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Conflagration invoked for Umatilla County wildfires, OSFM mobilizing firefighters, incident management team - 07/17/24

SALEM, Ore. – On Wednesday night, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for a series of fires in Umatilla County near Pilot Rock. The OSFM is mobilizing its Green Incident Management Team and three structural task forces from Benton, Marion, and Polk counties. One of those task forces was sent earlier in the afternoon through Immediate Response along with a type 1 helicopter.  

Significant lightning storms moved through Umatilla County Wednesday afternoon and have kept local fire agencies busy responding to wildfires. Gusty winds and dry conditions caused some of these fires to grow exponentially and threaten life and property.  

“The conditions our firefighters are up against are extraordinarily challenging and we are working to provide the needed resources to protect our communities from many wildfires burning across the state,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “I can’t stress enough the importance of preventing any new fires and being prepared in case you need to evacuate.” 

The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office has Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation notices in place. For the latest on evacuations, please follow the Umatilla County Sheriff on Facebook. Shelters are set up at the Pendleton Convention Center, 1601 Westgate in Pendleton, and Grant Union High School, 911 S Canyon Blvd in John Day.  

For information on being prepared for wildfire visit https://wildfire.oregon.gov/prepare 

The Emergency Conflagration Act allows the state fire marshal to mobilize state resources to protect life and property. Following ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined that threats to life, safety, and property exist because of the fire, and the threats exceed the capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment. 

Courtesy: Gilliam County Sheriff's Office
Courtesy: Gilliam County Sheriff's Office
Emergency Conflagration Act invoked for Lone Rock Fire (Photo) - 07/16/24

SALEM, Ore. – The fast-moving Lone Rock Fire in Gilliam, Morrow, and Wheeler counties is Oregon’s latest conflagration. On Monday, Governor Tina Kotek invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act. The Oregon State Fire Marshal has been actively engaged on the fire with its partner agencies. Over the weekend, the OSFM sent resources through Immediate Response. 

The OSFM’s Red Incident Management Team will be in unified command with Northwest Team 2 starting at 10 Tuesday morning. Structural task forces from Benton, Clackamas, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, and Yamhill counties are assigned to the fire. The Linn County task force was sent Sunday along with other resources through Immediate Response, a tool the OSFM uses to send firefighters and equipment outside of a conflagration.

“The next few days are going to be extremely challenging with excessive heat, red flag warnings, and forecasted lightning,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “We are watching the weather forecast closely and have plans in place if new fires start.”

The Lone Rock Fire 10 miles southeast of Condon sparked on July 13. Gusty winds and dry conditions pushed the fire to grow to more than 30,000 acres as of last report. 

The OSFM is actively battling the fire along with its partners from the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Bureau of Land Management, and local responders. 

The Gilliam, Morrow, and Wheeler counties sheriffs’ offices have levels 2 and 3 evacuations in place. 

Because the threat to homes near the Cow Valley Fire in Malheur County has diminished, the OSFM was able to demobilize and reassign their Red Incident Management Team and several of the task forces. 

As the team gets settled in, the OSFM will post updates about the fire to the OSFM Incident Information blog and its social media channels.

Oregon receiving out of state help to fight numerous wildfires - 07/15/24

The Oregon State Fire Marshal and the Oregon Department of Forestry are bringing in out-of-state firefighters and equipment to fight several wildfires impacting communities and resources across the state.

On Sunday night, the Oregon State Fire Marshal mobilized two task forces from Washington to add structural firefighter capacity. The two task forces are from Snohomish, Thurston, and Grays Harbor counties with 29 firefighters, eight engines, and two water tenders. The task forces are assigned to the Falls Fire in Harney County.

"We are bringing in additional support from the Washington fire service for the Falls Fire, the severe drawdown of Oregon resources, and the anticipated weather conditions,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “Our strong relationship with the Washington fire service is invaluable, especially during their responses to Oregon in 2017 and 2020. We have a robust response system that transcends borders and supports our mutual missions. I can't thank the Washington fire service enough for their quick and reliable response to Oregon's needs."

The OSFM works with the Oregon Department of Emergency Management to mobilize these resources through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a national interstate mutual aid agreement that allows states to share resources during times of disaster.

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) received more than 58 resources from New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Colorado, and Florida to assist with the Salt Creek and Larch Creek fires. The agency will receive 13 more firefighters from Florida in the coming days to assist the agency’s Incident Management Team 3 and wildfires.

A total of 71 resources are coming to Oregon through state-to-state mutual aid agreements and the Northwest Compact. The compact was created to facilitate assistance in wildland fire pre-suppression and suppression efforts between member agencies, which include Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

“These mutual aid agreements help to bolster the complete and coordinated fire system in Oregon by giving us the ability to scale up as needed during peak times in the season” said Chris Cline, ODF protection division chief. “We appreciate our partners for sending us these much-needed resources as we manage several fires across the state.”

By creating a cache of reciprocal resources through mutual aid agreements, Oregon and other agencies can benefit from each other when fire seasons hit hard and resources become strained.

“This isn’t my first time to Oregon. It is always an honor to help our neighbors when they are in need. Oregon has come to help us several times in the past,” Task Force Leader Travis Hots said. “We are no stranger to how Oregon does business and are always impressed with how the Oregon State Fire Marshal treats its firefighters, so we are always glad to come down and offer a helping hand.”

On Friday, the Governor Tina Kotek issued a State of Emergency that allows the two agencies to request additional help from both in- and out-of-state partners.

With hot, dry, and windy conditions coupled with lightning in the forecast, Oregonians should take every precaution to avoid sparking a fire. Learn how to be #WildfireAware here. Look up your local fire restrictions.

OSFM sending firefighters, incident management team to Falls Fire in Harney County - 07/14/24

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon State Fire Marshal is sending its Blue Incident Management Team and four task forces to the Falls Fire burning 20 miles northeast of Riley in Harney County. 

Hot, dry, and windy conditions caused the fire to grow rapidly on Saturday, pushing it to 55,000 acres with zero percent containment. 

“Within the last week, we mobilized three incident management teams to fires across Oregon. This highlights the substantial fire danger we are seeing,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “With dry lightning expected to hit east of the Cascades on Sunday, I can’t stress enough the importance of taking action to prevent sparking another wildfire.”

The Grant and Harney County sheriffs' offices have evacuation orders in place. A map of Harney County evacuations can be found here. Grant County evacuations can be found here.

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for Sunday with temperatures in the mid-90s and very low relative humidity. Afternoon thunderstorms are predicted for the area that may produce gusty outflow winds reaching 20-25 mph. Little to no precipitation is expected from these isolated thunderstorms.

For fire information, please follow the Falls Fire Facebook Page or the Falls Fire InciWeb page.

OSFM sends task force to Lone Rock Fire through Immediate Response - 07/14/24

The Oregon State Fire Marshal is mobilizing resources to assist locals battling the Lone Rock Fire in Gilliam County.  A task force from Linn County and a division supervisor were mobilized early this morning. The fire sparked Saturday afternoon and burned about 4,200 acres by evening. The Gilliam County Sheriff has Level 2 (Be Set) evacuation notices in place for the community of Lone Rock.  

For evacuation information, follow the Gilliam County Sheriff. 

This task force is an added resource for the local fire agencies that responded to protect the community of Lone Rock and the region. Firefighters from Gilliam County, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Prineville Bureau of Land Management have been fighting the fire since it sparked. 

“We are seeing critical fire danger across the state. It’s urgent, now more than ever, to take this threat seriously. I am calling on all Oregonians and visitors to be aware of the dry conditions and help us by preventing any new fire starts,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “The weather predicted through the next week is extremely concerning, not only with these new starts but with lightning in the forecast. Our resources will continue to be challenged. These fires and the forecast add strain to the system.” 

The OSFM is constantly assessing needs across the state and will proactively respond as needed. 

In these dry conditions, a single spark can cause a lot of damage. Learn how you can prevent wildfires by visiting the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s wildfire prevention page. 

About Immediate Response 

Immediate Response is made possible through the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon program created through Oregon’s wildfire omnibus bill, Senate Bill 762, signed into law in 2021.  

Cow Valley Fire in Malheur County declared a conflagration, OSFM sending additional resources - 07/12/24

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon State Fire Marshal is mobilizing several task forces and its Red Incident Management Team to the Cow Valley Fire in Malheur County to protect people and property. Overnight Thursday, the agency sent two task forces from Umatilla and Multnomah counties through Immediate Response. These task forces will be joined by two others from Lane and Marion counties.  

“The weather conditions we are seeing across Oregon are extremely concerning. The forecast over the weekend for much of Eastern Oregon will not be doing us any favors,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “The state has seen numerous human-caused wildfires over the last few weeks, and I am asking everyone to be careful and aware of the extreme fire conditions, especially with lightning in the forecast.” 

According to the Vale Bureau of Land Management District, the fire is being pushed by gusty winds, triple-digit temperatures, and low humidity, causing substantial fire growth in the last 12 hours. An infrared flight is happening this morning to get an accurate size of the fire. That information will be shared once it is available. Weather for this fire is expected to be challenging over the next few days with a Fire Weather Watch in place by the National Weather Service for abundant lightning and wind this weekend.  

The OSFM’s Red Incident Management Team will be in unified command with Northwest Team 6, a federal complex incident management team.  

Malheur County Emergency Management and the Red Cross have a shelter in Girvin Hall at the Malheur County Fairgrounds. Those who have questions about the shelter should call 208-519-6675. 

Evacuation notices will be issued by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office. A Facebook page is set up to share fire information. 

On Friday morning, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the fire which allows the state fire marshal to mobilize state resources to protect life and property. 

Following ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined that threats to life, safety, and property exist because of the fire, and the threats exceed the capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment.  

Courtesy: Oregon Dept. of Transportation
Courtesy: Oregon Dept. of Transportation
Oregon State Fire Marshal sends two task forces to Cow Valley Fire (Photo) - 07/11/24

SALEM, Ore. – A fast-moving wildfire Thursday evening in Malheur County prompted the Oregon State Fire Marshal to mobilize two structural task forces to the Cow Valley Fire burning near the town of Brogan. The task forces from Umatilla and Multnomah counties are being sent through Immediate Response, a tool the state fire marshal uses to mobilize task forces outside of a conflagration. 

“The east side of the state has faced challenging fire conditions over the last week. The Cow Valley Fire is being pushed by gusty winds and low humidity,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “We are using an essential tool and the power of the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System to provide added resources to the Cow Valley Fire. Firefighters funded through the 2024 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant allowed a quicker response for the local agencies.”

The fire is rapidly changing and estimated to be about 16,000 acres according to the Vale Bureau of Land Management District and threatening 30 to 50 homes. 

According to the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, the Cow Valley Fire changed direction early Thursday evening and headed east toward the town quickly. The sheriff’s office is advising those in Brogan and the surrounding areas to be prepared to leave their home if an evacuation order is made. Follow the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office for information about evacuations. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed a stretch of Highway 26 in the area of the fire. The agency says the highway is expected to remain closed through the night. 

The Umatilla County task force is made up of local fire agencies from Umatilla, Baker, Gilliam, Morrow, and Union counties. 

The task force from Multnomah County was previously assigned to the Larch Creek Fire. The Oregon State Fire Marshal will continue to monitor the fire and is ready to provide more support if needed.

About Immediate Response
Immediate Response is made possible through the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon program created through Oregon’s wildfire omnibus bill, Senate Bill 762, signed into law in 2021.

OSFM mobilizes resources to Larch Creek Fire in Wasco County - 07/09/24

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon State Fire Marshal is mobilizing four structural task forces and its green incident management team to the Larch Creek Fire burning in Wasco County, 16 miles south of The Dalles.

The fire sparked between Dufur and Tygh Valley around 3 p.m. Tuesday and has quickly grown. The fire is estimated at 2,500 acres. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office has levels 1, 2, and 3 evacuations in place. 

The area remains under a Red Flag Warning for critical fire weather. On Tuesday, temperatures reached 107 degrees. Gusty winds are expected to continue into Wednesday.

Three structural task forces will be briefed at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning with another task force joining later in the afternoon. 

“The heat wave that has gripped Oregon significantly increased the fire danger across the state. The continued hot, dry conditions, and gusty winds are a dangerous combination,” Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Travis Medema said. “I am asking everyone to do what they can to prevent sparking a wildfire.” 

Tuesday night, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the fire which allows the state fire marshal to mobilize state resources to protect life and property.

Following ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined that threats to life, safety, and property exist because of the fire, and the threats exceed the capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment. 

For the latest on evacuations, follow the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office.

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Oregon State Fire Marshal announces first deliveries of type 6 fire engines to Jefferson and Lebanon fire districts (Photo) - 07/09/24

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon State Fire Marshal is thrilled to announce the delivery of the first type 6 fire engines to the Jefferson Fire District and Lebanon Fire District. These deliveries are a milestone in the OSFM Engine Program, enhancing firefighting capabilities across Oregon.

The OSFM Engine Program purchased 76 new apparatus, including 26 Type 3 engines, 20 Type 6 engines, and 30 water tenders. So far, eight Type 3 engines and eight water tenders have been delivered to local agencies throughout the state. Ongoing deliveries of these apparatus will continue as the agency receives them. 

"We are excited to see the first type 6 engines arrive at Jefferson and Lebanon fire districts,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “This program represents a significant investment in the safety of our communities and the effectiveness of our firefighting efforts.”

The OSFM Engine Program, funded through Senate Bill 762, signed into law in 2021, is modernizing the equipment available to Oregon's structural fire service. This program ensures that local fire agencies have the necessary tools to effectively combat wildfires and protect lives and property.

For more information about the OSFM Engine Program and the ongoing efforts to improve wildfire response, please visit the OSFM Engine Program webpage.

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IMG_Keep_It_Legal_Keep_It_Safe.png
Oregon State Fire Marshal urges caution during Fourth of July holiday amid increased wildfire risk (Photo) - 07/01/24

SALEM, Ore., – As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, the Oregon State Fire Marshal is urging all Oregonians to be mindful of the hot weather and increased wildfire risk. With temperatures rising, the potential for wildfires is significantly heightened, and Oregonians should take extra precautions to make sure everyone is safe.

"We’ve already seen this year how wildfires can impact communities with the Darlene 3 Fire in Deschutes County. With temperatures forecasted to be in the 90s for the Fourth of July holiday we’ll see an increased risk of wildfire,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. "We all need to do our part to keep Oregon safe and enjoy a fun, fire-free Fourth of July.

To reduce fire risk, some local governments in Oregon have firework sales or use restrictions in place. Oregonians are asked to check local regulations and follow them where they live or travel to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Consumer-legal fireworks can only be purchased from permitted fireworks retailers and stands. State regulations limit where fireworks may be used. People who plan to visit public lands and parks are asked to leave all fireworks at home. The possession and use of fireworks are prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds. Fireworks are also prohibited on many private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

For those who purchase legal fireworks, fire officials encourage everyone to practice the four Bs of safe fireworks use:

  • Be prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks. Never use fireworks near or on dry grass or vegetation.
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Please wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal.
  • Be aware: use only legal fireworks in legal places.

Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground without a permit issued by the state fire marshal. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon without a permit. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damages. Parents are liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.

Visit the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s website for resources about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, retail sale permits, and state rules for firework use and enforcement activities.

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Darlene_3_OSFM.jpeg
Governor Tina Kotek invokes the Emergency Conflagration Act for Darlene 3 Fire (Photo) - 06/25/24

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the Darlene 3 Fire burning near La Pine in Deschutes County. The fire sparked around 1 p.m. Tuesday, one mile south of La Pine on the east side of Darlene Way. The fire is estimated to be 250 acres in size. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has levels 3 and 2 evacuations in place near the fire. The Oregon State Fire Marshal Red Incident Management Team has been activated along with two structural task forces from Linn and Marion counties. The OSFM is mobilizing four additional task forces who will arrive in the morning. 

“This fire has quickly grown within the last few hours, pushed by gusty winds and high fire conditions. The Emergency Conflagration Act allows us to send the full power of the Oregon fire service to protect life and property,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “As we enter the hot and dry summer months, I am asking Oregonians to do everything they can to prevent wildfires.”

Following ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined that threats to life, safety, and property exist because of the fire, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment.

The governor's declaration allows the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The Oregon State Marshal’s Red Incident Management Team has been mobilized. Along with the local responding agencies, the two task forces from Marion and Linn counties are headed to the scene and will be briefed tonight at 9 p.m.

For the latest on evacuations please check the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office map or follow the agency on social media. For fire information please check out the Central Oregon Fire Info blog or follow Central Oregon Fire Info on social media. 

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Oregon State Fire Marshal urges Oregonians to keep firework use legal and safe - 06/21/24

SALEM, Ore. – With fireworks set to go on sale on Sunday, “Keep it legal, keep it safe” is the message from the Oregon State Fire Marshal. The 2024 fireworks retail sales season begins on June 23 and runs through July 6 in Oregon. The state fire marshal would like everyone to know which fireworks are legal to use, where fireworks can be used, and how to use them safely. 

“We ask Oregonians to be responsible if they plan to use fireworks as part of their celebrations,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Assistant Chief Deputy Mark Johnston said. “Every year, we see fires and injuries because of improper use of fireworks or illegal fireworks. Our message is simple: keep it legal and keep it safe.”  
 
To reduce the risk of starting a fire, some local governments in Oregon have firework sales or use restrictions in place. Oregonians are asked to check local regulations and follow them where they live or where they may be traveling to celebrate the Fourth of July. 

Consumer-legal fireworks can only be purchased from permitted fireworks retailers and stands. State regulations limit where those fireworks may be used, including public lands and parks. The possession and use of fireworks are prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds. Fireworks are also prohibited on many private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. 

For those who purchase legal fireworks, fire officials encourage everyone to practice the four Bs of safe fireworks use: 

  • Be prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket. 
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks. Never use fireworks near or on dry grass or vegetation. 
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Please wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak spent fireworks in a bucket of water before disposal. 
  • Be aware: use only legal fireworks in legal places. 

Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground without a permit issued by the state fire marshal. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon without a permit. Officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor which could result in a fine of up to $2,500. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damages. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children. 

The Oregon State Fire Marshal has resources about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, retail sale permits, and state rules for firework use and enforcement activities to its website

State Fire Marshal mobilizes two task forces to the Upper Applegate fire in Jackson County - 06/21/24

SALEM, Ore. – This morning, the Oregon State Fire Marshal mobilized two structural task forces to the Upper Applegate Fire in Jackson County. The task forces are from Lane and Polk counties and were mobilized through Immediate Response, a tool the state fire marshal uses to send firefighting resources outside of a conflagration. The structural task forces will support the Applegate Valley Fire District.   

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, as of Friday morning, the Upper Applegate Fire was estimated to be 500 acres in size. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has Level 1 Be Ready evacuation notices in place for homes near the fire. You can find the latest evacuation map here and information about evacuations here. 

“Our priority is to proactively protect our communities from the threat of wildfires. We're sending resources to boost capacity and support the Applegate Valley Fire District until the fire is contained,” said Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. “With warm, dry weather in the forecast, the risk of wildfires is heightened across Oregon. We urge everyone to help our firefighters by taking preventive measures to avoid sparking a wildfire this summer and follow all burning restrictions.” 

For information about the fire, please follow the Oregon Department of Forestry – Southwest District. Learn how to be #WildfireAware this summer by following these wildfire prevention tips. 

About Immediate Response 

Immediate Response is made possible through the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative, created through Oregon’s wildfire omnibus bill, Senate Bill 762, signed into law in 2021.  

LEARN MORE: Response Ready Oregon