The lightning storm that woke most everyone up across Oregon late Thursday night, August 24th through early Friday morning, August 25th, had fire crews on the move. There were reported at least 50 new fires, most of them small, on the state’s west side following 1,633 lightning strikes.
“Some rain came with this storm, which means there may be other fires smoldering out there that aren’t readily detectable yet. We’ll keep an eye out for additional fires in the coming days and respond quickly and aggressively to keep them small to limit impacts on Oregonians,” the Oregon Department of Forestry said in a statement.
Here are latest reports from the Tillamook State Forest, and nearby areas:
From Mike Cafferata, Forest Grove District Forester, Oregon Dept. of Forestry 8/25/23 @8 pm
Oregon took a state-wide barrage of lightning last night and this morning. Locally, we recorded three fires so far, although Tillamook is out looking for report of smoke. All three were found and extinguished early and small – two found by the landowner/operator community and one by ODF. The ODF detection plane just finished a sweep of the district and did not detect any new fires. We plan to fly again tomorrow in case there are holdovers.
Our neighbors to the South in West Oregon District did not receive nearly the rain we did, and have had a long day. Considering the fires they received, they are doing really well. Mike Curran’s report is below. We are sending resources to support their efforts.
Farther south has been more difficult still. ODF Team 1 is headed to Douglas Forest Protection Association protection to take over a complex of lightning fires.
Also of note is a fire in the Bull Run Watershed adjacent to the North Cascade District. An interagency team will be taking that fire over in the near future.
The east side also received lightning and is working their way though it.
Today was a good example of the complete and coordinated system working together.
From Michael Curran, District Forester, Oregon Dept of Forestry, West Oregon District
West Oregon District Lightning Update – 08/25/23
- Honey grove Fire – .2 acres
- fully mopped up and in patrol status
- Tatum Fire – 2 acres
- Fully lined and in mop-up. Will have an IC, type 5 engine, and 10 person AIC crew assigned tomorrow.
- South Mtn Fire – 7+ acres burning on BLM.
- Handline in on the S and SW portions. No line on the N and NW portions due to steep and rocky terrain.
- Resources for tomorrow will be an IC, 2 20 person crews, 1 EMT, 1 faller, 1 TFLD, 1 Tender, 2KB.
- This fire is in a tough spot, and we are not out of the woods with it yet. Multiple snags came down today with fallers trying to get everything that is a hazard down today. Fire is currently 30% lined.
- Madison Knob Fire – .2 acres
- Fully mopped-up and in patrol status
- Hatchery Fall Creek Fire – 6+ acres burning on State Forests and BLM
- Will have an IC, 1 TFLD, 2 20 person crews, 4 engines, 1 FMOD, 8CC.
- This fire is also in a tough spot and were not out of the woods yet. Portions of the fire are too dangerous to staff overnight so 2 engines will do what they can to keep things contained in its current footprint. This fire is half lined.
- 403 Fire – .1 acres
- Fully mopped up and in patrol status
- Rocky Creek – 1.2 acres
- This is a FS fire which we were engaged heavily on to assist our partners as it was burning close to the Corvallis Watershed and could have been a bigger political issue locally if a fire got established.
- Fire is lined and in mop-up status.
- Starr Creek – 5+ acres burning on industrial timberland.
- Fire is currently being lined with dozers with multiple landowner resources taking point to get this one put out.
- Goal is to have it fully lined tonight and in full mop-up mode starting tomorrow morning. Time will tell if we get there.
- We have two separate fires in our Toledo Unit that ODF and landowner resources are currently working their way into. Judging by the columns, my staff think they are both under an acre in size.
- We have another fire we just haven’t been able to get too but a local operator put out in our Philomath Unit. This was about a tenth of an acre and will get caught up with it hopefully tomorrow.
This puts us at 11 fires total so far today. We thought we had 12 but one of the calls turned out to be one of our existing fires. I fully expect more fires to pop-up over the next few days. I want to commend my staff for the effort they are putting into this response as well as the response from our landowners and federal and RFD counterparts. We have a lot of work ahead of us at the district to get everything under control. South Mtn. and Hatchery Fall creek are my biggest concerns right now and both have potential for continued growth. ODF IMT1 is headed to DFPA for the complex of lightning fires they got today. Most westside districts are dealing with multiple fires. The system is taxed so we may continue to ask for landowner assistance if we continue to get starts over the weekend.
The coordinated efforts between local fire departments, ODF, and landowners has been very effective, bringing as many assets as possible to quickly knock down wildfires and prevent large conflagrations. Job well done ODF, thanks for protecting our wild places.
You can prevent wildfires and especially now when resources are stretched thin, be extra careful when recreating off road.
- Checking and following your local fire regulations.
- Remember that debris burning is prohibited statewide.
- Return to check on your burn site if you burned earlier in the year.
- Make sure your car has been recently serviced to avoid faulty parts throwing sparks.
- Don’t drag tow chains.
- Recreate responsibly. Most areas are closed to campfires, and as one social media post said in response to the question, “Can we have a campfire here?” Because it’s so dry, let’s just assume that campfires aren’t allowed anywhere right now.
- Avoid parking vehicles on tall, dry grass.
Find more information and resources at Wildfire.Oregon.gov.