Lightning is largely absent from Oregon this week. However, warm, dry weather will greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21. Avoiding activities that can spark a wildfire is key to making the eclipse a safe and pleasant experience for all. One measure adopted to reduce the risk of wildfire is a temporary ban, now in effect, on all campfires in state parks





Saturday, August 27, 2011

COIDC Media Release - Central Oregon Fire Update; Saturday, August 27, @ 10:00 a.m.

Note from ODF Incident Information Officer:  The following news release, released by the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 27, includes a particularly useful description of the Incident Management Team system that is so crucial to firefighting in Oregon during periods of extreme fire danger and busy fire seasons.

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Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center

4550 SW Airport Way
Prineville, OR 97754

FIRE NEWS--Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center
For Immediate Release: August 27, 2011 – 10:00 a.m.
Contact: Media Desk, 541/416-6811 www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/fire

Central Oregon Wildfire Update

Central Oregon – Firefighters continue to respond to the more than 200 new fires reported since a lightning storm passed through Central Oregon Wednesday afternoon and evening. In addition to getting control of the majority of on-going fires in the area, firefighters remain on the lookout for any additional lightning holdover fires and may locate these for the next several days.

With the opening of bow season today, hunters should use caution when heading out to their units. They should avoid camping in or hiking through areas with active fire, watch for increased fire traffic on forest and rangeland roads and should watch for dangerous burned out stump-holes and snags in recently burned areas.

The largest fire remains the Hancock Fire Complex, which is a group fires burning around Clarno. The fire had moderate growth yesterday and is now 18,000 acres and 50 percent contained. The fires in this complex are burning on both sides of Highway 218 and on both sides of the John Day River. Firefighters will remain challenged by steep slopes, inaccessible and rugged terrain, and light, flashy fuels that ignite and burn quickly.

The Central Oregon Type II Incident Management Team (Mark Rapp) is in command of the fire. Fire staff are working to get internet and phone connections and will continue to provide information through Central Oregon Dispatch until this is accomplished. Approximately 304 firefighters and staff are now working on the Hancock Complex. Resources include three Hotshot Crews, three Type 2 handcrews, one Type II helicopter, 18 engines, two dozers, four watertenders, 61 overhead personnel, and two camp crews.

Firefighters are now working on two fires burning east of Twickenham. Incident #615 was reported Thursday and initially had minimal growth. The fire is approximately 550 acres today. A second fire in the area had significant growth yesterday afternoon. Approximately 30 firefighters with the assistance of a helicopter are working on Incident #614, which is 1,200 acres this morning. Both of these fires are burning in a mix of grass and shrub, making short uphill runs on one side of a slope and backing slowly down the backside of slopes. The fires are terrain and wind driven fire and behavior on these typically picks up in the afternoon as daytime temperatures raise and afternoon winds increase.

Firefighters are making progress on the fires east of Prineville. Incident 606 in the Hamilton Creek area north of milepost 46 on Highway remains 25 acres and 70 percent contained. In addition, crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry have contained Incident #630 overnight at 4.7 acres.

A Type II Incident Management Team (ORCA) took over command of the East Cascades Complex this morning. The Shitike Fire, located 1/8 mile west of the town of Warm Springs is now 1500 acres. Residents along Tenino Road were evacuated last night while fire crews conducted a burnout operation to keep the fire from reaching these homes. The Box Canyon Fire (formerly Seekseequa) is 4,500 acres this morning. The Antoken Fire burning on the northeast side of the Resevation has burned down to and jumped the Lower Deschutes River onto BLM land. The river is not closed at this time; however, rafters should use caution when floating through this stretch of the river and should not stop along the sides where the fire is burning or interfere with suppression operations, including helicopters dipping for bucket work.

Incident Management Teams
Two Type II Incident Management Teams are in command of two separate wildfire complexes in Central Oregon. Incident management teams operate at the local, State and National Level and respond to all types of disasters including wildfires. Other incidents handled by Incident Management Teams include helping manage the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, working 9/11 incidents in New York and working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency with the Hurricane Katrina response.

Wildfire Teams are range from Type III to Type I, with Type I teams managing the most complex incidents. Complexity is based on the number of issues that firefighters and the team may face when suppressing a fire. These issues range from private land and homes near the fire, special status species or other critical resource problems, multiple fires burning in an area, the overall size of an incident, and the number of people involved. Type III Teams generally respond locally in Central Oregon, Type II Teams typically respond within a Region or State, and Type I Teams are available to respond anywhere in the nation.

Teams are put together in advance and members usually commit to being on a team for three year. The personnel on a team include an incident commander, as well as staff to manage safety, public information, operations, planning, logistics, and finance. With several hundred to more than a thousand personnel working a fire, all of these team positions are critical to establishing safe and effective operations to suppress a wildfire and building the fire camp that feeds, sleeps, and cares for everyone working on the incident.

-end-

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Jeri Chase, ODF Incident Information Officer
Fire Duty Officer Pager #503-370-0403

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The purpose of this blog is to provide breaking news about wildfire activity on the forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. We invite you to post questions or comments you have about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity. You are also welcome to contact us by email at: information@odf.state.or.us.

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, even in non-drought years Oregon's warm, dry summers create conditions that allow for fire to start and spread. In an average summer firefighters still see almost a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.



What we do

Protection jurisdiction

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects 16 million acres of private and public forestlands from wildfire. This includes all private forestlands in Oregon as well as state- and local government-owned forests, along with 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands in the western part of the state. There are about 30.4 million total acres of forest in Oregon.



Fire suppression policy

The department fights fire aggressively, seeking to put out most fires at 10 acres or smaller. This approach minimizes damage to the timber resource and fish and wildlife habitat, and protects lives and property. It also saves money. While suppressing large fires can cost millions of dollars, economic and environmental damage from wildfires can be many times greater.




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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers in Salem, Ore., maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.