Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cove Fire Evening Upate

Cove Fire:  Firefighters work together to stop spread; evacuees allowed to return

Approximately forty campers from the E Loop of Cove Palisades State Park Campground and sixty residents from a nearby subdivision were evacuated earlier today as fire pushed by strong winds quickly burned through sagebrush, juniper and grass.  Local farmers spotted the fire around 10:30 am and took action to suppress it until fire personnel arrived.  Firefighters from Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), and Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests joined firefighters from Jefferson County Rural Fire Department #1 to check the spread of the fire.  Emergency personnel from Oregon State Police and Warm Springs Police Department assisted Sheriff Jim Adkins and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in notifying residents and campers to evacuate the area.  The evacuation order has been lifted and evacuees have returned to their homes and camps.  Two vacant homes and several outbuildings were destroyed by the fire, but no injuries to the public or emergency personnel were reported.  Investigators from Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Forestry determined the cause to be bbq briquettes which were improperly disposed of.  Fuel conditions throughout central Oregon remain extreme; fire managers urge Oregonians to be vigilant about prevention and limit the risk of starting a wildfire by continuing to practice fire safety awareness.  The public is also reminded that campfires are banned on Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Prineville BLM, Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands, and Oregon State Parks.

While firefighting resources are stretched during these extreme conditions state, federal and county resources worked together to stop the fire at approximately 200 acres.  Unified Command was established to manage the 11 engines, 1 water tender, 2 crews, 2 heavy air tankers with a lead plane, a heli-tanker and air attack to catch the fire and provide structure protection for the evacuated area.  Additional overhead personnel worked to direct resources during this challenging fire.  Firefighters will continue to work this evening to mop-up hot spots and keep the fire inside containment lines.  Tomorrow crews from Dear Ridge Correctional Institution will join engines to continue mop-up.  The fire burned in a mix of steep terrain near Cove Palisades State Park, and more gentle ground near the residential area.  While winds have moderated, firefighters continue to watch for any sparks which could quickly take off in the light fuels outside the fire lines.


Central Oregon Firefighters Respond to New Wildfire

A new wildfire (Incident #568) was reported south of Cove Palisades State Park, two miles northwest of Culver. The Cove Fire has grown quickly to 200 acres, and has burned two homes, and several outbuildings. The fire is burning in sagebrush, grass and juniper. The cause is human, and remains under investigation, although the fire started in the campground at Cove Palisades. Oregon State Police will be providing a fire investigator to determine the specific cause.

The fire is being jointly managed by Oregon Department of Forestry and Jefferson County, with additional assistance from Prineville BLM and Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest. Resources responding include 10 engines, 2 airtankers, 2 helicopters (including one loaned from Warm Springs), 2 handcrews and a water tender. In addition, Jefferson County Rural Fire District #1 and neighboring counties have provided structure engines to protect homes. The Jefferson County Sheriff Department has evacuated about 60 people in a small subdivision west of Culver. Red Cross is providing assistance as needed at Culver High School.

Fire fighters are making progress on the fire; however, there is no containment at this time. Firefighters are challenged by steep slopes out of the park, dry conditions, and light flashy fuels. This area received little or no rain today, and winds remain a main factor in fire spread.

This fire indicates that fire conditions in Central Oregon remain extreme. Even in areas that received rain from the storm that passed through the area remain dry. With hunting season beginning, and many people still out camping, fire officials want to remind everyone that campfires are prohibited on lands protected by the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Prineville BLM, Oregon Department of Forestry, and Oregon State Parks.




Saturday, August 15, 2015


With dry conditions expected to continue in Central Oregon and fire suppression resources limited due to numerous wildfires in Oregon and Washington, the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes National Forest and the Ochoco National Forest, including the Crooked River National Grassland, are implementing a total campfire restriction. Effective 12:01 a.m. August 18, 2015 (Tuesday), all open fires, including charcoal fires, will be prohibited on all lands administered by the Deschutes National Forest, the Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland, and the Prineville District, BLM.  There are no exceptions for developed or hosted campgrounds. 

In addition to campfire restrictions, smoking remains restricted to an enclosed vehicle or building, in a designated campground, in boats on lakes and rivers, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable material. Portable cooking stoves or lanterns using liquefied or bottled fuel may still be used in all areas. Officials also want to remind the public that using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, explosives, and fireworks continue to be prohibited on all federal lands.  

At this time there are no restrictions on motorized travel on BLM or FS roads in Central Oregon; however, fire officials want to remind visitors about the dangers of driving through or parking on vegetation. The hot undercarriage of a vehicle can easily ignite, not only burning the vehicle but also spreading to nearby vegetation. At this time, visitors are asked to avoid driving on two-track roads with vegetation down the center, and to park in areas clear of vegetation. Make sure vehicles carry a container of water or a fire extinguisher. 

Before putting public use restrictions in place officials carefully consider the current fire situation, fuel moisture and predicted weather before making the decision to implement fire restrictions. Every year lightning-caused fires place a heavy demand on our firefighting resources, and put our wildlands, our firefighters, and our communities at risk. Fires caused through carelessness or negligence only increase the threat to life and livelihood, and place an even greater burden on already busy firefighters.  Every fire that’s prevented protects our communities and helps our firefighters remain available, rested, and safe.



Sunday, August 9, 2015

Central Oregon smoke is coming from outside the area

Hazy skies over Central Oregon are due to wildfires within the state, but there are currently no large fires in the Central Oregon Fire Management Service area.

A heavy smoke moved across Central Oregon today, leading to a flurry of inquiries about wildfire activity.

Local firefighters continue to respond to small, human-caused fires, but there are no large incidents putting up smoke right now on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, the Prineville BLM or the Crooked River National Grassland.

According to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland, a 900-acre wildfire was reported yesterday about 12 miles east of Warm Springs.

The Stouts Fire, about 16 miles east of Canyonville, Ore., is 22,501 acres and 35 percent contained, according to the fire’s information office.

Smoke from these and other fires can drift into Central Oregon when driven by wind.

More information about fires in Oregon can be found online from InciWeb at

Or from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center at

REMINDER: Fire danger across public lands in Central Oregon remains extremely high.

Campfires are only allowed within fire rings at designated campgrounds and chainsaw use is prohibited until conditions moderate.

Help us stay fire safe this year by knowing the rules and helping to prevent human-caused fires.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Getting Ready

Central Oregon rappellers performed proficiency tests this morning, rappelling outside the Prineville airport. Each rappeller must perform either a proficiency or operational rappel every two weeks to remain current in their qualifications.