2018 Fire Season Update; Oregon State Forester Peter Daugherty at Oregon Coastal Caucus Economic Summit (OCCES18)

Roblan State
Fire Chief Report


2018 Fire Season Update; Meet Oregon State Forester Peter Daugherty at Oregon Coastal Caucus Economic Summit (OCCES18)

The past 48 hours has been a very dynamic wildfire situation fed by continued drying of fuels, high temperatures and Oregon’s first state-wide lightning event that started Sunday and ran through Monday evening.  Storms tracked from southwest to northeast Oregon igniting over 140 wildfires in its wake.  In ODF’s southwest Oregon District alone, we currently have 68 reported fires in the past 36 hours and over the next several days I would expect many more to surface with the continued warming trend.  Gusty winds are also expected over the next few days followed by a potential for lightning later in the week.  Given this forecast, fire conditions over the next 7 days are likely to grow more complex.

All ODF employees play a role in the fire response along-side Oregon’s firefighting contractors, forest and range landowners, forest operators and partnering agencies.  Working together we continue to see incredible fire stops across the state. Coordination with local structure fire jurisdictions in southwest Oregon has been outstanding in protecting structures where multiple fires have threatened the wildland urban interface.  The following is a snap shot of the larger fires that are now burning across Oregon’s landscape:

Fires on ODF protected land

Silver Creek Fire ODF and local cooperators responded with both aerial and ground forces after it was located last Friday morning in a remote, densely forested area inside Silver Falls State Park. The fire is now 55% contained at 27 acres and no injuries reported. 125 personnel are on the fire continuing mop-up efforts in the steep terrain with hazardous snags and heavy fuels.

Garner Complex Fire ODF Incident Management Team 2 (Cline) was deployed to the Garner Complex near Grants Pass last evening. This is a complex series of fires burning approximately 1000 acres including the Grave Creek, Pleasant Creek and Spencer Creek Fires.  Growth potential on these fires is significant given the complexity of fuel conditions, terrain and predicted weather; this fire has ODF’s full attention.

Wagner Complex Fire near Medford includes over 35 fires for approximately 250 acres.  Local resources are making great progress here to contain these fires, but they will be tested over the next several days.

Other fires in Oregon that ODF is engaged in include:

Cemetery Fire. 32 miles E/SE of Prineville. Interagency Incident Management Team (Johnson) is currently assigned to the fire. Start: 16 July. Cause: Lightning. 1000 acres. Well-established in timber, heavy dead and down fuel. Threat to infrastructure, sage grouse habitat and old growth. Rangeland Fire Protection Association (Post – Paulina) is currently engaged on the fire.

Hendrix Fire. 3 miles SW of Ashland. Interagency Incident Management Team (Harrod) is currently assigned to the fire. Start: 15 July. Cause: Lightning. 170 acres, in timber.  This fire is currently lined and fire fighters are working to hold the spread of the fire. This fire threatens ODF protected lands, rural residences and private timber. Steep, rugged terrain. Accordingly, ODF is engaged with key leadership on this fire. 

Umpqua Complex - including the Miles Fire. 10 miles SE of Tiller. Interagency Incident Management Team (Sheldon) is assigned to the fire with Unified Command established with ODF, given the threat to ODF and Douglas Forest Protective Association protected lands. Start: 16 July. Cause: Lightning. 100+ acres

Currey Canyon Fire. 1 mile NE of Juntura. Start: 14 July. Cause: Unknown. 3,100 acres. 90% containment. Grass and Brush. Minimal fire behavior. Ramping down and releasing resources. Rangeland Fire Protection Association (Juntura) was critical in the suppression efforts on this fire.

Ben Lane Fire. Is burning in the Warm Springs Reservation.  430 acres. 70% contained.  Excellent progress has been made here by local resources.

Klamathon Fire. This fire is now 95% contained and burned 38,000 acres along the California boarder. In coordination with Cal Fire and local cooperators including BLM, we were able to minimize acres burned in Oregon to 2000 acres.  You may recall this was a very explosive fire with great potential to burn deep into Oregon’s landscape and I’d like to extend a great appreciation to those firefighters who prevented the continued spread of this fire.  Ultimately, eighty-two structures were lost on this fire (none in Oregon) and suppression costs totaled $32.4 million.

Natchez Fire. 15 miles SE of Cave Junction and south of the Oregon/California boarder. Interagency Incident Management Team (Lawson) is currently assigned to the fire. Start: 16 July. Cause: Lightning. 200 acres in timber and steep terrain, not readily accessible. Potential threat to powerlines.

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 (approximately 16 million acres of private and public lands):

To date, ODF has experienced approximately 475 fires with a total of 6,000 acres burned.  Our 10-year average at this time is 351 fires and 5,155 acres burned.

Smoke impacts:

Currently, smoke impacts are on the rise due to the number of fires in southwest Oregon. You can stay current on smoke levels on Oregon's smoke blog at www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/. This site is a joint effort by city, county, tribal, state and federal agencies to coordinate and aggregate information for Oregon communities affected by wildfire smoke.


  • Total estimated gross large-fire suppression costs for ODF Fire Protection from April 2018 to current: $6.2 million.
  • Our 10-year annual average for large-fire suppression costs is $34 million.

Consistent with past years, the Department will be closely tied with the Legislative Fiscal Office and Chief Financial Office over the duration of the fire season to maintain full awareness on fire season costs.

Additional Information Sources Include: 

Thank you for your interest in Fire Protection for Oregon.  Our mission is clear and we will work closely with all partners, striving to minimize acres burned, resource loss and cost from wildfires.  As always, feel free to contact me or Deputy Chief Ron Graham directly with any questions. 

Doug Grafe, Chief Fire Protection, Oregon Department of Forestry      Ron Graham, Deputy Chief Fire Protection, Oregon Department of Forestry                      

Chief Forester

Oregon State Forester Peter Daugherty at Oregon Coastal Caucus Economic Summit (OCCES18)

Peter Daugherty, selected by the Board of Forestry as Oregon’s 13th State Forester, leads the Department of Forestry in its mission to serve Oregonians by protecting, managing, and promoting stewardship of Oregon’s forests. He also helps the Board carry out its mission to lead Oregon in implementing policies and programs that promote sustainable management of Oregon's public and private forests.

State Forester Daugherty joined the Department in 2007. He served most recently as the Private Forests Division Chief, where he worked on best forest management practices for water quality, and on forest health, family forestlands, and urban forestry. Over the course of his career, he has worked as a private forest economist and a professor of forest management and ecological economics. He also enjoyed time as a U.S. Forest Service research forester.

He has a doctorate in forest management and economics, and two bachelor’s degrees—a B.S. in forestry and a B.A. in political science and dramatic art—all from the University of California at Berkeley.  He is a member of the Society of American Foresters and the International Society of Ecological Economics.