Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Media Release from COIDC for the Central Oregon Incident Management Team - Hancock Complex Update, Saturday, August 27, 7 a.m. PDT

Hancock Complex Update

Central Oregon Incident Management Team
Incident Commander: Mark Rapp
For Immediate Release: August 27, 2011, 7 am
Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center – Fire Information 541-416-6811

Hunters and the general public need to be aware of increased firefighting activities throughout the Gilliam, Sherman, Wasco and Wheeler Counties. Visibility on roads and public lands may be reduced due to smoky conditions. Please reduce your speeds and stay alert for changing conditions.

General Information/Announcements:
Central Oregon Incident Management Team, Incident Commander Mark Rapp, assumed command of the Hancock Complex yesterday morning. The incident command post is located at the Wheeler County Fairgrounds in Fossil and the helibase in located at Pine Creek Ranch. All firefighting resources ordered have arrived to aid in the suppression of the 18,000 acre Hancock Complex. Due to the complexity, location, and mileage distances separating the fires, fire officials made the decision to divide the complex into two management areas consisting of Branch I and Branch II.

Firefighters made good progress yesterday digging direct hand line and cold trailing on all flanks of the fires in Branch II near Clarno. Burnout operations near Cove Creek were successful in tying a portion of the fire’s perimeter into natural rock barriers and roadways on Iron Mountain. A new fire approximately 5 miles east of the Washington Family Ranch quickly grew over to 1,000 acres. Resources will scout and assess this fire for suppression actions.

Fires located in Branch I northwest of Fossil, were active sending up visible smoke columns throughout the day. Firefighting resource monitored and provided guidance to private land owners.

Today’s Planned Activities:
In Branch II near Clarno, firefighters will patrol for hot spots, mop-up, and construct handline. Helicopters will support suppression efforts with water drops.

In Branch I northwest of Fossil, additional resources were assigned to monitor and patrol the fire perimeters.

Challenges today include heat, rough terrain, and upslope winds with light, dry fuels.

Temperatures are predicted between 91-96 degrees, relative humidity of 15–20%, and north/northeast winds 8 to 15 mph. Thunderstorms are predicted for today to the south of the Complex tracking to the north/northeast this afternoon.

Hancock Complex Fire:
Location: Gilliam, Sherman, Wasco and Wheeler Co.
Date Started: 08/24/2011
Cause: Lightning
Size: 18,000 acres
Percent Contained: 50%
Total Personnel: 304
Resources: Crews: 6, Engines: 19, Dozers: 2,Helicopters: 1-light, 2- medium, 1-heavy lift, Water tenders: 4 and Overhead: 67


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

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Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick mountain snowpack. It didn't take long for that to melt and vegetation to dry out due to a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather over the summer. As forest fuels dried, fires started and spread, many from lands adjacent to those protected by ODF, such as the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. That one fire accounted for 46% of the 47,537 acres of land protected by ODF which burned in 2017. Of fires originating on ODF-protected land, 95% were put out at less than 10 acres.

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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. In total there are about 30.4 million acres of forest in Oregon.

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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.