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Fire season starting in three more ODF districts - 06/11/21

With conditions drier than normal for this time of year, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Western Lane, South Cascade and West Oregon districts will enter fire season at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 16.  This applies to ODF-protected lands in Benton, Linn, Lincoln, Polk, and Lane counties, the southern portion of Yamhill County and the northern portion of Douglas County.  Separately, Linn, Benton and Lane counties traditionally impose a burn ban beginning June 16 each year.  In all counties, the burning of backyard debris is prohibited during fire season.

“With our current fuel moistures, conditions are what we typically see in early to mid-July.  All signs are pointing to a busy fire season as we progress further into the year,” said West Oregon District Forester Michael Curran.  “The majority of our fire starts in the southern Willamette Valley are human caused, and we urge the public to be aware of Public Use Restrictions,” Curran said. The public can find information on use restrictions on ODF’s interactive map, social media, or by contacting their local ODF office.

Benton County Fire Defense Board Chief Rick Smith said, “We hope the public has an increased awareness of wildfires.” He recommends that landowners “Create defensible space around your property by removing dead vegetation, keeping grass and brush mowed short, and landscape plants green and well-watered. It can make the difference between losing and saving a structure in the event of a wildfire.”

For updates on fire danger levels, call the South Cascade Office (eastern Lane & Linn Counties) at 541-726-3588, ext. 1, the Western Lane Office (Includes northern Douglas County) at 541-935-2222, or the West Oregon Office (Benton, Polk, Lincoln & southern Yamhill Counties) at 541-929-6300.

Oregon Department of Forestry to begin fire season June 9 in the Northeast Oregon District - 06/07/21

LA GRANDE, Ore. - A drier than normal spring and stretches of warmer than normal weather has prompted Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to begin fire season on private forest lands in northeast Oregon. Fire season will begin at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, June 9 for about 2 million acres of forest and range lands protected by ODF Northeast Oregon District.

“We’ve been seeing fire conditions and behavior that is more indicative of mid to late July recently,” said Joe Hessel, ODF District Forester.

Hessel said, “The fuel moisture of our dead fuels is already at a point where they will readily burn, and it won’t be long before our grasses have cured. By declaring fire season, we can put measures in place to prevent human-caused fires. We’re already seeing fires caused by lightning, so we need to use the tools we have to minimize other ignition sources.”

The fire season declaration places fire prevention restrictions on landowners and public. Additionally, fire prevention regulations on industrial logging and forest management activities are put into place. Lands affected include private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in Union, Baker, Wallowa, and Umatilla counties along with small portions of Malheur, Morrow and Grant counties within the Northeast Oregon Forest Protection District. 

Hessel states, “In a normal season, we would have experienced spring moisture which typically delays the start of fire season until later in June. This season, significant amounts of moisture have been absent. We’ve already had substantial fires on the landscape and it’s time to do everything we can to mitigate fire starts.”

Thunderstorms that passed through the area last week caused several early season ignitions around the region.

During fire season:
• Debris burning is prohibited. Burn Permits will not be issued for burn barrels or open burning on any private forest and range lands within the Northeast Forest Protection District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).
• The use of exploding targets, tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base is prohibited.
• Logging and other industrial operations must meet requirements for fire prevention, such as fire tools, water supply, and watchman service when those operations are occurring on lands protected by ODF. Contact your local Stewardship Forester at any ODF office for more information.
• Campfires must be DEAD OUT! Recreationists are reminded that campfires need to be attended and fully extinguished before being left. Get permission from the landowner prior to starting a campfire.
• The use of sky lanterns is illegal at all times in Oregon.


Note: we have new fire restriction signs located throughout the district, with a Fire Prevention information line; (541) 975-3027 and a QR code which will take you to www.bmidc.org, for current information on fire restrictions.

To report a fire, dial 9-1-1.

For information on the weekends call:
Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center La Grande (541) 963-7171


Make sure you know what the fire restrictions are before you head out. Check with your local Forest Service office for fire regulations on National Forest land, or BLM office for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Information on Public-Use Restrictions on the Oregon Department of Forestry, Umatilla National Forest and Wallowa Whitman National Forest can be found at http://bmidc.org/index.shtml under Current Information: Fire Restrictions.
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State Forests Advisory Committee meets June 11 via Zoom - 06/04/21

SALEM, Ore. – An Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) state forests advisory group will meet Friday, June 11 virtually via Zoom to hear an update on a draft Habitat Conservation Plan and development of a related Forest Management Plan for western Oregon’s state forests.

Other matters on the agenda include an update on strategic planning for the agency’s Recreation, Education and Interpretive program, the 2021 legislative session, and the Santiam State Forest restoration.

The State Forests Advisory Committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. via the Zoom virtual meeting platform. Instructions to view or listen to the meeting will be posted along with the full meeting agenda at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Board/Pages/SFAC.aspx.

A public comment opportunity will be provided at the beginning of the meeting. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. Questions about accessibility or special accommodations for the meeting can be directed to the Oregon Department of Forestry at 503-945-7427.

SFAC’s role

The State Forests Advisory Committee (SFAC) includes citizens and representatives of timber, environmental and recreation groups. SFAC provides a forum to discuss issues, opportunities and concerns, and offer advice and guidance to ODF on the implementation of the Northwest Oregon State Forests Management Plan. The plan provides guidance for managing 616,000 acres within the Tillamook, Clatsop and Santiam State Forests, and several scattered state-owned forest tracts in Benton, Polk, Lincoln and Lane counties through a balanced approach to generate revenue while prioritizing environmental and social benefits.

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Keep Oregon Green Billboard Poster Contest - 06/01/21

(SALEM, Ore.) - Keep Oregon Green is celebrating its 80-year history by unveiling its first billboard poster art contest. The Association is asking Oregonians of all ages to create and submit entries and share their vision for keeping Oregon free of wildfire.

“We are excited to celebrate our important milestone by offering this fun opportunity to all Oregon residents. As over 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are human-caused, the power of prevention is 100% our shared responsibility,” said Kristin Babbs, president of the Keep Oregon Green Association. “The purpose of the poster contest is to involve the public in helping reduce the number of carless wildfires we see each year and remind everyone how critical it is to prevent them.”

The contest opens on June 1, and the entry deadline is 5 p.m., August 9, 2021 (Smokey Bear’s birthday).

All submitted artwork will be reviewed in Fall of 2021, and Oregon will become an open-air art gallery in 2022, showcasing the first-place winning artwork on billboards at major intersections, highways and interstates across the state.

There will be three separate divisions based on age. Within each division will be first, second, and third-place winners. Cash prizes and certificates will be awarded to the first three people who place in each age division (grades 1-5; 6-12; and 18+ years). All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

Keep Oregon Green’s annual wildfire prevention campaigns encourage residents and visitors to practice basic wildfire safety while enjoying the outdoors. TV and radio commercials, social media posts and billboards provide daily reminders to be careful with activities that can spark a wildfire during the most critical time of year. This year’s campaign features stunning photos of Oregon’s iconic landscapes and the use of the #OregonOurOregon hashtag.

For more wildfire prevention inspiration, contest rules, prizes and information on how and where to send your artwork, go to https://keeporegongreen.org/kog-billboard-contest-submissions/

 

About the Keep Oregon Green Association:

For 80 years the Keep Oregon Green Association has been educating the public on the how to prevent wildfires. Beginning its efforts in April of 1941, after a public outcry over the human-caused Tillamook Burns, roughly 250 Oregon leaders came together to form Keep Oregon Green (KOG). KOG’s mission is to promote healthy landscapes and safe communities by educating the public of everyone’s shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires.

 

 

 

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Oregon Board of Forestry hosts virtual public meeting on June 9 - 05/28/21

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Board of Forestry will meet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 9. In compliance with Gov. Kate Brown’s directive on social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, this will be a virtual public meeting.

The Board business agenda includes:

  • State forester recruitment discussion
  • Fire season readiness
  • Forest Protective Association budgets
  • Macias Gini & O’Connell LLP (MGO) report and department implementation plan
  • Senate Bill 1602 implementation update
  • Forest Trust Lands Advisory Committee testimony
  • Western Oregon State Forests HCP and FMP update
  • Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust

View the agenda for additional topics to be discussed at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/board/pages/bofmeetings.aspx.

The meeting will be livestreamed and written public comment will be accepted. The live testimony is reserved for the Board decision items one, two, four and five. Sign up instructions are outlined on the Board meeting website. Written testimony can be submitted before or after the meeting to oardofForestry@oregon.gov">BoardofForestry@oregon.gov.

The board packet and livestream option are available at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/board/pages/bofmeetings.aspx.

Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services, or assistance can be arranged by calling ODF’s Public Affairs Office at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting at 503-945-7200.

The Oregon Board of Forestry consists of seven citizens nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. Responsibilities include appointing the State Forester, setting management direction for state-owned forests, adopting rules governing timber harvest and other practices on private forestland, and promoting sustainable management of Oregon’s 30 million-acre forestland base. More information about the Board is available at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/board/pages/aboutbof.aspx.

Board of Forestry appoints acting state forester - 05/27/21

During a special meeting this morning, the Board of Forestry voted unanimously to designate Nancy Hirsch as the acting state forester while the board conducts a nationwide open, competitive recruitment for Oregon’s next state forester. Hirsch will step into the interim role, which also serves as the chief executive officer for the Department of Forestry, on June 1.

Hirsch served in a number of executive leadership roles at the department before retiring in 2019, including as chief of both the Protection and State Forests divisions and as the deputy state forester. Since her retirement, Hirsch has served as the administrator of the Emergency Fire Cost Committee, which supervises and controls the distribution of funds from the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund.

“Nancy has a wealth of knowledge and experience in forestry and fire protection in Oregon, and I am grateful for her willingness to return from retirement to serve in this capacity while we search for the next state forester,” said Board Chair Jim Kelly. “I am confident in her ability to seamlessly integrate back into the department’s operations and lead the department during this critical period of transition.”

Aside from the transition in its top leadership position, the department will be navigating other significant challenges in the coming months, including the very high likelihood of a difficult fire season and the continued implementation of recommendations from both the recent assessment of the department’s fire finance function and the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response. But those challenges did not deter Hirsch from accepting the board’s appointment of her as the acting state forester.

“I respect and care deeply about the dedicated employees at ODF and the services they deliver every day throughout Oregon,” said Hirsch, who has spent more than 33 years with the department. “ODF is at a critical moment, and I am confident that with the support of the Board of Forestry, Governor’s Office, and Legislature, ODF can begin rebuilding trust and confidence in our fiscal responsibility and accountability.”

While there was not an opportunity for public comment during the special meeting, Kelly said there will be opportunities for the public to provide input to the board throughout the recruitment process. A recording of the special meeting will be posted shortly to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s YouTube channel.

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Memorial Day weekend comes with higher fire risk - 05/26/21

SALEM, Ore. – The first holiday getaway of the season is finally here as families and friends look forward to Oregon’s great outdoors. AAA reports that about 485,000 Oregonians plan to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, a big increase from 2020.

Also up will be fire danger. As people head to their favorite camping spot this weekend, fire professionals are spreading a word of caution with temperatures expected to be near 90 degrees.

“It’s time for everyone to put their Smokey hat on,” said Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields. “The continued drought and unseasonably warm weather we’re facing could lead to unintentional wildfires.”

Fields says that ODF firefighters have already been busy this year with 267 fires burning over 1,900 acres, more than twice the 10-year average for number of fires. Fire crews on patrol have also extinguished about a dozen abandoned campfires.

“The last thing anyone wants is to have their holiday weekend ruined by not putting out their campfire.” Fields reiterated that people should follow well-known fire prevention tips listed below.

  • Know before you go: Before going camping, always contact the forest district, agency or landowner first to learn if there are any current campfire restrictions where you plan to recreate.
  • Have water and fire tools on site: Bring a shovel and a bucket of water to extinguish any escaped embers. When you are ready to leave, drown all embers with water, stir the coals, and drown again. Repeat these steps until the fire is DEAD out. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.
  • Select the right spot: Where campfires are allowed, choose a site with an existing ring. Fire pits in established campgrounds are the best spots. If you choose to build a campfire, avoid building it near your tent, structures, vehicles, shrubs or trees, and be aware of low-hanging branches overhead. Clear the site down to bare soil, at least five feet on all sides, and circle it with rocks. Store unused firewood a good distance from the fire.
  • Keep your campfire small: A campfire is less likely to escape control if it is kept small. A large fire may cast hot embers long distances. Add firewood in small amounts as existing material is consumed.
  • Attend your campfire at all times: A campfire left unattended for even a few minutes can grow into a costly, damaging wildfire. Stay with your campfire from start to finish until it is dead out, as required by law. That ensures any escaped sparks or embers can be extinguished quickly.
  • Consider alternatives to a campfire this summer: Portable camp stoves are a safer option to campfires at any time of year. Areas that prohibit campfires outside maintained campgrounds with established fire pits often allow camp stoves.
  • Never use gasoline or other accelerants: Don’t use flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline, propane or lighter fluid, to start or increase your campfire.
  • Burn ONLY local wood: Hauling your firewood to a remote campground can potentially transport invasive species. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it or gather wood on site where permitted. State regulations prohibit the open burning of any other material that creates dense, toxic smoke or noxious odors. 

Escaped campfires can be costly. State and federal law require the proper clearing, building, attending and extinguishing of open fires at any time of year. While citations and fines may apply, the biggest potential cost for an escaped campfire is firefighting costs. These can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars or more.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month. Visit www.keeporegongreen.org for more wildfire prevention tips and see Smokey Bear at https://www.smokeybear.com/en.

COMMITTEE FOR EMERGENCY FIRE COST TO MEET June 8 VIA ZOOM - 05/26/21

SALEM, Ore. – The Emergency Fire Cost Committee will meet virtually Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. To join the call or provide public comment at this virtual meeting, please use the Zoom video conference information found on the agenda.

The meeting is accessible to persons with disabilities. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the meeting by contacting Chrystal Bader at 503-945-7220.

Among agenda items are:

  • Election of EFCC chair
  • Financial status of the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund (OFLPF)
  • Insurance update
  • Weather update
  • Update status of Large Fire Cost Collection efforts
  • Unencumbered Balance of OFLPF
  • Agency/ Fire Division report
  • Administrator report

This meeting is open to the public. Public comments will be accepted near the end of the meeting as noted on the agenda.

The Emergency Fire Cost Committee oversees the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund (OFLPF), established by the Oregon Legislature as an insurance fund with the purpose of equalizing emergency fire suppression costs among the various Oregon Department of Forestry protection districts. The emergency funding system is designed to operate as an insurance policy whereby all districts contribute (pay premiums) into the fund so that money will be available to any individual district to pay fire suppression costs on emergency fires. More information can be found here: https://www.oregon.gov/odf/Board/Pages/EFCC.aspx

Map of Curry County shows the locations where two new sudden oak death infestations have occurred outside the existing quarantine boundary.
Map of Curry County shows the locations where two new sudden oak death infestations have occurred outside the existing quarantine boundary.
Tests show the sudden oak death strain found near Port Orford has not been seen before in the wild in Oregon (Photo) - 05/26/21

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Tests on tanoaks trees found dying of sudden oak death near Port Orford show the particular variant they are infected with has not been seen before in the wild. For more than a decade the NA2 variant of sudden oak death has popped up from California to British Columbia as well as Oregon, but so far only in nursery stock.

“The site near Port Orford appears to be the first on the West Coast where the variant has been identified in samples collected from wild trees,” according to Niklaus Grunwald, PhD, with USDA Agricultural Research. He collaborated with Jared LeBoldus, PhD, at Oregon State University’s Forest Pathology Lab in Corvallis to do the DNA testing which identified the variant in samples from the Port Orford tanoak trees.

A different strain of sudden oak death – the NA1 variant – has been killing tanoaks in Oregon since the disease was first discovered in Oregon in 2001. A European strain – the EU1 variant – was first found in Oregon in 2015. It turned up in wild tanoak trees this spring at a site in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, just across the Rogue River from the current sudden oak death quarantine boundary. Trees at that site have since been cut and piled ready for burning.

Treatment at the site where the NA2 variant was found is expected to take place in June. All tanoaks within a set distance of trees known to be infected will be cut and piled for burning, with the goal of eradicating sudden oak death from that location. That site is along Highway 101, about 21 miles northwest of the existing quarantine zone and a mile from Port Orford.

SOD crews from Oregon Department of Forestry and the USDA Forest Service are continuing to heavily monitor both areas for the presence of trees and plants infested with Phytophthora ramorum, a water mold that causes sudden oak death. Both areas will also be monitored by aerial disease survey experts, with helicopter flights over northern Curry County planned.

It is not known how the NA2 variant escaped into the wild. Although this is the first report of the NA2 variant being found on trees in nature, Oregon has been vigilant about monitoring and testing and is actively trying to slow the spread of sudden oak death, which 20 years after discovery is still confined to Curry County. By contrast, sudden oak death is now reported in forests in every coastal California county from the Oregon border to Monterey.

Background

The invasive non-native pathogen that causes the sudden oak death (SOD) in tanoak was first detected in Oregon in 2001. A plant quarantine of the area was promptly set up, which has gradually expanded to cover almost a third of Curry County. When attempts to eradicate the disease – which can survive on several native and non-native plant species – proved impossible, Oregon’s SOD program switched to slowing the spread of the disease.

In 2010, a Generally Infested Area (GIA) within the quarantine area was created. Within that zone, where the disease is well established, eradication treatments are no longer required. The GIA was enlarged in late 2020 and now covers 123 square miles within the quarantine area; it is about 19 miles north to south and nine miles east to west.

In Europe, the EU1 strain of P. ramorum has been found to damage and kill several conifer species, including Douglas-fir, western hemlock, grand fir, and larch. That strain was first found in Oregon in 2015 within the existing quarantine area. Infestations of the EU1 strain are aggressively treated with the goal of local eradication.

Read more about sudden oak death at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Documents/ForestBenefits/SOD.pdf.

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CORRECTED: Forest Trust Land Advisory Committee meets virtually on Friday, May 28 - 05/26/21

**UPDATED to include correct Zoom link**

SALEM, Ore – The Forest Trust Land Advisory Committee will meet virtually via Zoom at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 28. Items on the committee’s agenda include:

  • Update on the Western Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan and companion Forest Management Plan processes
  • State forest access and related rulemaking
  • Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust update

This meeting is open to the public, and public comment is scheduled for the beginning of the meeting. The Zoom log-in is at https://odf.zoom.us/j/93687861150. The meeting agenda and materials will be posted on the department’s web site at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Board/Pages/FTLAC.aspx.

The Forest Trust Land Advisory Committee is comprised of seven county commissioners representing 15 Oregon counties where state forestlands are located. The FTLAC is a statutorily established committee that advises the Board of Forestry on matters related to forestland managed by ODF.

Questions about accessibility or special accommodations can be directed to the Oregon Department of Forestry at least 24 hours prior to the meeting at 503-945-7200.

Oregon Board of Forestry hosts a special virtual public meeting on May 27 - 05/21/21

The Oregon Board of Forestry will hold a special meeting on May 27, 2021 to deliberate on the appointment of an acting state forester. The meeting will be held virtually and will be live streamed on the Oregon Department of Forestry’s YouTube channel. The agenda for this meeting is available at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Board/Pages/BOFMeetings.aspx.

There will not be an opportunity for public comment during the meeting; however written testimony can be emailed to oardofForestry@oregon.gov" target="_blank">BoardofForestry@oregon.gov before or after the meeting.

Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services, or assistance can be arranged by calling ODF’s Public Affairs Office at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting at 503-945-7200. 

Oregon Department of Forestry to hold webinar May 27 on its draft Carbon and Climate Change Plan - 05/21/21

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Forestry will walk members of the public through its draft Climate Change and Carbon Plan during an online information session on Thursday, May 27 from noon to 1:30 p.m.

The draft plan, meeting agenda and links to supporting information will be available on ODF’s Climate Change web page here. To attend, please register in advance on that same web page. After registering, ODF will send a confirmation email with information about how to join the Zoom meeting.

The Board of Forestry’s new Chair, Jim Kelly, is expected to make introductory remarks at the start of the meeting. A recording of the webinar in both English and Spanish translation will be available after May 27. Details will be shared at the webinar and on this page.

Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services, or assistance can be arranged by calling ODF’s Public Affairs Office at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting at 503-945-7200.

General comment about the plan can be submitted to the agency through June by filling out this comment form.

The plan will position Oregon forestry as a regional leader in climate-smart forestry, including both climate-change mitigation and adaptation. The goals are to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration (i.e. storage of carbon in trees), and positively benefit climate-impacted and resource-dependent communities. Under the plan, ODF will become a leader in promoting climate-smart forest policies and actions.

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Tanoaks dying from sudden oak death along Highway 101 are inspected by a worker.
Tanoaks dying from sudden oak death along Highway 101 are inspected by a worker.
Second sudden oak death site found outside existing quarantine area near Port Orford - 05/18/21

PORT ORFORD, Ore. – A second site where tanoaks have been found infected with the sudden oak death pathogen was detected 21 miles northwest of the existing quarantine area for the tree disease. On April 27 an OSU researcher driving back from Brookings noticed dying tanoaks along Highway 101 just outside Port Orford. She stopped and collected samples, which tested positive on May 10 at the OSU Forest Pathology Lab in Corvallis for Phytophthora ramorum, which causes sudden oak death. The pathogen can infect many plants but kills tanoaks.

The new site’s discovery comes just as cutting and piling of tanoaks at a site on the north bank of the Rogue River was completed. That site was discovered earlier this spring in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Five tanoaks were found there to be infected with the EU1 strain of P. ramorum. To prevent spores from spreading the disease, all tanoaks near where infected trees were found were cut, piled and will be burned later this year.

Both sites are in Curry County but beyond the current 515-square-mile SOD quarantine area. The first site is near the Myrtle Tree Trail and about six miles north of the nearest previously known sudden oak death infestation. It has been determined that no public recreation restrictions will be necessary while treating this area.  The second site is 13 miles south of Coos County.

Following federal protocol, the samples from the second site will be sent from OSU to the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Plant Health Lab in Salem for confirmatory testing. If positive the samples will be shipped to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Lab in Maryland for final confirmation. New infestation sites must be confirmed by APHIS’ Plant Protection Quarantine unit before regulatory action may take place. Lab tests are still being done at OSU to determine the pathogen strain at the second site.

SOD crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry and the USDA Forest Service will continue to heavily monitor both areas for the presence of infested trees and plants. Both areas will also be monitored by aerial disease survey experts, with helicopter flights over northern Curry County planned.

Oregon regulations require state and private property officially confirmed as infested with SOD undergo eradication treatments. Federal and state funds are available to cover the cost of treating both infected areas. The full extent of the second site is still being determined pending surveyors being granted access to nearby private land.

ODA maintains the Phytophthora ramorum Quarantine which allows any property in the state, including a buffer zone of up to 3 miles surrounding where a SOD infestation has been confirmed, to be placed under quarantine (OAR 603-052-1230(2)(d). Thus, a unique emergency quarantine order does not need to be issued. Oregon’s SOD Program will consult with stakeholders regarding any potential expansion of quarantine boundaries. 

Background

The invasive non-native pathogen that causes the sudden oak death (SOD) in tanoak was first detected in Oregon in 2001. A plant quarantine of the area was promptly set up, which has gradually expanded to cover almost a third of Curry County. When attempts to eradicate the disease – which can survive on several native and non-native plant species – proved impossible, Oregon’s SOD program switched to slowing the spread of the disease.

In 2010, a Generally Infested Area (GIA) within the quarantine area was created. Within that zone, where the disease is well established, eradication treatments are no longer required. The GIA was enlarged in late 2020 and now covers 123 square miles within the quarantine area; it is about 19 miles north to south and nine miles east to west.

In Europe, the EU1 strain of P. ramorum has been found to damage and kill several conifer species, including Douglas-fir, western hemlock, grand fir, and larch. That strain was first found in Oregon in 2015 within the existing quarantine area. Infestations of the EU1 strain are aggressively treated with the goal of local eradication.

Read more about sudden oak death at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Documents/ForestBenefits/SOD.pdf.

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Crooked Finger OHV area, nearby roads open in Santiam State Forest - 05/17/21

Salem, Ore. – The Santiam State Forest’s Crooked Finger Off-Highway Vehicle Designated Recreation Area, a portion of the Crooked Finger Mainline Road, and adjacent roads off of the Crooked Finger 300 road system will re-open to public use starting Monday, May 17 - the first area to re-open on the Santiam State Forest after 2020’s wildfires damaged more than 16,000 acres.

Burned portions of the forest are still closed for safety reasons, as are some areas where repair and debris removal projects are still underway.. The Crooked Finger OHV area and adjacent roads that are to be re-opened were not severely impacted by the fires.

To help the public better understand which areas are currently accessible, current status and anticipated re-opening timelines on areas popular for recreation are posted on the Santiam State Forest recovery site at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/recreation/Pages/santiam-state-forest.aspx. Re-openings will also be announced on ODF’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

In closed areas, some of the recovery and restoration activities include re-establishing and repairing trails, replacing infrastructure like signs and bridges, removing hazard trees, and post-fire timber harvesting in some areas.

No matter where you go, outdoor activity comes with some level of risk. Here are some safety tips:

  • Do not enter closed or burned areas.
  • Use extra caution when driving on single-lane gravel roads in the forest. Active recovery and logging operations are underway. Keep to the right and anticipate oncoming traffic such as trucks, heavy equipment, and other vehicles.
  • Many forest roads cross multiple ownerships, and levels of road maintenance can vary accordingly.
  • Respect all land closures, public and private.