ODF crews fought more fires in 2017, but fires burned less land

Central Point, Ore. — ODF declared the end of fire season in our area Friday morning. While crews fought more fires than usual, those fires burned less land.

“This is the first time that all parts of the district are receiving a significant amount of rainfall and that’s comforting enough for us to call fire season,” Melissa Cano, Public Information Officer for ODF says.

The drone of helicopters and tankers, has been replaced by the quiet of rain. It’s a welcome sight for Oregon Department of Forestry crews.

“A lot of our firefighters are happy because it was a very lengthy season,” Cano says, “and it posed a lot of challenges.”

Cano says this season will be most remembered by the vast number of lightning-sparked fires.

“The most challenging week for us was something that was purely not preventable, and it was that week of back to back lightning,” Cano says, “and we ran on approximately 140 fires in 7 days.”

In total, ODF handled 335 fires, over 138 days. That’s a hundred more fires than the 10 year average over about the same amount of time. But despite a much larger number of fires, less than 1,000 acres burned. The 10 year average is more than 6,000.

“That trade off was really great,” Cano says, “and we credit it to not only our teamwork,our aggressive initial attack – which we take a lot of pride in in our training-, but all of our partners as well.”

And though fire season is over, fire prevention continues. Crews that are staying on through the winter will now turn to brush work and fuels reduction on the 1.8-million acres of land ODF manages.

“And what that means is, preparing for next fire season.”

The end of fire season means burning is allowed again. ODF reminds you to still use caution. Never leave a burn unattended, and have a water source nearby. It’s also up to you to call and check with your air quality line to make sure no local restrictions are in place.

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