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Where to Get Good Information On Wildland Fires In Oregon

Posted by Erik Fernandez at Sep 09, 2011 01:05 PM |

Some helpful websites to get you up to date, accurate information on wildland fires in Oregon, including maps, acreage and more.

Where to Get Good Information On Wildland Fires In Oregon

A fire burning in an Eastern Oregon dry Ponderosa forest (photo by Brett Cole).

Google searches will turn up plenty of news stories on fires, but often what they're reporting isn't the most up to date information. It can also be difficult to find maps of where fires are actually burning. Here are a pair of website along with tips on where to get current information on wildland fires in Oregon.


Incident Information System (INCIWEB)

This is a great national site which has a significant amount of current, up to date information on all fires. Despite it being a national site, it's very easy to find the fire you're interested in. In the upper right of the web site is a drop down menu for all fires in the country, or you can sort them by state. Click on the fire you're interested in and you'll see reports on fire behavior, closure info, and acreage etc.

This site also has an embedded Google map showing fire perimeters. If you're really interested you can even download previous days' fire perimeters (KML file). Also, easy to miss, but near the top of the fire page is a link to other maps which can include a variety of different fire maps. May or may not have closure area maps. This site is updated at least daily.

Northwest Interagency Coordination Center

While this site is a bit less user-friendly than the INCIWEB site, it does give you more mapping options, particularly if you follow their links to their GIS and FTP site. I find this rather handy as when you click on the FTP site (accessible through a normal browser) you can download the most recent fire perimeters for all active fires in the Pacific Northwest in one Google Earth file (rather than one at a time). This site also allows you to download GIS data for the fire perimeters which for the tech savvy folks can be very handy.

When looking for information on fires I'd suggest keeping one thing in mind: Whether you're reading a fire report or a news story on a fire, there will always be a lot of hype, particularly in news stories.

The media sometimes make a big deal out of a fire that's only 100 acres in size. Granted, a 100-acre fire could easily become serious, but relatively speaking by Oregon fire standards that's a very small fire. When fires start to grow by thousands of acres per day, that's when they are earning the hype - that or if they are burning near a community. Here's a quote from a story that's an exception to this rule:

    "Even though it's putting up a lot of smoke, a lot of times it's just burning the lichen out of the trees," said Steve Gage, the incident commander.

Where do you look for recent information on wildland fires?


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