ODF, Tillamook State Forest, wildfire

Region closed to logging, other industrial forest use

A “Super Scooper” plane fights the Powerline Fire near Cherry Grove. Photo taken from ODF video

Beginning Friday, September 11 at 1 a.m., logging and other industrial forest activities in the entirety of the Northwest Oregon Forest Protective Association region will be closed due to wildfire danger and limited firefighting resources. 

The move by the Oregon Department of Forestry to shift the forests to Industrial Fire Precaution Level 4 comes on the heels of a shutdown of access to state forests for the general public announced on Wednesday. 

The Northwest Oregon Forest Protective Association region 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. A map of the area and current restrictions for industrial forest users is found here

The shutdown will end when ODF district foresters in the region deem it safe to reopen. 

As the sky was choked with ash and smoke, forests burned, and homes and lives were lost in Oregon over the last 72 hours, some people within the protective district decided now was a good time to hold an illegal debris burn. It was not, and they were issued warnings by ODF. According to ODF District Forester Mike Cafferata, these incidents — at least two, he believes — occurred in the Columbia City district of ODF protected areas.

ODF generally only issues a citation for unpermitted burning if the person caught has been warned or cited in the last three years, Cafferata said.

In an email sent close to midnight on Wednesday, ODF District Forester Mike Cafferata noted that fire danger remained extreme.

“Conditions are explosive and a fire in slash would be almost impossible for us. The system is completely empty of resources. What we have locally is what we have, and burning forest won’t even register on the priority list to get help,” the email read.

This story has been updated with more information from ODF’s Mike Cafferata regarding illegal burning in the Columbia District.

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

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