Skip to Content

One year after Two Bulls, C.O. fire season declared


Anticipated warmer and drier weather is prompting officials with the Oregon Department of Forestry to declare the start of fire season with ODF’s Central Oregon District, effective Saturday morning.

That’s about the same time as last year, but is still about three weeks ahead of what is considered normal, officials said — noting that the devastating Two Bulls Fire west of Bend started on Saturday, June 7 of last year.

The weather in the first part of spring was much warmer and drier than normal, and officials anticipated fire season could begin as early as mid-May. Fortunately, But May’s cool weather and above normal rainfall delayed the onset of severe burning conditions.

Forecasters are calling for the return of much drier and warmer conditions beginning this weekend,which will remain for the foreseeable future. With the change in the weather, fire danger will increase very rapidly, officials warned.

“The cool and unsettled weather of the past several weeks has kept fuel moistures in small fuels such grasses, needles, and twigs relatively high,” says George Ponte, Central Oregon District forester. “But we have not received enough precipitation to significantly change the ongoing drought conditions and the larger fuels remain dry with fuel moistures that are below average.

“The smaller fuels will dry out very quickly with the return of hot and dry conditions, and this will result in the rapid increase of fire danger levels.”

“Most people in Central Oregon are aware of the predictions for a very severe fire season, and I hope those conditions do not come true, but we will be ready in any case,” Ponte said.

“Ultimately, the severity of this season will be determined by three factors: how much lightning we get, how much rain comes with those storms, and, most importantly, how much help we get from folks in preventing human-caused fires.”

“Fire season” is a legal designation which imposes certain restrictions on the public, forestland owners and people working in state and private forests.

The use of fireworks, exploding targets, tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge at its base is prohibited. Forest operators are required to have firefighting equipment on site.

Outdoor burning is prohibited without a permit issued by ODF or a local fire department. However, most local fire departments have already suspended or will soon suspend issuing such permits.

Wildfire prevention restrictions can change quickly during the season and vary from one jurisdiction to another. National forests, Bureau of Land Management or other federal lands fall under different restrictions, and recreationists visiting or operators working on those public lands are advised to check with those federal offices for information on current restrictions.

ODF’s Central Oregon District provides wildfire protection on 2.2 million acres of private and public forest and rangeland in 10 counties (Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Morrow, Wasco and Wheeler) in the north-central portion of Oregon. Offices are located in Prineville, Sisters, John Day, The Dalles and Fossil.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content