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





Sunday, August 28, 2011

COIDC Media Release - Central Oregon Fire Update; Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 11 a.m. PDT

Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center

4550 SW Airport Way
Prineville, OR 97754

FIRE NEWS--Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center
For Immediate Release: August 28, 2011 – 11:00 a.m.
Contact: Media Desk, 541/416-6811 www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/fire

Central Oregon Fire Update


Central Oregon – Firefighters continue to work on several wildfires burning in Central Oregon and are watching for any lightning holdover fires from the past week’s storms. Another storm passed through last night, putting down 290 strikes in Central Oregon. An additional Red Flag Warning is in place today for a slow-moving storm producing abundant lightning. While the storms over the past week had some areas of heavy precipitation, overall moisture levels remain low, leading to extremely dry vegetation.

Firefighters continue to work on the Hancock Fire Complex burning in the Clarno area in the north-central part of the state. While two of the fires within the Complex are now considered contained, another fire in the 30-mile Creek area had higher fire activity yesterday. The Complex is 33,000 acres this morning and remains 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 and is now providing information about this fire on a wildfire incident website at www.inciweb.org. The phone line for information for this incident is (541) 787-4323 x 2009.

Firefighters will continue to work on three fires burning east of Twickenham and north of Mitchell. Incident #615 is holding as of yesterday evening at 550 acres. The Dead Dog Fire (Incident #614) remains 2,500 acres this morning and is five percent contained. Approximately 30 firefighters with the assistance of a helicopter continue to work on this fire and are challenged by very limited access and steep slopes. Incident #656 was reported yesterday and grew to 100 acres. Approximately 35 firefighters are assigned to this incident. Airtankers dropped several loads of retardant yesterday to knock down the fire. All of these fires are burning in a mix of grass and shrub, and are terrain and wind driven.

The ORCA Type II Incident Management Team formally took over the Razorback Fire burning on both sides of the Lower Deschutes River yesterday. The fire moved northeast off of the Reservation and jumped the Deschutes River near Dant on Thursday. The fire burned on the east side of the river and moved north and south approximately 15 miles along the river (burning between River Miles 75 – 60). The fire also burned east up to Highway 197. The Razorback Fire is approximately 12,500 acres and has no estimate of containment.

The Lower Deschutes River is not closed to rafting at this time; however, fire officials and the Jefferson County Sheriff Department did a pre-cautionary evacuation of South Junction and Trout Creek Campgrounds last night. The campgrounds remain closed this morning. Rafters can access the river today through Warm Spring and Trout Creek launch sites; however, fire officials want to warn boaters that vehicles left in the launch area may be at risk if the fire takes a run this afternoon. In addition, 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. Rafters may also be asked to temporarily hold up their float to allow helicopters to dip their buckets into the river.

Both north and southbound lanes of Highway 197 remain closed between mileposts 46-67 for fire activity. Travelers can detour around the closure by driving through Warm Springs or toward Grass Valley on Highway 97 to take Highway 216 toward Maupin.

The team will also assumed command of the Warm Springs (formerly Shitike) and Powerline Fires this morning. Warm Springs Fire Management will retain command of the Box Canyon Fire. Until the team has information lines set up, information on this complex (High Cascades Complex) can be reached at (541) 553-8190.

With many fires newly contained and the potential for others to start, hunters heading out bow season 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. All hunter warming fires and campfires should be completely extinguished when not attended.


-end-

**********************
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.



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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.