the 2,175-acre Graham Fire in central Oregon.
No new growth on Graham Fire in central Oregon; evacuees are able to return home (Photo) - 06/25/18

CULVER, Ore. - Strong containment lines and diligent mop up operations have kept the perimeter of the Graham Fire in check. After two days with no new fire growth, the Jefferson County Sherriff has lowered the evacuation level to 1 (READY) and is allowing residents to return to their homes. The fire has burned 2,175 acres and is estimated at 65% containment.

Fire managers are focused on strengthening control lines and continuing mop up operations. Mop-up involves firefighters digging out hot spots and extinguishing all remaining heat. Crews start on the fire perimeter and move toward the center. It’s hard, methodical and dirty work but technology makes it more efficient. Firefighters use heat seeking cameras with infra-red technology to identify where the heat is hiding below ground.

“We will be judged by how well we leave this fire for the local district and residents. Mop up is hard dirty work. But it’s critically important to do it well. When we mop up right, we can hand the fire back to the local district knowing the perimeter will hold,” said Team 2 Incident Commander Chris Cline.  

Seventy five people attended the public meeting last night at the Chinook Store, in Culver just east of the fire. The residents were very appreciative of their local volunteer fire fighters and the efforts of the Incident Management Team. Lake Chinook Fire Chief Don Colfels encouraged local residents to create 30 feet of defensible space around their homes to help it survive a wildfire.

Resources on the fire today (June 25) are: 7 hand crews, 5 helicopters, 13 engines, 1 dozer, 3 water tenders and 307 personnel. 

Public information contact is Ashley Lertora; 503-338-8442.

For more information visit:

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5855/

Central Oregon Fire Info : http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ODFCentralOregon/

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Graham Fire evening update: Evacuation level lowered, public meeting planned - 06/23/18

Firefighters continue to make progress in extinguishing hot spots around the perimeter of the fire. Today they focused their attention on the first fifty feet; tomorrow they will work in another fifty feet. Higher temperatures and lower humidities are forecasted in the coming days and could make the fire more active.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office lowered the evacuation level from Level 3 (GO) to Level 2 (READY) status for the Three Rivers Subdivision effective today at 6 p.m. Residents will be allowed to come and go, but should remain aware that fire conditions can rapidly change.   

A public meeting is planned for Sunday, June 24 at 6 p.m. at the Chinook Village Store.  Local residents are invited to hear from local officials to learn more about what they can do to protect their homes and lands. 

ODF North Cascade District enters fire season Monday, June 25, triggering seasonal restrictions - 06/23/18

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry’s North Cascade District will enter fire season on Monday, June 25. This declaration covers ODF-protected lands in Multnomah, Clackamas, Marion and northern Linn counties.

Restrictions include no open fires except at designated locations, no fireworks, and no use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition. Backyard debris burning is not allowed without a permit.

To find out what restrictions are in place at any given location, go online to ODF’s statewide fire restrictions and closures page at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx. For specific questions about restrictions within the North Cascade district, call the ODF North Cascade Office at 503-859-2151.

Firefighters making progress on Graham Fire, evacuations remain in effect - 06/23/18

Prineville, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Forestry Type 1 Team and Oregon State Fire Marshal Green Team took unified command of the fire on Friday at 6 p.m. Fire crews have made good progress battling the Graham Fire. The fire is estimated at approximately 2,055 acres and is burning in brush, timber and grass south of the Metolius River arm of Lake Billy Chinook near Culver, Oregon. Fire crews completed a burnout operation yesterday and will began mop up operations on Saturday. Today’s firefighting resources include: 7 hand crews, 26 Engines, 2 dozers, 4 water tenders, approximately 375 personnel and containment is estimated at 50%. Aircraft resources assigned to this fire are available to all fires in the area as needed. 

Crews have set up fire camp at the Sisters Rodeo Grounds. Please use caution on Highway 20 near the rodeo grounds due to the additional fire traffic in the area.

The fire burned two residential structures and five out buildings, but many more were saved by local firefighting resources. Further information regarding structure losses is not available at this time. 

Due to ongoing fire danger Level 3 evacuations remain in effect for the Three Rivers subdivision. A staffed road block has been established near the Chinook Village Store restricting access to all except emergency personnel and credentialed media. For further information regarding evacuations, please refer to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Facebook site or call Jefferson County Sheriff at 541-475-6520.

Interested media are to report to the Lake Chinook Fire Station at 11700 Graham Rd where a Public Information Officer will be available from 10:30 a.m. — 7 p.m.

There are three structure task forces from Clackamas, Marion, Washington, Lane and Multnomah counties that have been mobilized under the Conflagration Act, and will provide 24-hour structure protection threatened by the fire. The fire is burning on private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry and Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue, as well as Bureau of Land Management ownership. The cause of the fire is attributed to the lightning storm that passed through the area last Wednesday.

Updated information for the Graham Fire is available on InciWeb https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5855/

Firefighters train at last year's Interagency Wildland Fire School, which is again being held in Sweet Home, Ore. the last week in June.
Firefighters train at last year's Interagency Wildland Fire School, which is again being held in Sweet Home, Ore. the last week in June.
2018 Mid-Willamette Valley Interagency Wildland Fire School begins Monday, June 25 in Sweet Home, Oregon (Photo) - 06/21/18

SWEET HOME, Ore. – Over 200 wildland firefighters and instructors will convene in Sweet Home the last week of June to take part in the annual five day Mid-Willamette Valley Interagency Wildland Fire School. Officials from the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are hosting the training to prepare new firefighters for fighting fire, both in Oregon's forests and in rural-urban interface areas.

Co-Incident Commanders Shawn Sheldon, Deputy Fire Staff for the BLM and Willamette National Forest; and Craig Pettinger, Unit Forester for ODF in Sweet Home, see fire school as an opportunity to train firefighters in both tactical skills and safety.

“This is the 22nd year our agencies have collaborated for this,” said Sheldon. “Fire School provides crucial education and training in wildland fire to new firefighters and gives career firefighters a chance to refresh their skills and explore leadership opportunities."  

Trainees will spend the first part of the week in a classroom. Classes include basic fire behavior, weather, map and compass use, teamwork, safety, use of engines, tools and hose lays, fighting fire in the rural-urban interface and fire investigation. Students will sleep in tents at Sweet Home High School and eat meals together, giving them a taste of life in a real fire camp.

The course is capped with a live-fire exercise on Friday, June 29 just outside of Sweet Home. This will give trainees a final challenge: applying their newly acquired skills to suppress and mop-up a real fire.

“Cascade Timber Consulting, Inc., a local landowner, provides a new field site each year and we are very grateful,” added Sheldon. “The live fire exercise significantly enhances the students’ training experience – working in smoke, hiking through uneven terrain, and working closely with crew members to dig fireline, are all things they’ll experience this season as wildland firefighters.”

Safety principles of fire training include wearing protective gear, safe use of tools and being on the lookout for hazards. “Safety is paramount in every aspect of wildland firefighting, and it begins with our training exercises,” explained Pettinger.  "Working together in a training setting improves communications and builds effective relationships for the agencies to draw on during fire season."

This year, the field site that will be used for the live fire exercise is located approximately 5 miles east of Sweet Home adjacent to Highway 20. Fire officials are urging the public to use caution as there will be increased fire traffic in the area and the potential for visible smoke on Friday, June 29. For more information, please contact Public Information Officers Chiara Cipriano, (541) 731-4427, or Jim Gersbach, (503) 945-7425.

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Note to media:
This opportunity offers access to both trainee and experienced firefighters as they prepare for the 2018 fire season. However, we require 24-hour notice of your intent to participate, as all media must be accompanied by an agency escort and have personal protective equipment (see list below).
 
Personal protective equipment includes:

  • Nomex pants
  • Long-sleeve Nomex shirt
  • Gloves
  • Hard hat
  • Vibram-soled leather boots

Protective equipment (excluding boots) may be available for media to borrow. Please contact Chiara Cipriano to make arrangements.

Three ODF fire protection districts from the coast to the Cascades enter fire season - 06/21/18

SALEM, Ore. — Three Oregon Department of Forestry fire protection districts from the mid-coast through the southern Willamette Valley to the crest of the Cascades entered fire season on Thursday, June 21. ODF-protected lands covered by the declaration include state, private, county, and city forestland, as well as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in western Oregon.

The West Oregon, Western Lane and South Cascade districts protect lands in Benton, Lane, Lincoln, Polk, southern Linn County and a portion of northwest Douglas County.

An unusually dry May and early June prompted the declarations.

 “We’ve received a couple shots of rain recently, but that doesn’t make up for the dry spring we’ve experienced this year. The result is that we are a couple weeks ahead of where we traditionally are regarding fuel moistures and fire conditions in the forest,” said Western Lane District Forester Link Smith.

Chris Cline is district forester for ODF’s South Cascade District based in Springfield. He said fuel moistures in eastern Lane and southern Linn counties are already similar to what they historically would be for the beginning of July. “We look carefully at local conditions in determining when to declare the start of fire season. What they are telling us is that in our district it is now dry enough for wildfires that do start to have the potential to spread more rapidly.”

As of June 20, more than 200 wildfires were reported on ODF-protected lands throughout Oregon. These burned just over 200 acres. More than 80% of those fires were caused by people. In light of those numbers, West Oregon District Forester Mike Totey said, “Most wildfires at this time of year are triggered by people, so they are almost entirely preventable with some foresight. An activity that might be low risk when vegetation is thoroughly soaked and humidity is high could ignite a wildfire when longer hours of sunlight, warmth and relatively light rainfall have started drying those fuels out.”

Fire restrictions in ODF districts vary somewhat. To find out what restrictions are in place at any given location, go online to ODF’s statewide fire restrictions and closures page at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx or call the ODF office below that is nearest:

  • Western Lane (Veneta) – 541-935-2222
  • West Oregon (Philomath) – 541-929-6300 and press 1
  • South Cascade – (Springfield) – 541-726-3588 and press 2

Six other ODF districts and forest protective associations in southern and eastern Oregon have been in fire season since earlier this month due to warm, dry conditions that have elevated fire risk.

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Firefighters faced steep terrain when responding to a fire overnight near Mitchell Point west of Hood River
Firefighters faced steep terrain when responding to a fire overnight near Mitchell Point west of Hood River
ODF responds to fire overnight near Mitchell Point in the Columbia Gorge (Photo) - 06/21/18

ODF's Central Oregon District is responding to a fire that started overnight on state parkland in the Columbia River Gorge near Mitchell Point in Hood River County. The fire is estimated at less than one acre and is burning on steep terrain not far from the footprint of last year's Eagle Creek Fire. Spread of the fire has been stopped. Two ODF engines responded to the along with 2 fire engines from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and an engine each from the City of Hood River Fire Department and the Westside Fire Department. Cause of the fire is not yet known.

The Oregon Department of Transportation temporarily closed the right eastbound lane of Interstate 84 in that area as a precaution. Please use care when traveling through the area.

ODF, Forest Service announce first timber sale under Good Neighbor Authority on Fremont-Winema Forest - 06/19/18

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Forestry and the USDA Forest Service jointly announced today the award of the first timber sale contract under the Good Neighbor Authority (GNA).

The sale is part of the Paddock Butte GNA restoration project on the Fremont-Winema National Forest and represents the first ODF-administered timber sale under the GNA. The Paddock Butte timber sale was awarded to Ore-Cal Land Development, LLC of Klamath Falls, and the contract signed on June 6.

Governor Kate Brown and Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Jim Peña signed a Master Agreement in March 2016 to execute the Good Neighbor Agreement in Oregon. Under GNA, which was authorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill, state agencies work in partnership with the USDA Forest Service to implement restoration projects on federal lands.

Chad Davis, Director of the ODF Partnership & Planning Program, said that GNA is an integral component of the department’s Federal Forest Restoration Program, first initiated by the state legislature in 2013.

“GNA allows us to significantly ramp up our partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to increase the pace, scale and quality of restoration. The Paddock Butte project is a prime example of the work needed to improve forest health to increase the resiliency of our fire-prone forests to uncharacteristic wildfire and invasive species,” Davis said.

The Paddock Butte timber sale is 637 acres of ponderosa pine on National Forest System lands in Klamath County on the Bly Ranger District and within the ODF Klamath-Lake District.  The sale area is surrounded on three sides by private land and is located north of Gerber Reservoir.

The Paddock Butte GNA project is more than a timber sale. It permits activities to treat insect and disease-infected trees, reduce hazardous fuels, and other treatments to restore or improve forest, rangeland and watershed health, including wildlife habitat.

“Paddock Butte embodies the spirit of GNA,” said USDA Forest Service Lakeview and Bly District Ranger Mike Ramsey. “It’s an area where restoration and fuel reduction work is already occurring on private and other government lands. If the Forest Service land was left untreated, that has the potential to intensify the effects of a wildfire and undermine all the valuable restoration work being done by other landowners.”

Typically timber revenues on federal lands would return to the federal agency.  A benefit to GNA is that ODF can administer the timber sale and use the resulting funds to recover their administrative costs and fund additional restoration activities, including invasive weed treatments and juniper removal.

Public in the area may see increased traffic in the area during the timber harvest and subsequent fuel reduction, including the application of prescribed fire, and other restoration treatments.

The Paddock Butte sale and restoration project was identified as a high priority treatment area by the Klamath-Lake Forest Health Partnership, the Oregon Department of Forestry's Klamath-Lake District, and the Fremont-Winema National Forest.                    

For more information on the Paddock Butte project or the Fremont-Winema National Forest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema, follow the forest on Twitter @FremontWinemaNF or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/R6FWNF.

For more information on the Oregon Department of Forestry: www.oregon.gov/ODF/pages/index.aspx, on Twitter via @ORDeptForestry or on Facebook via @oregondepartmentofforestry.