Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Peavine Fire Burns 100 Acres

The Peavine Creek Fire, located 5 miles north of Glendale in Douglas County, is estimated to be about 100 acres this morning. The fire, which was discovered Tuesday afternoon about 5:00 p.m. by the Douglas Forest Protective Association’s fire detection cameras, damaged two pieces of logging equipment which were parked near the fire. The Peavine Creek Fire, which is burning on industrial timber lands, is not threatening any homes. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

About 60 firefighters worked through the night and made great progress on the fire by creating a fire trail around half of the fire. Wednesday’s goal is to complete the fire trail around the entire fire and begin the mop up phase.

Working the fire today are three 20 person hand crews, two sets of cutters, five water tenders, a bull dozer, a fixed wing observation aircraft, a helicopter, and various industrial representatives.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Make Sure Your Fire is Dead Out

The Oregon Department of Forestry's Southwest Oregon District has been picking up a few fires lately. Most of them have been caused by campfires and burn piles that were not completely extinguished. During this dry spring, it is extra important to make sure any fire you start, whether it is a burn pile of tree branches or a campfire, is completely out before nightfall.

Use water to wet the coals, turn the coals with a shovel, break up chunks of burned wood with the point of the shovel, then add more water and stir the coals until the burned material is cool to the touch.

The extraordinary early season dryness of southwest Oregon's wildlands has made it particularly important to ensure all fires are dead out. Fires are penetrating deeper into the ground this year than is normal for April. The deeper coals are allowed to penetrate below ground makes them harder to extinguish. A light breeze on a hot day can cause glowing coals to throw sparks into nearby vegetation, resulting in a wildfire.

Please do your part to prevent wildfires in southwest Oregon.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Lightning in February?

There is little or danger of fire in February with all the rain we have. However, many folks around the valley were awoken early Monday by a couple lightning strikes around the Medford/Grants Pass area. Click here to view a map of the area lightning.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Financial Assistance Available in SW Jackson County for Wildfire Abatement Projects

The Oregon Department of Forestry is helping eligible residents in the Bear Creek and Applegate River valleys with fire hazard fuel reduction projects. Landowners who live near the areas listed below are encouraged to call (541) 664-3328 to schedule a free/no obligation property assessment. Eligible projects are usually within the 1-5 acre range and are paid at a rate of $500 per acre of work.

In order to qualify for these cost-share grants, a landowner/agent needs to contact ODF to schedule an appointment, agree to the area and project parameters, and complete the work. Once the project is finished and the project area passes final inspection, the landowner/agent will receive a check in the mail. The landowner/agent is responsible for completion of the project, whether they perform the work themselves or hire it out. All projects are paid on a rebate basis and funds will only be awarded after the completion of identified projects.

Grants are available in the following areas:

Wagner Creek Road – Anderson Creek Road
Pioneer Road – Coleman Creek Road – Griffin Creek Road
South Stage Road – Parts of Jacksonville
Sterling Creek Road
West Griffin Creek Road – Poorman Creek Road
Highway 238 from Jacksonville to Provolt
China Gulch Road – Forest Creek Road
Upper Applegate Road from Ruch to Little Applegate Road
Hamilton Road Area
Thompson Creek Road – Humbug Creek Road
North Applegate Road from Applegate to Kubli Road

If landowners outside of the grant areas are interested in having a free/no obligation property assessment with regard to wildland fire safety, they are also encouraged to call (541) 664-3328.

The Oregon Department of Forestry has a small budget available to help rural neighborhoods to become accredited as a Firewise Community. Residents in Jackson County that live near areas of potential wildfire risk and would like to learn more about becoming a Firewise Community are encouraged to call (541) 664-3328 or visit Firewise online.

For more information about the fuel-reduction grant program, and to schedule a free on-site fire risk assessment, call Derick Price at ODF’s Medford office, (541) 664-3328.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Tree Permits Available

It’s that time of year to start thinking of the annual family trip to the woods for a holiday tree. Holiday tree permits are available at Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Offices, as well as at numerous vendor locations in southwest Oregon (see vendor list at Some locations may offer tree permits a little later than the official start date; we recommend you call the local office to check permit availability. The permits allow for the cutting of personal-use trees for Christmas and other holiday events. A permit is required for the harvest of each individual tree.

The permits sell for $ 5.00 per tree and are non-refundable. There is a limit of five tree permits per person. The permits cover large areas that include the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and the Coos Bay and Medford Districts of the BLM, where lands are open to personal use tree harvesting.   Maps with directions to cutting areas will be provided at time of purchase.

The Holiday tree permit tag is validated after harvesting your tree by cutting out the date, month and year on the tree tag and securely attaching it to the cut tree in a visible location before transporting it.

Important Note:
Holiday tree harvest is not allowed in wilderness areas, campgrounds, developed recreation areas, National Monuments, Research Natural Areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, or within fences or posted tree plantations, within 200 feet of state highways or on private lands.  Holiday tree cutting is also not permitted within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, the Wild and Scenic Rogue River corridor and Recreation Areas.  This stresses the importance of having your tree permit map with you, along with a local Forest or BLM map, and a good understanding of your location prior to cutting.
Holiday Tree Permits
Traveling safely on public lands is very important for you and your family’s health and safety.  Keep in mind that roads on public lands administered by the Forest Service and BLM are not plowed in the winter and can present some situations that quickly become dangerous if you are not properly prepared.

On any outing to the forest this time of year, be prepared for winter weather and check weather conditions prior to departure.  It is strongly encouraged that you take a reliable map of the area (Forest Service or BLM map in addition to your tree permit map) with you and travel with a full tank of gas.  Bring along adequate supplies such as warm clothing, blankets/sleeping bags, high energy food, water, warm beverages, first aid kit, flashlight, whistle, mirror, shovel and chains.

Always let someone know where you plan to harvest your tree and when you expect to return.  Consider going out with a more experienced friend if you are new to this activity or unfamiliar with the area in which you will be travelling.

The Bear Camp Coastal route is open but not recommended for travel this time of year, as the route is not maintained for winter travel from mid-November through the end of May.  Be safe, and happy holidays!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fire Season Ends on ODF-Protected Lands in SW Oregon

Fire season ends today on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in southwest Oregon. Rainfall of at least one-half inch was recorded in many parts of the district, which includes state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Fire season started June 2 and lasted 136 days.

The termination of fire season removes fire prevention regulations on equipment use and the use of fire for debris burning. This applies to the public and to industrial operations on forestlands. However, many structural fire protection districts require permits for debris burning, and both Jackson and Josephine counties have telephone numbers to call to find out whether air quality conditions allow burning. The numbers to call are:
  • Josephine County: (541) 476-9663
  • Jackson County: (541) 776-7007
 More than 280 fires burned 9,559 acres on forestlands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District. There are 1.8 million acres of forestland within the district’s protection boundary in Jackson and Josephine counties.

The largest blaze on the district was the Oregon Gulch Fire, which burned 35,129 acres of forestland in Jackson and Klamath counties, and Northern California. The Jackson County portion of the fire burned 8,306 acres, approximately 14 miles southeast of Ashland. The Oregon Gulch Fire was reported July 30 and was one fire in a complex of 23 other lightning-caused fires scattered around Jackson County.

The Salt Creek Fire, which also started July 30, burned 155 acres of forestland approximately 8 miles west of Shady Cove.

Lightning started 98 fires on the district and burned 9,071 acres. The thunderstorms hit July 11, July 22, July 29-30, August 11 and August 18.

The earliest fire on the district this year was the 143-acre Alder Creek Fire, which started January 23 during a period of unusual dryness and strong east winds. A fire that had been set to burn slash escaped control and started the Alder Creek Fire.

The 2014 fire season was similar to the summer of 2013, during which 348 fires burned 43,078 acres on lands protected by the Southwest Oregon District. Lightning-caused fires that year burned more than 42,000 acres.

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Latest Pocket Card and Fire Stats

Fire danger continues in Moderate until we have a change in weather. For the latest pocket card and fire stats please visit SWO Fire Data.