Second-longest Fire Season on record ends in southwest Oregon

Fire Season is officially over in Jackson and Josephine counties, the Oregon Department of Forestry says, and it was one for the record books.

Posted: Nov 6, 2020 10:10 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Friday marks the end of the second-longest Fire Season southwest Oregon has ever seen, the Oregon Department of Forestry has announced.

The longest recorded season happened in 1988 and was just nine days longer than this one. ODF firefighters battled 220 wildland fires throughout the season, totaling roughly 40,494 acres.

"This total fire count does not even include the number of alarms firefighters responded to related to fire restriction violations, assisting our local partners, and smoke chases throughout Jackson and Josephine Counties; crews responded to more than 1,400 calls for service that did not result in fire suppression," ODF said in a statement.

Fire Season began incredibly early, on May 1, due to unseasonably dry conditions. But unlike the 2018 season, which saw a flurry of lightning-sparked fires in southern Oregon by early July, it wasn't until late July in 2020 that the first large fire broke out. The Worthington Fire burned 761 acres about five miles northeast of Eagle Point. The 325-acre Grizzly Creek Fire north of Howard Prairie Lake did not spring up until the beginning of September.

But unprecedented winds and dry conditions on September 8 brought devastation unlike southern Oregon has ever seen. The Almeda, South Obenchain, and Slater fires all began on the same day, pushed by winds "typically only experienced once every 20 years," ODF said.

"The loss of lives, homes and structures will forever be remembered by fire crews," the agency continued.

But despite that event, and the new hurdles posed by COVID-19, ODF reported that 97 percent of all fires in Jackson and Josephine counties were held to ten acres or less.

"We accredit this not only to our aggressive initial attack and well-trained team, but our countless partners throughout our region that have helped to make this season a success," ODF said.

Fire Season's end also means that restrictions on debris burning and power equipment have been lifted, both for the public and industrial operations on forestlands. Regardless, local fire agencies may require permits for debris burning — ODF says to check with your fire department to get any necessary permits before burning.

"While fire season is over, fire prevention must continue," ODF concluded. "Please be vigilant while burning debris, making sure that a burn pile is never left unattended. Also, please use caution while using machinery that could produce a spark. Fall weather in Southern Oregon can vary greatly."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 177134

Reported Deaths: 2467
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35310570
Washington23704229
Marion20393299
Clackamas15557204
Lane11802144
Jackson10077129
Umatilla800083
Deschutes731272
Linn422263
Yamhill413675
Klamath357159
Polk348452
Malheur343358
Josephine310062
Douglas306566
Benton277719
Jefferson207732
Coos198631
Columbia156126
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130428
Hood River113529
Morrow108415
Clatsop9078
Crook89519
Baker86714
Curry6049
Tillamook5883
Grant4304
Lake4177
Harney3156
Wallowa1585
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3725088

Reported Deaths: 61193
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122999823702
Riverside2976314547
San Bernardino2951314569
San Diego2756313681
Orange2692584902
Santa Clara1173792019
Kern1080611333
Sacramento1017871651
Fresno1007681650
Alameda856521477
Ventura803601002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus606491035
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41251560
San Francisco36117529
Santa Barbara33926445
Solano32086243
Merced31289453
Sonoma29734312
Imperial28024719
Kings22781245
Placer21957283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16301240
Santa Cruz15719204
Marin13868227
Yolo13581200
Shasta11747219
Butte11619196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598863
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399647
Humboldt365938
Amador363146
Lake341843
Glenn235925
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4297
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned470
Medford
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