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.