Oregon Fire Season Update: From the Desk of Oregon Department of Forestry Chief Fire Protection

Roblan State

From the Desk of:

fire ODF
ODF logo

This is the first 2018 fire season update, a periodic communication over the course of fire season providing updates on wildfire across Oregon’s landscape and significant changes in fire conditions.

Current Fire Activity

Over the past 48 hours, we received over 6000 lightning strikes in north-central Oregon.  Initial attack fire activity across this region has increased and we now have several large fires on the landscape.

On ODF Protected lands, we have one significant large fire:

The Graham Fire, located south of Lake Billy Chinook and north of Sisters is currently at 2055 acres.  The fire was called in Thursday at 1:30 p.m., and driven by wind it quickly grew to its current size.  A local Type 3 team responded and worked throughout the night. ODF dispatched Incident Management Team 2 to the fire this Friday A.M. 

The ODF Team, headed by South Cascade District Forester Chris Cline, has assumed unified command (along with OSFM – Green Team) of the fire at 6 p.m. yesterday.  Progress towards containment was successful overnight and fire lines held through winds; it is currently over 50 percent lined. The Jefferson County Sheriff issued Level 3 evacuation orders (GO!) Thursday for many residences in the Three Rivers subdivision threatened by the fire; they are still in effect. The threat to homes also qualifies the fire for partial reimbursement of suppression costs by FEMA. We are anticipating a successful day shift to help close existing open fire lines.  

Other significant fires in Oregon include:

Box Car Fire, 20,000 acres south of Maupin; Jack Knife Fire, 1000 acres east of highway 97 in the same area.  Both of these fires are burning across light fuels, private grazing lands and BLM.  An Interagency IMT (Incident Commander – Gales) is assuming command of these fires.

Whiskey Fire, 7000 acres burning on the east side of the Warm Springs Reservation is currently being managed by the Warm Springs Tribe.

An interactive map of all large fires in Oregon and Washington can be found at: https://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/information/firemap.aspx 

ODF Protected Lands – Fire Statistics (approximately 16 million acres of private and public forest and grazing lands):

To date, ODF has experienced 230 fires with a total of approximately 2,280 acres burned.  The majority of our acres burned this year are from the Graham Fire, at 2,055 acres.  Our 10-year average at this time is 168 fires and 1,516 acres burned.

Weather outlook:

Fire managers expected and received increased wind, higher temperatures and drier conditions yesterday, which accounted for the substantial growth experienced on several fires.  Conditions are expected to moderate over the next 24 hours and then begin to establish towards a long summer drying trend.  Winds are expected to pick up again next Monday, which will be problematic for existing fires on the landscape and could increase the potential for new hold-over lightning fires. 

Smoke impacts:

Currently, not an issue to the extent experienced last year, however you can stay up-to-date about current smoke levels on Oregon's smoke blog at www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/. This site is an effort by many city, county, tribal, state and federal agencies to coordinate and aggregate information for Oregon communities affected by wildfire smoke. The information is posted here by the agencies, while volunteers maintain the page.


Prior to the Graham Fire, ODF has seen limited exposure to large fire costs this fire season.  It is too early to provide estimated costs at this time.  A FEMA – Fire Management Assistance Grant declaration was approved Thursday night for the Graham Fire and this will provide financial assistance (75% of suppression costs), which will be helpful in minimizing costs to the State.

Additional Information Sources Include: 


email: Sen.ArnieRoblan@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1705
address: 900 Court St NE, S-417, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/roblan