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The Tillamook Burn was a series of forest fires in the Northern Oregon Coast Range of Oregon in the United States that destroyed a total area of 350,000 acres (1,400 km2) of old growth timber in what is now known as the Tillamook State Forest. There were four wildfires in this series, which spanned the years of 1933–1951. By association, the name Tillamook Burn also refers to the location of these fires. This event is an important part of the local history of Oregon.
The first was started in the Gales Creek Canyon on August 14, 1933, when a steel cable dragging a fallen Douglas fir rubbed against the dry bark of a wind-fallen snag. The snag burst into flame, and the wildfire that grew out of this burned 350,000 acres (1,400 km2) before it was extinguished by seasonal rains on September 5. An oppressive, acrid smoke filled the neighboring valleys; ashes, and cinders, and the charred needles of trees fell in the streets of Tillamook; and debris from the fire reached ships 500 miles (800 km) at sea. The loss in processed lumber was estimated to have been $442.4 million in contemporary (1933) dollars—a serious loss not only to the timber industry at the time, but also to a nation struggling with the Great Depression. Salvage operations were immediately begun to harvest usable portions of the burned wilderness. A Civilian Conservation Corps member was the only known human casualty of fighting the fire.
The speed with which a forest fire can spread in heavy fuels under the most hazardous conditions is well illustrated by this fire. From August 14 at 1 p.m. until the early morning of August 24 the fire had burned about 63 square miles (160 km2) and it appeared that it might be brought under control soon. Thus, for over 10 days it had burned at an average rate of about 6 square miles (16 km2) a day. On August 24, the humidity dropped rapidly to 26 percent and hot gale force winds from the east sprang up. During the next 20 hours of August 24 and 25 the fire burned over an additional 420 square miles (1,100 km2), or at a rate of 21 square miles (54 km2) per hour along a 15-mile (24 km) front. The fire was stopped only by the fact that the wind ceased and a thick, wet blanket of fog drifted in from the ocean.
The second fire was started in 1939, allegedly by another logging operation. It burned 190,000 acres (770 km2) before being extinguished, and was contained within the bounds of the earlier fire.
A third fire started on the morning of July 9, 1945, near the Salmonberry River, and was joined two days later by a second blaze on the Wilson River, started by a discarded cigarette. This fire burned 180,000 acres (730 km2) before it was put out. The cause of the blaze on the Salmonberry River was mysterious, and many believed it had been set by an incendiary balloon launched by the Japanese (due to the fire occurring in the waning days of World War II), which had been carried to Oregon by the jet stream.
The third fire was perhaps the best known, after the initial wildfire, because it affected much of the forested mountains along the popular highways between Portland, Oregon and the recreational destinations of the ocean beaches. This devastation remained visible to any traveller through the area as late as the mid-1970s.
The last fire started in 1951, and burned only 32,000 acres (130 km2). It was also confined within the burned-over area.
The repeated fires led some to think that large wildfires in the area were inevitable and that the land was now too damaged from the intense heat to ever again sustain forests.But determined efforts by Oregonians -- private citizens, government officials, land owners and many others -- resulted in efforts to restore The Burn, beginning with hearings during World War II under Judge H. D. Kerkman of Washington County and eventually resulting in a decades-long reforestation program. Much of the lands of the Tillamook burn had come to be owned by the counties of Tillamook, Yamhill, and Washington through foreclosures on unpaid property taxes; at the time of the forest fires, most of the land was owned by timber companies, which also paid the cost of fighting the fires. A measure was submitted by the Legislative Assembly to the voters to float a bond to finance reforestation, which narrowly passed in 1948.
In a book published that same year, Stewart Holbrook wrote about the Tillamook Burn in Northwest Corner: Oregon and Washington:
[Reforestation] can never compensate for that tragedy we call the Tillamook Burn, as somber a sight as to be viewed this side of the Styx. There they stand, millions of ghostly firs, now stark against the sky, which were green as the sea and twice as handsome, until an August day of 1933, when a tiny spark blew into a hurricane of fire that removed all life from 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of the finest timber even seen. It was timber, too, that had been 400 years in the making. It was wiped out in a few seething hours which Oregon will have reason to remember well past the year 2000. To this day the forest stands powerless against the threat of wildfires.
Reforestation was performed simultaneously with research by the forest industry into the best methods of growing and planting the young trees (including how to protect them from the ravages of deer, beavers, mice and other wildlife). Young people from northwest Oregon helped with the hand-planting of seedlings. Between 1949 and 1972, they planted about a million seedlings, a massive number but still only about 1 percent of the total of 72 million seedlings replanted by all means. Everything from state prisoners to newly designed helicopters played a part in the reseeding program over the years. Eventually the forest began to return and in 1973, Oregon Governor Tom McCall dedicated the Tillamook Burn as the Tillamook State Forest.
At the time the reforestation of the Tillamook Burn began, some assumed that the forest land would, when the trees were mature, be harvested for lumber. Current environmental beliefs have questioned this assumption, and both the proportions and specific parts of this land that will be logged or conserved for wildlife are in dispute.
Folk singer Sufjan Stevens references the Tillamook Burn in his song 'Fourth of July' from his album Carrie and Lowell.
Tillamook County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,250. The county seat is Tillamook. The county is named for the Killamuk, an American Indian tribe who were living in the area in the early 19th century at the time of European American settlement. The county is located within Northwest Oregon.
Tillamook Bay is a small inlet of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 6 mi (10 km) long and 2 mi (3 km) wide, on the northwest coast of the U.S. state of Oregon. It is located just north of Cape Meares in western Tillamook County approximately 75 mi (120 km) west of Portland.
The Nehalem River is a river on the Pacific coast of northwest Oregon in the United States, approximately 119 miles (192 km) long. It drains part of the Northern Oregon Coast Range northwest of Portland, originating on the east side of the mountains and flowing in a loop around the north end of the range near the mouth of the Columbia River. Its watershed of 855 square miles (2,210 km2) includes an important timber-producing region of Oregon that was the site of the Tillamook Burn. In its upper reaches it flows through a long narrow valley of small mountain communities but is unpopulated along most of its lower reaches inland from the coast.
The Salmonberry River is a tributary of the Nehalem River, about 20 miles (32 km) long, in northwest Oregon in the United States. It drains a remote unpopulated area of the Northern Oregon Coast Range in the Tillamook State Forest about 65 miles (105 km) west-northwest of Portland. The river runs through part of the region devastated between 1933 and 1951 by a series of wildfires known as the Tillamook Burn.
The Biscuit Fire was a massive wildfire in 2002 that burned nearly 500,000 acres in the Rogue River–Siskiyou National Forest, in southern Oregon and northern California, in the Western United States. The fire was named after Biscuit Creek in southern Oregon. The Biscuit Fire was the largest wildfire in the recorded history of Oregon. The Biscuit Fire area is subject to warm, dry winds known as the Brookings effect, driven by high pressure over the Great Basin. The fire re-burned portions of the 1987 Silver Fire and subsequently burned in the 2017 Chetco Bar Fire.
The Tillamook State Forest is a 364,000-acre (1,470 km2) publicly owned forest in the U.S. state of Oregon. Managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry, it is located 40 miles (64 km) west of Portland in the Northern Oregon Coast Range, and spans Washington, Tillamook, Yamhill, and Clatsop counties. The forest receives large amounts of precipitation and is dominated by Douglas-fir trees. Activities include commercial logging, recreation, and other commercial resource extraction activities such as mushroom hunting.
Simon B. Elliott State Park is a 318-acre (129 ha) Pennsylvania state park located in Pine Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania in the United States. The park is surrounded by Moshannon State Forest. The park is entirely wooded with second growth forests of hardwood and oak. S. B. Elliott State park is 9 miles (14 km) north of Clearfield on Pennsylvania Route 153 just off exit 111 of Interstate 80.
The Northern Oregon Coast Range is the northern section of the Oregon Coast Range, in the Pacific Coast Ranges physiographic region, located in the northwest portion of the state of Oregon, United States. This section of the mountain range, part of the Pacific Coast Ranges, contains peaks as high as 3,710 feet (1,131 m) for Rogers Peak. Forests in these mountains are considered to be some of the most productive timber land in the world. The Central Oregon Coast Range is directly south of this section with the Southern Oregon Coast Range beyond the central range.
Santiam State Forest is one of six state forests managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The forest is located approximately 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Salem, Oregon, and includes 47,871 acres (193.73 km2) on the western slope of the Cascade Mountains in three Oregon counties: Clackamas, Linn, and Marion. It is bounded on the east by the Willamette National Forest and Mount Hood National Forest. Silver Falls State Park is located west of the forest. The rest of the land surrounding the forest belongs to the Bureau of Land Management or is privately owned. The forest is managed as part of the Department of Forestry's North Cascade District. It is the largest single block of state owned forest land in the Cascades.
The B&B Complex fires were a linked pair of wildfires that together burned 90,769 acres (367.33 km2) of Oregon forest during the summer of 2003. The fire complex began as two separate fires, the Bear Butte Fire and the Booth Fire. The two fires were reported on the same day and eventually burned together, forming a single fire area that stretched along the crest of the Cascade Mountains between Mount Jefferson and Mount Washington. On the western side of the Cascades, the fire consumed mostly Douglas-fir and western hemlock. On the eastern side of the mountains, the fire burned mostly Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and jack pine. Most of the burned area was on public land administered by the United States Forest Service including 40,419 acres (163.57 km2) within the Mount Jefferson Wilderness. The fire also burned forest land on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and small areas of state and private land. Firefighters battled the blaze for 34 days. At the peak of the firefighting effort, there were over 2,300 personnel working on the fire. Although the cost of fire suppression was over $38 million, no lives were lost and no homes burned as the fire was largely in wilderness areas.
The Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad (POTB) is a 101-mile (163 km) shortline railroad in northwestern Oregon in the United States. Purchased from the Southern Pacific Transportation Company in 1990 by the Port of Tillamook Bay, the railroad was used to transport lumber and agricultural products over the Northern Oregon Coast Range between the Oregon Coast and the Portland area until heavily damaged in a 2007 storm. The Port of Tillamook Bay began operating the unincorporated railroad on March 27, 1986, but the tracks were originally constructed by Oregon judge George R. Bagley and others in 1906. The railroad's main line, no longer in use due to storm damage, runs between Hillsboro and Tillamook.
The Rim Fire was a massive wildfire that started in a remote canyon in Stanislaus National Forest, in California. This portion of the central Sierra Nevada spans Tuolumne and Mariposa counties. The fire started on August 17, 2013, during the 2013 California wildfire season, and grew to be the third-largest wildfire in California's history, having burned 257,314 acres. As of 2018, the Rim Fire was California's fifth-largest modern wildfire. As of 2011, the Rim Fire is the largest wildfire on record in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The Rim Fire was fully contained on Thursday, October 24, 2013 after a nine-week firefighting battle. Due to a lack of winter rains, some logs smoldered in the interior portion of the fire throughout the winter. More than a year passed before it was declared out on November 4, 2014.
The 2015 Oregon wildfires were an ongoing series of wildfires affecting parts of the U.S. state of Oregon.
The Lava Fire was a wildfire that burned over 21,500 acres (87 km2) of Oregon rangeland during the summer of 2012. The fire began on 23 July 2012, the result of a lightning strike. The fire consumed rangeland vegetation and scrub forest located in and around lava beds in northern Lake County. The burned area was on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management including a large area within a wilderness study area. Firefighters battled the blaze for over three weeks. At the peak of the firefighting effort, there were over 275 personnel working on the fire.
The Barry Point Fire was a wildfire that burned over 92,977 acres (376.26 km2) of Oregon and California forest land during the summer of 2012. The fire began on 5 August 2012, the result of a lightning strike. The fire consumed public forest and rangeland as well as private forest and grazing land located in Lake County, Oregon and Modoc County, California. The public lands effected by the fire are administered by the United States Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry. The largest part of the private land was owned by the Collins Timber Company. At the peak of the firefighting effort, there were 1,423 personnel working on the fire. It took 22 days to fully contain the fire and then an additional three weeks to mop it up.
The Bearskin Fire was a wildfire in Valley County, Idaho in the United States, 21 miles northeast of Lowman. The fire, which was reported on August 23, 2017, burned a total of 30,251 acres (122 km2).
The 2017 Oregon wildfires were a series of wildfires that burned over the course of 2017.
The Milli Fire was a wildfire that burned over 24,000 acres (97 km2) of Oregon forest land during the summer of 2017. The fire began in the Deschutes National Forest on 11 August 2017, the result of a lightning strike. The fire consumed thick forest vegetation southwest of Sisters, Oregon. Most of the burned area was public lands administered by the United States Forest Service, much of it in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Firefighters battled the blaze for over a month. At the peak of the firefighting effort, there were 675 firefighters working on the Milli Fire.
The Cinder Butte Fire was a wildfire that burned over 52,000 acres (210 km2) of Oregon rangeland during the summer of 2017. The fire began on 2 August 2017. It was determined to be human-caused since lightning was not present in the area prior to the initial fire report. The fire consumed rangeland vegetation and juniper woodlands in the area east of Glass Buttes in northern Lake County and then spread into northwestern Harney County. Most of the burned area was on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Firefighters battled the blaze for over a week. At the peak of the firefighting effort, there were 496 firefighters working on the Cinder Butte Fire.
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