News, Tillamook State Forest, Wildfire

Fire season in local region begins July 1

At 1 a.m. on July 1, fire season will begin in lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in the Northwest Oregon Forest Protective Association (NWOFPA ), which includes areas in and near the Tillamook State Forest.

“At the same time, we will be entering into our public use restrictions,” said ODF Forest Grove District Forester Mike Cafferata in an email sent Thursday afternoon to forest operators and landowners.

“Fire starts have been low, but are increasing,” He added. “We have had 2 target shooting fires so far in the association, and several debris burns that have spread from their intended area.”

Last year’s fire season began June 14 and ended October 1.

In an earlier email sent Monday, Cafferata said that going into fire season prior to Independence Day allowed forestry officials to prohibit fireworks in their territory, and to hold violators responsible if they were to start a fire. In preparation of what is forecast to be a fairly mild fire season, Cafferata said preparations were under way in advance of fire season.

“Our fire crews are hired and heavily into training. This week many of them are in Sweet Home at fire school getting basic and advanced classes,” he said.

The NWOFPA region includes much of the regions of Gales Creek, Buxton, Timber, Manning, and the Tillamook State Forest, among other areas. It stretches north to the Columbia River, west to the Pacific Ocean, south to Sheridan, and east to parts of Gales Creek, the Killin Wetlands outside of Banks and to Scappoose.

The public and industrial users of local forests can stay informed of current fire restrictions by visiting the agency’s Fire Restrictions & Closures website or calling their local ODF or protective association office, in this case, Forest Grove ODF offices for most of our readers at 503-357-2191.

Landowners and forest operators can also call their local ODF district for a fire equipment inspection. While the Oregon Department of Forestry fields their own firefighting staff, the agency is bolstered by agreements with individual logging crews that maintain their own firefighting equipment and aid at wildfires throughout the season..

“Our Stewardship Foresters have been doing pre-season checks and are available to help,” Cafferata said. “Please reach out if you would like them to check your fire equipment. Also, if you have equipment to help on fires, reach out to get it signed up on a preseason agreement. This will facilitate working on fires and getting prompt payment afterwards.”

Sign up for text alerts

Sign up for text alerts for real time fire season information in the Forest Grove, Tillamook, and Astoria ODF districts by texting “NWOA” to 877-274-4067.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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