Oregon’s fire insurance did not kick in this year

DC-10 Canyon Creek Fire
A DC-10 working the Canyon Creek Fire in Oregon drops in Pine Creek Drainage, August 26, 2015. Photo by Tracy Weaver, NPS.

The fire insurance policy that the state of Oregon purchased from Lloyd’s of London did not kick in this year since the net expenses of suppressing state-responsibility wildfires did not exceed the $50 million policy deductible. If it had, their additional costs could have been covered up to $25 million. Premiums for this coverage were split between state and private timberland owners, who agreed to pay $3.75 million into the policy.

Below is an excerpt from an article in the La Grande Observer:

…As of Oct. 19, the ODF had recorded 1,001 fires, 73 more than their 10-year average, according to a letter from [Oregon Department of Forestry State Forester Doug] Decker sent to the co-chairs of the Oregon Joint Committee on Ways and Means last month. Those fires burned 91,487 acres of ODF-protected land, 63,948 acres more than the 10-year average.

The Forestry Department estimates that its large-fire costs for this season sit at $76.7 million, compared to the 10-year average of $22.3 million, Decker wrote in the letter.

Decker said about $19.5 million will be reimbursed by FEMA’s grant program. Another $25.5 million is expected to be recovered from other partners. Still, the ODF is requesting more than $19.5 million of general fund dollars to cover the state’s portion of large-fire costs, according to the letter.

Canyon Creek Complex of fires in central Oregon

(UPDATED at 5:47 a.m. PT, August 19, 2015)

removing hazardous tree highway
Oregon Department of Transportation workers remove a hazardous tree on the Canyon Creek Complex of fires near US Highway 395.

On Tuesday the Canyon Creek Complex of fires grew by over 4,000 acres and has now burned 48,200 acres (see the map below). Most of the growth was on the south side, but it also expanded west of Highway 385.

The Grant County Sheriff’s office reports that 36 residences have burned and 50 structures have been damaged.

The firefighting resources battling the fire include 826 personnel,  18 hand crews, 7 helicopters, 46 fire engines, 14 dozers, 5 skidgines, and 16 water tenders.

The fire is being managed by the Great Basin Incident Management Team (Incident Commander Lund) and the Oregon State Fire Marshal Red Team (Incident Commander Walker).

The south and southwest sides of the fire were very active Tuesday. Fire crews and dozers worked in the area, while heavy air tankers dropped fire retardant. The fire has burned south of the Dry Soda Lookout, along the 3925 Road and across Thompson Gulch on the Forest.

Canyon Creek Fire map
The red line was the perimeter of the Canyon Creek Fire at 11 p.m. PT, Aug 18, 2015. The white line was from about 24 hours before.


(Originally published at 6:24 p.m. PT, August 18, 2015)

Canyon Creek Complex of fires.
A crew works along a road on the west side of the Canyon Creek Complex of fires. Undated photo from InciWeb.

Since the Canyon Creek Complex of fires started in central Oregon on August 12 it has burned 36 structures and over 43,738 acres. Currently it is one mile south of Canyon City and 2.5 miles south of John Day, Oregon. (see the map below)

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