Current situation

With fire season ended, most burning in Oregon forestland in the late fall consists of controlled burns to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. The timing of such burns is carefully regulated to minimize the chance of smoke entering heavily populated areas.

































Thursday, August 22, 2013

Government Flats Complex update - Aug. 22, 2013 morning

August 22, 2013 9:13 a.m.
OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
OREGON STATE FIRE MARSHAL
USDA FOREST SERVICE
USDI BUREAU OF LAND OF MANAGEMENT

Information: 541-298-9899, 541-298-8741
Email: govflatfire@gmail.com
Inciweb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3662/

Today will be a crucial day in firefighters' efforts to slow the spread of the Blackburn Fire, one of three fires in the Government Flat Complex. Yesterday, the plume-dominated fire grew to 11,040 acres as easterly, up-canyon winds pushed the fire to the west. Overall containment of the Complex remains at 15 percent.

Fire behavior analysts indicate that conditions today will be at critical levels, with potential for extreme fire behavior and rapid rates of spread. The fire is expected to be plume-dominated (developed column overriding the local environmental influences)and slope driven, again today. Strong winds out of the west are forecasted beginning in the late afternoon with gusts of 20 mph or more. These winds, combined with steep canyon slopes will challenge firefighters attempting to contain the Blackburn Fire.

The night operations section chief stated at this morning's briefing that "the one thing constant with this incident is change." This is a good reminder for firefighters and affected residents to remain vigilant at all times.

Firelines continue to hold on the north, east, and south sides of the blaze. However, fire officials believe it is possible that the fire will move further to the west, north to Ketchum Road and Thompson Point.

Objectives for today are to continue mopping up on the north, east, and south sides of the Blackburn Fire. Where new firelines have been established on the west and northwest sides, burn-out activities may be conducted. Priorities for fire officials are to limit impacts to private lands, structures, public lands, major BPA transmission lines and protection of the City of The Dalles Watershed and water treatment plant.

In cooperation with the Wasco County Sheriff, fire officials will continue to evaluate threats to residences and develop trigger points for decisions regarding evacuations as needed. All evacuation notices remain at Level II (Set) for residences located along Obrist Road, Upper Mill Creek Road, and Wells Road. These roads will remain closed to non-resident traffic until further notice.

Residents in areas with Level II evacuation orders should remain on alert, and set for immediate departure in the event that a full evacuation (Level III) is ordered. Conditions can change rapidly.

When you hear the terms evacuation levels I, II or III, remember "ready, set, go." Level I means be aware of the fire in your area and start getting ready, Level II means make final preparations and get set to evacuate, and Level III means evacuate immediately--GO NOW. For information regarding the evacuation, please contact the WASCO County Sheriff's Office at 541-506-2580 during business hours.

The American Red Cross continues to be available with sheltering should any residents be evacuated. Questions concerning American Red Cross services may be directed to 888-680-1455.

Other developments:
* A total of four residences and nine outbuildings were destroyed or damaged since the fire began on August 16.
* Structural fire engines and firefighters are continuing to secure and patrol homes and other structures along Upper Mill Creek and Reservoir roads, as well as the water treatment plant. A task force of structural fire engines will be in the Wells Road area to assess and prepare properties for a defendable space.
* The fire has burned onto the Mt. Hood National Forest. It has been burning on a mix of private ownership, City of The Dalles ownership, and Bureau of Land Management.

Mt Hood National Forest Closures:
* Forest Road 1722 on the east end * Forest Road 4430 at the 1720 junction
* Forest Road 160 at junction with 4440 * Forest Road 1720 at the east end
* Forest Road 17-660 * Forest Road 1711-630

There is potential for a Forest Service Area Closure.

The Knebal Springs Campground is inaccessible due to road closure on the 1720 Road. For more information regarding the Mt Hood National Forest click to their web site: Forest Service Notice

There are 853 firefighters and support personnel working the fire complex. Efforts are being supported by 29 hand crews, 36 engines (both wild land and structural), 7 helicopters, 11 dozers, and 8 water tenders. The National Guard has arrived with 3 additional helicopters. Three air tankers are available, as needed.

The fire complex is being managed under a unified command of Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 3 (Incident Commander, Chris Cline) and Oregon State Fire Marshal's Green Team (Incident Commander, John Ingrao).
Cooperators working the incidents include Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State Fire Marshall's Office, BLM, USDA Forest Service, City of The Dalles, Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Wasco County Emergency Operations Center, American Red Cross, Oregon National Guard, and Oregon State Police.

To date, an estimated $4.6 million has been spent in Government Flat Complex fire suppression efforts.

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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, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these were put out at less than 10 acres.






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. In total there are about 30.4 million 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.