Saturday, August 12, 2017

Recent lightning activity

While it may look like a messy finger paint picture...each in the picture below represents a ground strike from the last 24 hours. ~1500 strikes in Oregon since yesterday, starting many new fires across the landscape. Pink are the newest strikes, <1 hour then red, gold, blue, purple with black being 16-24 hours old. These thunderstorms will keep firefighters busy for the next few days, chasing holdover or sleeper fires started by these lightning strikes, as well as the fires they are battling today.
Fire danger throughout the region is extreme. Precipitation from these thunderstorms is not enough to mitigate the record fuel conditions and reduce the risk of rapid fire spread. With firefighting resources being scarce, every new fire on the landscape stresses the complete and coordinated fire suppression system. This means every new fire is harder to stop than the last one.
Preventing the fires we can is our first priority. Being mindful of activities which can cause fires, and being vigilant with your actions is needed.#knowbeforeyougo... we hear this all the time, what does it mean? It means call your local Oregon Department of ForestryU.S. Forest ServiceBureau of Land Management - Oregon, fire department, or county office to find out what the current fire danger is and what activities are restricted including activities at home. #Prevention #KeepOregonGreen #Thankyou

Thursday, August 3, 2017

ODF increases fire restrictions in central Oregon

[Prineville, Ore.] Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on August 3, 2017 Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District will increase restrictions intended to reduce human caused fires.  Hot dry temperatures throughout central Oregon have dried fuels to record levels, making new fire starts difficult to control.  Over the last week fires across the region have challenged firefighters and strained resources.  “We are looking to reduce the potential of any new fires on the landscape,” explains District Forester Mike Shaw, “we strongly encourage you to follow current fire restrictions and be mindful of all activities in the woods.”

Activities below are restricted by this closure.  The increased restrictions limit activities such as mowing, chainsaw use and welding between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. when temperatures are hot and humidity is low.  Additional restrictions and the full proclamation can be accessed at www.Oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx

Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling in a motorized vehicle, except on federal and state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher, except all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles which must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.
Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.
Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas.
Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.  Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher.  In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
Mowing of dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner upon their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood.
The use of fireworks and blasting is prohibited.

The public is also reminded that the use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the District during fire season.  As of January 1, 2017 sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.

Year to date for 2017 human caused fires have accounted for thirty-seven of the fifty-six fires in the Central Oregon District.  Following Regulated Closure restrictions can reduce ignitions and limit damage to our natural resources including air, water, and soil.  For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Restrictions for lands protected by ODF in central Oregon increase as fire danger rises

[Prineville, Ore.] Regulated Closure restrictions will take effect Friday, June 30, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. for lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in central Oregon. These lands include private, municipal and state lands protected by the Central Oregon District. Warm summer temperatures over the last few weeks have dried forest fuels, increasing fire behavior and the potential for rapid fire growth throughout the District. Recent lightning activity has kept firefighters busy, but of greater concern is the increase in human caused fires in the last week. Kiel Nairns, Assistant Unit Forester in The Dalles, explains “Firefighting resources working to put out preventable human caused fires contributes to long term fatigue and could prevent firefighters from being able to respond in a timely manner to some of the lightning fires. These preventable fires also increase unnecessary exposure and risk to our firefighters.” The intent of the Regulated Closure is to reduce human caused fires by restricting high probability activities.
 
Activities below are restricted by this closure. Additional restrictions and the full proclamation can be accessed at www.Oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx
 
  • Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling in a motorized vehicle, except on federal and state highways, county roads and driveways: one shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher, except all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles which must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.
  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.
  • Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas.
  • Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
  • Mowing of dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner upon their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood.
  • The use of fireworks and blasting is prohibited.
Beginning July 1, 2017 open burning including burn barrels in Hood River and Wasco counties will be prohibited.
 
The public is also reminded that the use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the District during fire season. As of January 1, 2017 sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.
 
Year to date for 2017 human caused fires have accounted for two-thirds of the fires in the Central Oregon District. Following Regulated Closure restrictions can reduce ignitions and limit damage to our natural resources including air, water, and soil. For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fire Season begins in central Oregon for lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry

[Prineville, Ore.]  Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District (COD) is implementing fire season at 12:01 am on June 7, 2017.  Good winter snowpack delayed the on-set of fire season compared to recent years, however limited spring precipitation and seasonable temperatures have dried wildland fuels.  Adam Barnes, Prineville Assistant Unit Forester explains, “Following a relatively dry May we are seeing fires becoming resistant to control efforts and requiring additional resources to contain.”  Larger fuels are less susceptible to rain showers and will continue to dry with warmer temperatures, making it more difficult for firefighters to gain a handle on any new fire starts.


Abandoned campfires account for ~10% of all wildfires
in 2016 in the Central Oregon District. All preventable.

Landowners are encouraged to check burn piles/areas which were burned earlier this spring or late last fall for any hold-over heat.  With implementation of fire season, burn permits issued earlier this spring may not be valid, check with your local ODF office before burning.  Industrial slash and debris burning will no longer be allowed on ODF protected lands.  In addition to these restrictions, 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.  Recent changes to these requirements are available at www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/pages/FirePrevention.aspx.  Contact your local stewardship forester for more information.

Recreationists are asked to put fire prevention into practice and be deliberate with your actions.  Make sure campfires are DEAD OUT!  Never leave a fire unattended.  Clear the area around your campfire, removing flammable material outside the campfire.  Fully extinguish cigarettes and properly dispose of them.  The public is also reminded that the use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the District during fire season.  As of January 1, 2017 sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.

In 2016 human caused fires accounted for 75% of the fires in the Central Oregon District.  Following fire season restrictions and prevention tips can reduce these ignitions and causing less damage to our natural resources including air, water, and soil.  For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Burning on ODF protected lands in John Day Unit prohibited until fall

Effective immediately all  debris and slash burning on lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) John Day Unit is prohibited.  This includes private ownership in Grant, Morrow, Gilliam, Harney, Umatilla, and Wheeler counties which are part of ODF’s Central Oregon District.  Fuel conditions and changing weather patterns have increased the risk of rapid fire spread from uncontrolled fires.  If you have questions regarding burning on land protected by ODF in the John Day Unit please call 541-575-1139.

Last year in an effort to improve efficiency in the John Day Unit and to streamline burning options for landowners ODF implemented a process where burn permits from ODF are not required when the risk of fire spread is limited and fire season is not in effect.  Following fire season, the John Day Unit will again open burning for landowners to dispose of yard debris, fuel reduction material, and harvesting slash.
This burn ban does not apply to campfires, however following these tips will help reduce the risk of an uncontrolled fire resulting from a campfire:
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Keep the campfire small and manageable.
  • Have water and a shovel available.
  • Clear the area around the campfire to mineral soil.
  • Drown your campfire with water and stir until it is cold to touch to extinguish
  • Report any uncontrolled fire to 9-1-1.
Additional information can be found on ODF’s Fire Prevention webpage:  http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/pages/FirePrevention.aspx
 
Uncontrolled fire, or burning without a permit or during a closed burn season can result in citations and fines, as well as liability for any costs associated with suppression of the fire.  Consider alternatives to burning such as chipping, composting and debris removal programs through your local landfill. 
 
Contact information for local ODF Offices can be found on the District’s webpage:  www.ODFcentraloregon.com