Firefighting costs

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry has expended a net of $30.5 million for large fires as of mid-August. With more wildfire activity possible in the weeks ahead, large-fire costs could grow before season's end.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - July 29, 2013

Southern Oregon continues to be the focus of firefighting activity in the state with numerous large fires burning in the region.

FIRES ON OREGON DEPT. OF FORESTRY-PROTECTED LANDS
The 13,400-acre, lightning-caused Douglas Complex fires are burning seven miles north of Glendale in Douglas County. The Douglas Complex fires were ignited by lightning from thunderstorms the morning of July 26. The Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal is managing the fire jointly with ODF. Structural protection task forces mobilized through the Fire Marshal kept busy Sunday on the Dad's Creek Fire as personnel worked among homes located along Reuben Road at the north end of the fire and to the south accessed from Mt. Reuben road. Structural protection crews worked in conjunction with helicopters and a bulldozer, building fire line to protect homes in the area.

Josephine County Sunday issued an evacuation order for residents living along Poorman Creek. Eight homes have been affected. Residents who have been evacuated can go to the American Red Cross Shelter that has been established at the Glendale Elementary School.

The Douglas Complex has been divided into three branches: Milo, on the east side of Interstate 5; Rabbit Mountain/Union Creek, on the west side of I-5, northwest of Glendale; and Dad's Creek/Panther Butte, west of Glendale. The fires continue to burn actively on the east side of I-5. All fires in the complex have been staffed, with private industrial landowners and 11 aircraft assisting firefighters in suppression. There are no reports of any homes being burned.

Milo Branch - a group of smaller fires, each less than 20 acres in size. Firefighters will begin mopping up hot areas of each fire. Minimal fire activity is expected today for this branch.

Rabbit Mountain/Union Creek - Fire on this branch has grown in all directions. This branch is expected to burn actively again today. Firefighters will continue building fire line on the east flank of the fire, working towards the north.

Dad's Creek/Panther Butte - The larger fire in this branch spread significantly to the south Sunday afternoon, growing on the eastern and western sides of Poorman Creek approximately 2-3 miles in either direction. Overnight, crews were able to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and higher humidity to build fire line and suppress any spot fires found in the area. The Fire Marshal's Office will evaluate the fire situation to the south and west of this fire, determining what impact there will be to structures. The fire is expected to burn actively again today in the afternoon when the temperature increases and winds start to affect fire movement. Smoke and erratic winds may impact aviation operations. Areas around Glendale will see more smoke in the area, mostly during the morning hours.

Evacuations and Closures:
Cow Creek Road from Riddle into the fire area, and from Glendale into the fire has been closed. The public is asked to honor the road blocks and not interfere with firefighters working in the area.

Evacuations have been ordered for McCullough Creek Road, Reuben Road, and Mt. Reuben Road in Douglas County, and Poorman Creek Road in Josephine County.

An additional 400 residences are considered threatened. This means evacuations could be necessary at some point in the future. Any official evacuation orders will be issued by the Douglas County or Josephine Sheriff's Offices.

Resources:
Resources fighting the complex fires include: 11 helicopters, 38 hand crews, 29 fire engines, two bulldozers and eight water tenders, with a total of 1,008 personnel staffing the complex.

Fire Information Meetings:
A community meeting is scheduled tonight at the Glendale Elementary School Gym, at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday a public meeting was held at the Glendale Elementary School with approximately 400 people attending.

FIRES ON OTHER LANDS
The 1,649-acre, lightning-caused Whiskey Complex fires burning six miles east of Tiller on the Umpqua National Forest are uncontained. The three fires in the complex were reported July 26. For more information go to: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3562/

The 700-acre, lightning-caused Labrador Fire is burning adjacent to the Illinois River 13 miles NW of Cave Junction near the community of Oak Flat. It was reported July 26. For more information go to: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3563/

The 108-acre Browns Creek Fire burning near Browns Creek on Wickiup Reservoir is fully lined. The fire broke out Sunday and kept firefighters busy throughout the afternoon and evening. A local incident management team took command of the fire today, using federal, state and contract resources. Forest Road 42 remains closed today to allow for helicopter bucket drops on the fire without endangering public traveling on the road. Though firefighters have made good progress on the fire, evacuations of campers in the area remain in place today.

The 503-acre Davis Creek Fire reported July 28 burning in the John Day Unit of the Central Oregon District was fully lined the same day and is in mop-up. The fire is burning in grass and timber fuels. Cause is under investigation.

The 400-acre Labrador Fire burning west of the Illinois River downstream from Oak Flat on Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF is uncontained. The lightning-caused fire reported July 26 is burning in the old Biscuit Fire area, which contains a lot of downed, jackstrawed trees and heavy brush. Crews are continuing structural protection and indirect fire line preparation. Trail and road closures are in place.

The 51,340-acre Sunnyside Turnoff Fire burning on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation at Eagle Butte Lookout is 95 percent contained. The fire was human caused. More information is available at: http://nwccweb.us/information/fire_info.aspx

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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

Extremely dry conditions exist across most forestlands in Oregon currently. Large wildfires to date this season have been both lightning- and human-caused.

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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. Suppression of large fires can run into millions of dollars.

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