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Fire-Related News - 2006

Local & regional news releases, articles & Info

A chronological listing, with excerpts & links, for 2006

November 2nd, 2006 - ODF News Release Bulletin

FIRE SEASON ENDS ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

The text of ODF's announcement follows:

November 2, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

FIRE SEASON ENDS ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

The Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District declared an end to the 2006 fire season today. This declaration affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties. Current and predicted rainfall is sufficient to lower the public-use fire danger level to “Low.” All public-use restrictions and fire season-related closures on industrial operations are removed as of 7:00 a.m. today.

Debris pile and barrel burning is now allowed on ODF-protected lands. However, open burning is regulated for air quality in all of Jackson County, and in the Rogue Basin Open Burn Control Area in Josephine County. Before starting a burn, call the open burning advisory number for your county:

-- Jackson County, 776-7007
-- Josephine County, 476-9663

Some city fire departments and rural fire protection districts have additional restrictions, or may require a burning permit. Call your local structural fire service provider before burning.

Fire season on the Southwest Oregon District began May 24. As of Oct. 29, 220 fires occurred on ODF-protected lands, burning nearly 156 acres -- significantly fewer than the 10-year average of 5,170 acres. Sixty-nine of the district’s fires this year were caused by equipment, a category that includes vehicles, power lines, mowers, chain saws and other power-driven devices. Additionally, lightning caused 48 fires and debris burning caused 24 fires.

The Medford Airtanker Base also was home to one of the Oregon Department of Forestry’s two airtankers during the 2006 fire season. Airtanker 62, a DC-7 contracted from Butler Aviation, was used statewide on 21 fires, on which it dropped 170,633 gallons of retardant. Locally, Airtanker 62 was credited with keeping the 10-acre Barnett Road Fire from damaging several homes, slowing the 8-acre Vestal Butte Fire until firefighters could drive into the remote fire scene, and keeping the 2-acre Milepost 58 Fire (adjacent to Interstate 5) from racing up a grass- and oak-covered hillside to where homes were located.

Southwest Oregon District fire season statistics and open burning information are posted on the World Wide Web at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml

Information is also available at the Southwest Oregon District office in your area:
-- Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
-- Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

 

October 19th, 2006 - ODF News Release:

PILE AND BARREL BURNING STILL NOT ALLOWED ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

October 19, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Brian Ballou (541) 665-0662 or (541) 621-4156

PILE AND BARREL BURNING STILL NOT ALLOWED ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

Burning debris piles and the use of burn barrels are not allowed in Jackson and Josephine counties because fire season is still in effect on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. On Sunday, Oct. 15, ODF’s Southwest Oregon District dropped the fire danger level to moderate (blue) and removed public-use restrictions on chain saws, mowing, welding and the grinding of metal, smoking, and the use of vehicles off of improved roads. Restrictions on campfires were also lifted.

Restrictions on open burning were not lifted because recent rainfall was relatively light in some of the low-elevation areas where open burning commonly occurs, such as the Illinois and Applegate river valleys. More rainfall in the valley areas is necessary before fire season can be declared over in ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

So far this year, 23 fires were caused by open burning on ODF-protected lands.

For information about public-use restrictions on national forest lands, contact the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

-- Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
-- Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is also posted on the World Wide Web at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml

###

 

October 2nd, 2006 - ODF News Bulletin:

ODF Southwest Oregon District IFPL, Public Use Levels Change

The text of ODF's announcement is as follows:

Effective today, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level is I (one) in all zones within the jurisdiction of ODF's Southwest Oregon District (state, private, county and BLM lands). Industrial operators are required to have fire suppression equipment on site, and provide watchman service.

Also, the public use restrictions have eased in the ODF-protected portion of the Rogue River Wild and Scenic Area, between Grave Creek and Marial. Beginning today:

-- Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in boats on the water, and on sand or gravel bars which lay between water and high water marks which are free of vegetation.

-- Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires. Campfires built in fire pans or on fire blankets are allowed on sand or gravel bars which lay between water and high water marks which are free of vegetation.

-- Possession of the following fire fighting equipment is required while traveling: one shovel and a one gallon or larger bucket.

-- The use of fireworks is prohibited.

For more information, see the Southwest Oregon District Fire Protection web page at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml

You may also contact the Medford Unit office at (541) 664-3328, or the Grants Pass Unit office at (541) 474-3152.

Brian Ballou
Wildland/Urban Interface Specialist
Southwest Oregon District
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
(541) 665-0662
bballou@odf.state.or.us


September 28th, 2006 - ODF News Release Bulletin

FIRE CREWS ON ALERT AS RIFLE SEASON BEGINS: The ODF issued a reminder to hunters of the fire danger, with continued public use restrictions.

The full text of ODF's press release of Sept. 28th, 2006 is as follows:

September 28, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock Rd - Medford, OR 97502

ROGUE RIVER-SISKIYOU NATIONAL FOREST
Supervisor’s Office
333 West 8th Street, PO Box 520
Medford, Oregon 97501

Contact: Patty Burel, USFS, (541) 858- 2211 or (541) 941-4268
Brian Ballou, ODF, (541) 665-0662 or (541) 621-4156

FIRE CREWS ON ALERT AS RIFLE SEASON BEGINS

Wildfire danger in southwest Oregon’s forests is high and hunters are reminded to be careful while camping, hiking or driving through the woods. September and October are high-risk months because grasses, weeds, fallen needles and leaves are fully dried and will ignite easily. A sudden afternoon breeze can easily turn a smoldering cigarette or abandoned warming fire into a large, potentially destructive wildfire.

Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds, and campfires must always be fully extinguished before leaving a campsite or going to bed. Keep a shovel, ax and a water supply within easy reach of the campfire.

Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads, and smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle, building or designated campsite.

Chain saw use is prohibited on National Forest lands, but allowed on state, private and Bureau of Land Management lands except between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Users must have an ax, shovel and fire extinguisher on-site, and provide a one-hour fire watch after using the saw.

To report a fire, call 9-1-1.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

-- Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
-- Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is posted on the World Wide Web at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml

The Forest Service encourages hunters to be aware of their location and to know the rules for firearm use in and around recreation areas. Some personal-use restrictions are still in effect that limits campfires and smoking on National Forest System lands. Area closures may also be in effect on portions of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in order to ensure public safety. .

Please contact your local ranger district office for more information and map prior to travel on National Forest Lands. More information about the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is also posted on the World Wide Web at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/rogue-siskiyou/

###

View ODF's original September 28th, 2006, document, "FIRE CREWS ON ALERT AS RIFLE SEASON BEGINS" (PDF file format)

 

September 15th, 2006 - ODF News Bulletin:

FIRE DANGER DROPS ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

As of Friday, September 15th, due to the cooler weather and precipitation, the ODF lowered the posted fire danger level and decreased some public use restrictions.

The full text of ODF's announcement is as follows:

September 15, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contacts: Greg Alexander, Medford Unit Forester, (541) 664-3328
Rick Dryer, Grants Pass Unit Forester, (541) 474-3152

FIRE DANGER DROPS ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

The Oregon Department of Forestry decreased its fire danger restrictions in Jackson and Josephine counties today because of cool, wet weather. The revised restrictions are effective immediately and apply to state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District.

The public use fire danger level is “high” (yellow) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is II (two). Fire restriction changes also affect the portion of the Rogue River Wild & Scenic Area between Grave Creek and Marial, where the fire danger level is also “high” (yellow).

Residents are reminded that debris burning is not permitted until the end of fire season.

Here is a summary of the public use fire danger restrictions now in effect:
-- Debris burning, including burn barrels, is prohibited.
-- Fireworks are prohibited.
-- Camp fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This restriction includes charcoal-fired barbecues; however, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.

-- Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads.
-- Smoking is allowed only in a vehicle and only while on an improved road.
-- Chain saw use is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. During other hours, users must have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher on-site, and provide a one-hour fire watch after using the saw.

-- Mowing dry grass, except for agricultural purposes such as cutting hay, is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

-- Cutting, grinding or welding metal is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. During other hours, a water supply must be present at the work site and work may proceed only in a cleared area.

Here is a summary of the restrictions on industrial operations under IFPL II:
-- The use of fire in any form is prohibited
-- The use of power saws is prohibited, except at loading sites, between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
-- The use of cable yarders is prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
-- Blasting is prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
-- Welding or cutting of metal is prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
-- Fire suppression equipment must be on-site and watchman service must be provided

Below is a summary of the fire danger restrictions now in effect in the Wild and Scenic Area of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial:

-- Smoking is prohibited except in boats on the water, and on vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars.
-- Open fires are prohibited, including camp fires, cooking fires and warming fires. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels, and charcoal fires for cooking and built in raised fire pans, are allowed on vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars.

-- Travelers shall carry a shovel and bucket (one-gallon size).
-- Fireworks are prohibited.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

-- Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
-- Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is also posted on the World Wide Web at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml

###

 

September 6, 2006 - ODF News Bulletin:

JOSEPHINE COUNTY FORESTLAND-URBAN INTERFACE CLASSIFICATION COMMITTEE MEETING

On Sept. 6, 2006, the ODF announced that the JOSEPHINE COUNTY FORESTLAND-URBAN INTERFACE CLASSIFICATION COMMITTEE MEETS SEPT. 11th, at 1:00 p.m., at the Josephine County Search & Rescue Bldg., 250 Tech Way, Grants Pass.

The committee will continue drafting maps of Josephine County lands that meet criteria described in the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act of 1997, which is also known as Senate Bill 360.

The committee focuses on developed urban and suburban lands that are 10 acres in size or smaller, and which are grouped with other lots with similar characteristics. Owners of these lands will be required to reduce potentially flammable vegetation around structures and along driveways.

For more information about the committee and the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act, contact Brian Ballou, Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire prevention specialist, at (541) 665-0662.

###

September 4, 2006 - By Paris Achen - Mail Tribune (Medford, OR.)

Reduced to rubble:  Stunned Callahan's owners remain unsure on whether to rebuild; displaced wedding party relocates for nuptials at Lithia Park

Excerpt:

[photo cap:] "The backdrop for the wedding — a green knoll crowned by a black wrought iron archway over a white runner rolled out for the bride and her maids — remained in place Sunday next to the charred ruins of Callahan's Siskiyou Lodge near Mount Ashland.

"While the 59-year-old landmark off Interstate 5 was destroyed in a fire Saturday, the synergism of the Ashland community allowed the displaced wedding for Amber Hall, 25, and Ed Blews, 24, of Redding, to go forward in Lithia Park, just three hours after the blaze at the lodge ignited.

"No one was injured in the fire, which burned the lodge to the ground Saturday.

"Jackson County Fire District 5 continued to investigate the source of the fire, which is suspected to have started in the kitchen.

"On Sunday, only two chimneys, a waterfall that used to stand next to the deck and the garden, where the wedding was to take place, remained of the lodge..."

 

September 4, 2006 - Mail Tribune (Medford, OR.)

Firefighters quell two small I-5 fires Sunday

Excerpt:  "Two simultaneous fires erupted in the brush along Interstate 5 North near milepost 23 Sunday threatening two homes on Fern Valley Road and sending smoke over Southern Oregon's main thoroughfare..."

 

September 3, 2006 - By Chris Conrad - Mail Tribune (Medford, OR.)

Excerpt:

[photo cap:] "The intensity of heat from the Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge fire on Saturday afternoon kept firefighters well back. The 59-year-old landmark burned to the ground." (Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli)

Callahan's Destroyed:  Afternoon fire levels Rogue Valley landmark; no injuries reported

"A pair of charred stone chimneys is all that's left of a Rogue Valley icon after a Saturday afternoon blaze leveled Callahan's Siskiyou Lodge just south of Ashland off Interstate 5.

"No one was injured in the fire, which spread quickly throughout the 59-year-old all-wood lodge and restaurant. Early indications point to the blaze sparking in the kitchen, Jackson County Fire District 5 Chief Dan Marshall said.

"...The three-alarm blaze sent firefighters from across the valley scrambling. It proved a challenge initially as the hot weather, remote water access and traffic combined to hamper early efforts to save the building, Marshall said.

"Fire crews quickly switched to a defensive strategy in an attempt to save a nearby house ...

"Water access was a problem throughout the afternoon, as the nearest hydrant sat eight miles away at the south Ashland I-5 exit. Water hauling trucks had to fill up there and charge up the Siskiyou Summit in Labor Day traffic to keep a steady water supply.

"...A large chunk of the wood building succumbed to the flames at around 3:45 p.m..."

 

August 21, 2006 - ODF News Release:

CONTINUED DRY WEATHER INCREASES FIRE DANGER

The text of ODF's news release follows:

August 21, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contacts: Greg Alexander, Medford Unit Forester, (541) 664-3328
Rick Dryer, Grants Pass Unit Forester, (541) 474-3152

CONTINUED DRY WEATHER INCREASES FIRE DANGER

The Oregon Department of Forestry is increasing fire danger restrictions in Jackson and Josephine counties as of Wednesday, August 23. These changes affect both public and industrial activities on forestlands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District, which includes state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management lands.

The public use fire danger level remains “extreme” (red) but the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) climbs to Level III (three).

Continued hot and dry weather throughout southwest Oregon is significantly increasing the danger that wildfires could start in any part of the Southwest Oregon District, from the grassy river valleys to the higher-elevation forestlands. The restrictions target activities that commonly cause wildfires on these lands.

Here is a summary of the public fire danger restrictions taking effect as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, August 23:
-- Debris burning, including burn barrels, is prohibited.
-- Fireworks are prohibited.
-- Camp fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This restriction includes charcoal-fired barbecues; however, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.

-- Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads.
-- Smoking is allowed only in a vehicle and only while on an improved road.
-- Chain saw use is prohibited
-- Mowing dry grass, except for agricultural purposes such as cutting hay, is prohibited
-- Cutting, grinding or welding metal is prohibited

Here is a summary of the restrictions on industrial operations under IFPL III taking effect as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, August 23:

-- Use of Fire – The use of fire in any form is prohibited.
-- Partial Shutdown – The following are prohibited except as indicated:
-- Cable yarding – except that gravity operated logging systems employing non-motorized carriages may operate between 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., when all blocks and moving lines are suspended 10 feet above the ground except the line between the carriage and the chokers.

-- Power saws – except power saws may be used at loading sites and on tractor or skidder operations between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., local time.

-- In addition, the following are permitted only between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., local time:
-- Tractor, skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, and shovel logging operations; where equipment with a blade capable of constructing fireline is immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire.

-- Mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material.
-- Blasting.
-- Welding or cutting of metal.
-- Any spark emitting operation not specifically mentioned

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

-- Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
-- Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is also posted on the World Wide Web at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml

###

 

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 - ODF News Release Bulletin:

August 8, 2006 - 6:27 p.m.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SW OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Brian Ballou, ODF fire prevention spec., (541) 665-0662 or 621-4156

ODF FIRE UPDATE

AIR ATTACK STOPS SARDINE CREEK FIRE AT TWO ACRES

A grass and brush fire broke out this afternoon 1.5 miles north of Gold Hill and blackened 2 acres in the Sardine Creek area. ODF Medford Unit firefighters ordered two loads of retardant from Airtanker 62, stationed at Medford Airtanker Base, that kept the fire moving into heavier fuel. Additional air support, including bucket drops of water, was supplied by a light helicopter and a heavy helicopter. Crews from four engines moved in after the retardant drop and established a wet line around the fire's edge.

Southwest Oregon District firefighters responded to 28 fires caused by lightning storms Sunday and Monday. Twenty-three of the fires were in the Medford Unit and 5 were in the Grants Pass Unit's protection area. Most of the fires are smaller than 0.25 acre.

The two largest fires produced by the lightning storms are the Humbug and Vestal Butte fires. Each was contained at 10 acres.

Fire updates are posted at http://www.firemaps.org/

###

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 - ODF News Release Bulletin:

August 8, 2006 - 8:20 a.m.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SW OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Brian Ballou, ODF fire prevention spec., (541) 665-0662 or 621-4156

ODF FIRE UPDATE

VESTAL BUTTE FIRE HELD AT 10 ACRES

Fire crews worked through the night on the 10-acre Vestal Butte Fire, located 3 miles southeast of Shady Cove, completing a fire line and laying hoses. Today, a 20-person crew is assigned to the fire to mop up smokes.

ODF's Southwest Oregon District had approximately 30 smokes reported between late Sunday, Aug. 6, and last night, resulting in more than 20 fires. The largest are the Vestal Butte Fire and the 10-acre Humbug Fire, located northeast of Applegate. A few of the remaining fires are 2-3 acres in size, but most are smaller than 0.25 acre. On the fires that have been found, firefighters have dug fire lines and extinguished fires. Most of the fires have been located in remote, forested areas.

Lookouts and reconnaissance aircraft are watching today for additional smokes, and crews and engines are available for immediate dispatch.

The Southwest Oregon District protects 1.8 million acres of state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management lands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Fire updates are posted at http://www.firemaps.org/

###

Monday, August 7, 2006 - ODF News Release Bulletin:

August 7, 2006 - 1:45 p.m.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SW OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Brian Ballou, ODF fire prevention spec., (541) 665-0662 or 621-4156

ODF FIRE UPDATE

HUMBUG FIRE 60 PERCENT CONTAINED

Firefighters on the Humbug Fire, located 2.5 miles northeast of Applegate, report the fire is 60 percent contained and the acreage has been revised to 10 acres. Some of the fire-fighting resources are being released to be available for other assignments. Also, the 0.5-acre fire in the Galls Creek area has a fire line around it and firefighters are mopping up smokes.

Smokes continue to be reported by lookouts and aircraft. Most of the fires on ODF-protected lands are in the Butte Falls, Prospect, Anderson Butte, Gold Hill, East Evans Creek and Elk Creek areas. None of the reported fires are larger than two acres and firefighters are either on-scene or traveling to the fires. Helicopters have assisted firefighters by dropping water on hot spots. The airtanker based at Medford was used this morning on the Humbug Fire.

More lightning is expected today throughout southwest Oregon.

Fire updates are posted at http://www.firemaps.org/

###

Monday, August 7, 2006 - ODF News Release Bulletin:

August 7, 2006 - 2:48 p.m.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SW OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Brian Ballou, ODF fire prevention spec., (541) 665-0662 or 621-4156

ODF FIRE UPDATE

THREE 20-PERSON CREWS ORDERED FOR VESTAL BUTTE FIRE

A wildfire on Vestal Butte, located 3 miles southeast of Shady Cove, is estimated at 15 acres. Two airtankers and a National Guard helicopter are committed to the fire, and three 20-person crews are ordered. Two bulldozers are also on the way to the fire scene. The specific cause of the fire is undetermined, but lightning caused numerous fires throughout the county late Sunday.

The fire is burning on land within ODF's Medford Unit. Both private forestland and Bureau of Land Management lands are in the fire area.

Elsewhere, a 20-person is on order for a fire in the Elk Creek area. The fire is estimated at 2 acres, but has potential for growth due to heavy fuel.

Fire updates are posted at http://www.firemaps.org/

###

 

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006 - ODF News Release Bulletin:

FIRE DANGER EXTREME ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

The content is reproduced in full here as follows:

August 2, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contacts: Greg Alexander, ODF Medford Unit Forester, (541) 664-3328
Rick Dryer, ODF Grants Pass Unit Forester, (541) 474-3152

FIRE DANGER EXTREME ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

The public use fire danger level on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District climbs to “extreme” (red) at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 4. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) remains at Level II (two).

Fire precaution levels assigned by the Southwest Oregon District, located in Medford, affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The district has unit offices in Medford and Grants Pass.

Continued hot, dry weather throughout southwestern Oregon has significantly increased the probably that wildfires could threaten residential areas and forestlands. Many of the wildfires that have occurred in recent weeks on ODF-protected lands have been started by abandoned camp fires and escaped debris-burning fires. As of July 31, 102 fires have burned 102 acres. Only eight of these fires were caused by lightning.

Here is a summary of public use restrictions currently in effect:
-- Debris burning, including burn barrels, is prohibited.
-- Fireworks are prohibited.
-- Camp fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This restriction includes charcoal-fired barbecues; however, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.

-- Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads.
-- Smoking is allowed only in a vehicle and only while on an improved road.

Beginning [Friday], August 4, these additional public use fire restrictions will be in effect:
-- The following activities will be disallowed between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.:
-- Chain saw use. During other hours, users must have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher on-site, and provide a one-hour fire watch after using the saw.

-- Mowing dry grass (except for agricultural purposes, such as cutting hay).
-- Cutting, grinding or welding metal. During other hours, a water supply must be present at the work site and work may proceed only in a cleared area.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

-- Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
-- Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is also posted on the World Wide Web at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml

###

 

Thurs. July 27, 2006 - 10:12 AM PDT - (AP link via The Mail Tribune)

Help dispatched to help Oregon firefighters

Excerpt: "PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Firefighters in Oregon battled half a dozen large fires on Thursday and got news that help was coming..."

Wed. July 26, 2006 - By Paul Fattig, Mail Tribune in Medford, OR.

Sky Lakes forest fire grows to 20 acres

Excerpt: "BUTTE FALLS — ...The Boulder fire, sparked by lightning Sunday evening, has grown to about 20 acres.

"Another 20-person fire crew is battling the five-acre Rock fire in the forest near the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness north of Prospect, he said...

"Because of the heat wave, anyone venturing out into the forest should use extreme caution and be aware of the potential for wildfires, Galloway said.

"Fires sparked by lightning, particularly if the area is drenched by a thunderstorm, often smolder for a few days before taking off..."

 

Wed. 26 July 2006 - 8:24 AM PDT- (AP link via The Mail Tribune)

Lightning sparks fires in Oregon grass, timber

Excerpt: "PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Lightning-sparked fires grew across Central and Eastern Oregon Wednesday..."

 

Tues. 25 July 2006 - By Paul Fattig, Mail Tribune

Lightning triggers a half-dozen wildfires - Fire crews attack the remote, mostly small forest fires

Excerpt: "A lightning storm Sunday night sparked half a dozen wildfires in the mountains ringing the Rogue Valley.

"All of the fires were small and occurred in remote areas. None threatened structures.

"Five of the fires were burning in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, including three in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. The largest of the wilderness fires was the nine-acre Boulder Fire...

"More than 6,000 lightning strikes were recorded in Oregon and far Northern California during the 24-hour period ending late Monday morning, officials said..."

 

Sat. 22 July 2006 - By ANITA BURKE, Mail Tribune

This time, we beat the heat

Excerpt: "Remnants of thunderstorms that rocked Reno on Thursday rolled into the Rogue Valley Friday, blocking extreme heat and dry lightning that forecasters had predicted...

Without the afternoon heat, the danger of thunderstorms dissipated and the weather service dropped its red flag warning about 3 p.m.

Still, with the heat's return expected today, Gov. Ted Kulongoski declared a state emergency Friday to prepare for the wildfire threat posed by the forecast and expected lightning strikes in the mountains...

Back at the National Weather Service office, where predicting the weather is their job, Nelaimischkies said the cloud cover could trap some heat in the valley overnight, giving today's heat a head start. The clouds should break up this morning, so the full force of the summer sun will be back.

The forecast predicts a high of 105 today and 106 Sunday, with clouds building in the afternoon and evening each day. No precipitation is expected.

Temperatures likely will remain in the triple digits through Wednesday."

 

Fri. 21 July 2006. By Paul Fattig for the Mail Tribune

Officials worry over heat, health and fires

Excerpt: "Forecasts call for broiling afternoons with temperatures in triple figures through Monday... The scorching heat coupled with humidity levels in the parched 15-20 percent range have created an explosive fire situation...

The ODF has contracted air tankers at the Medford and Redmond airports, and two light helicopters based in the two counties along with 100 seasonal ODF firefighters.

Augmenting firefighting aircraft already based in Southwest Oregon are two National Guard C-130s adapted to drop fire retardant on wildfires. The two aircraft, each equipped with the modular airborne firefighting system (MAFFS) which can carry 2,500 gallons of retardant, went online this morning for what could be up to a 30-day deployment.

The aircraft, from the 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard from Charlotte, N.C., will provide initial attack support in Oregon...

Their deployment had been requested by the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise because of worsening weather conditions in the region, Knappenberger said.

There is the potential for dry thunderstorms, which produce fire-starting lightning without drenching rains, rumbling into the Klamath Basin beginning today, officials said. Thorpe is concerned a few thunderstorms could rear their sizzling heads in the southeast portion of the Jackson County on Saturday..."

 

Fri. 21 July 2006 - By TIM FOUGHT - Associated Press Writer (AP link via The Mail Tribune)

Governor declares emergency as firefighters wait for lightning

Excerpt: "PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Gov. Ted Kulongoski declared a state emergency Friday to prepare for the wildfire threat posed by record heat and expected lightning strikes in the mountains.

The order allows a National Guard Fire Hawk helicopter to be readied for rapid and effective forest fire response, and coordinate the use of state resources with the Oregon Department of Forestry and other firefighters, the governor's office said...

Meanwhile, forecasters expected dry lightning to move north along the Cascade Range...

The lightning worried officials at the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, which dispatches firefighters, because vegetation has dried out in recent days as the heat wave that has spread 100-degree-plus temperatures over Oregon continued to parch trees and grass...

Mills said two 20-person "hotshot" crews were moving south from Washington state to Oregon as part of a strategy to strengthen firefighting capability where weather forecasts showed dangerous conditions..."

 

Thurs. 20 July 2006. By John Darling for the Mail Tribune

Heat on the horizon

Excerpt: "The National Weather Service office in Medford issued a special weather statement warning of extreme heat starting Friday and continuing through the weekend. The advisory said such heat can be life-threatening... A stationary high pressure system over the Nevada-Utah border is causing the extreme heat here, the weather service said. Highs are predicted to reach 104 today, climb to 108 on Friday, peak at 110 on Saturday, then edge back to 108 on Sunday..."

Thurs. 20 July 2006. By the Mail Tribune

Tips for trying to beat the heat

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006 - announced by Brian Ballou of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry

Fire danger climbs on ODF-protected lands

Reproduced here in full:

July 12, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Greg Alexander, (541) 664-3328, Rick Dryer, (541) 474-3152

FIRE DANGER CLIMBS ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

The public use fire danger level on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District climbs to “high” (yellow) at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 14. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) remains at Level I.

The fire danger level has been “moderate” since fire season was declared on May 24.

Fire precaution levels assigned by the Southwest Oregon District, located in Medford, affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The district has unit offices in Medford and Grants Pass.

The number of fires on the district has been steadily increasing over the past few weeks, and most of the fires have been caused by open burning, equipment use, and escaped camp fires. Currently, the district has logged 77 wildfires on the district. Only six of those fires were caused by lightning. The rest have been caused by people. The 77 fires have burned a total of 93 acres.

Here is a summary of public use restrictions currently in effect:

• Debris burning, including burn barrels, is prohibited.
• Fireworks are prohibited.

Beginning July 14, the following public use fire restrictions will be in effect:

• Camp fires will be allowed only in designated campgrounds. This restriction includes charcoal-fired barbecues; however, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels will be allowed.

• Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, will not be allowed on unimproved roads.

• Smoking will be allowed only in a vehicle and only while on an improved road.

• The following activities will be disallowed between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.:
-- Chain saw use. During other hours, users must have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher on-site, and provide a one-hour fire watch after using the saw.

-- Mowing dry grass (except for agricultural purposes, such as cutting hay).
-- Cutting, grinding or welding metal. During other hours, a water supply must be present at the work site and work may proceed only in a cleared area.

• In the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial:
-- Smoking will be prohibited except in boats on the water, and on vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars.
-- Open fires will be prohibited, including camp fires, cooking fires and warming fires. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels, and charcoal fires for cooking and built in raised fire pans, will be allowed on vegetation-free gravel bars and sand bars.

-- Travelers must carry a shovel and bucket (one-gallon size).
-- Fireworks will be prohibited.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is also posted on the World Wide Web at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/SWOfire.shtml

###

 

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006 - issued by Brian Ballou of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry:

Daryl Fire Update:

Reproduced here in full:

July 11, 2006 - 7:00 p.m.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SW OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Brian Ballou, ODF fire prevention spec., (541) 665-0662 or 621-4156

DARYL FIRE UPDATE

LOCATION: Approx 1/2 mile west of Shady Cove city limits, north of intersection of Rogue River Drive and Long Branch Road.

SIZE: 6 acres

SUPPRESSION RESOURCES: 4 ODF engines plus engines and water tenders from Jackson Country Fire Districts 3 and 4, 1 ODF bulldozer. A helicopter was ordered for the fire, but the order was cancelled before it was used.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The fire was reported at 3:36 p.m. The point of origin was near a residence on Daryl Road. The fire burned north/northeast through dry grass, brush, oak and ponderosa pine and was contained at 5:14 p.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

###


Sunday, June 25th, 2006 - by Chris Conrad, published in The Mail Tribune (Medford, OR.):

Brutal heat wave expected to peak at well above 100: Fires, power outage only add to misery as region sizzles

Excerpt follows:

"The Rogue Valley's first day of triple-digit heat this summer was a busy one for road, fire and power crews.

"Residents suffered through temperatures hitting 101 degrees, seven degrees short of the record high set in 1925, according to the National Weather Service.

"...Oregon Department of Forestry crews were busy with a 30-acre grass fire sparked in a forested area northeast of Prospect, said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters..."

 

Sunday, June 25th, 2006 - by Miguel Bustillo and Nicholas Riccardi for the Los Angeles Times, republished in The Mail Tribune (Medford, OR.):

Western fire officials fear a long, hot summer: West and Southwest are primed for ignition

Excerpt follows:

"A lingering drought has created ideal wildfire conditions across much of the West and Southwest this summer, alarming forestry officials, who are already dealing with an unusually high number of fires.

"Nationwide as of Saturday, officials have reported 54,686 fires charring more than 3.2 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. Both figures were the highest in at least a decade for this point in the year. The 10-year average for the same date was 39,240 fires burning about 1 million acres.

"...We are just as dry, if not drier, than we were in 2002, when we had huge wildfires in the west, so that should certainly serve as a warning," said Dan Binkley, director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University...

"...firefighters have been busier than normal so far in 2006 - and the wildfire activity reached a high point last week. By Saturday, there were 23 large fires burning more than 275,000 acres in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming."

 

May 18th, 2006 - ODF News Release:

ODF DECLARES FIRE SEASON IN JACKSON AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

The 2006 fire season began as of 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24.

The Oregon State Dept. of Forestry's announcement of the start of the 2006 fire season is as follows:

May 18, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SOUTHWEST OREGON NEWS MEDIA

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - SOUTHWEST OREGON DISTRICT
5286 Table Rock RD - Central Point, OR 97502

Contact: Greg Alexander, (541) 664-3328
Rick Dryer, (541) 474-3152

ODF DECLARES FIRE SEASON IN JACKSON AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Fire season on forestlands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District begins at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24. The fire danger level will be "moderate" (blue), and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will be 1 (one). This declaration affects state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Fire season is declared by the state forester when weather conditions and dry vegetation make fires difficult to control. In 2005, the district declared fire season on June 27.

Here is a summary of fire season restrictions that will go into effect on May 24:

-- Debris burning will be prohibited, except in burn barrels for which a permit has been issued. Contact the Oregon Dept. of Forestry or your local fire protection district for a burn barrel permit.

-- The use of fireworks on forestlands will be prohibited.

-- In the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial, camp fires and smoking will be permitted on sand and gravel bars between the river and the high water mark, and only in areas naturally free of flammable vegetation. Smoking will also be permitted in boats and rafts while on the river. Camp fires must be in fire pans or on fire blankets.

-- Commercial operations, such as timber harvesting, conducted on forestlands will be required to have fire suppression equipment on the job site at all times, and a watchman must be provided.

Smoke from prescribed burns and fires set for firefighter training may occasionally be visible in higher-elevation forestlands. Daily updated fire information about burns on Bureau of Land Management-administered lands can be obtained by calling (541) 618-2354 or 1 (800) 267-3126. Forest Service prescribed burn information can be obtained by calling your local Forest Service office.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the Southwest Oregon District’s unit office in your area:

-- Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
-- Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is also posted on the World Wide Web at http://oregon.gov/ODF/FIELD/SWO/aboutus.shtml

 

Thursday, March 30th, 2006 - by Paul Fattig, published in The Mail Tribune (Medford, OR.):

Deep ... very deep: Region's snowpack piles up: Siskiyou Summit site tallies in at a hefty 388 percent of normal

Excerpt follows:

ASHLAND - "The snow ranger for the Ashland Ranger District isn't one to jump to conclusions, given Oregon's sometimes fickle weather patterns.

"But Steve Johnson is making an exception after taking the end of March snow survey on Mount Ashland.

" 'We're in really good shape - there shouldn't be any concern for the water supply this year,' Johnson said.

"Indeed, the average mountain snowpack on all four sites is 167 percent of normal, including the Siskiyou Summit site measuring in at 388 percent of normal, he said.

"...Statewide, the Oregon mountain snowpack is 136 percent of normal, according to the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service.

"The snow level at the 4,600-foot elevation Siskiyou Summit was 35 inches, compared to the average of nine inches for this time of year, Johnson said. The water content was 13.4 inches, making it 418 percent of normal...

"Although no records were broken for this time of year, it reflects a solid snowpack, said Johnson, who has been surveying the snow measurement sites each winter for 16 years..."

 


 


Fire-related news for previous years

is included with the fire season summaries for:

The 2004 Fire Season | The 2003 Fire Season

 

Our files of fire-related news articles and fire season histories go back to 1981, following the Colestin Fire in August of that year that prompted the formation of the Fire District in 1982.

As time permits, we will add more previous fire season summaries to our online archives.