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.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Government Flats Complex update - Aug. 23, 2013 morning

Morning Fire Update
0730, August 23, 2013
Government Flats Complex

Current Acres:
• 12,023 acres - IR from last night

Current Status:
All the fire received at least 1/10 of an inch of rain early this morning. The fire only grew by a couple hundred acres yesterday, even though the new acreage is nearly 1,000 more than yesterday. Most of the increase is due to mapping differences and the fact that yesterday’s number did not include the other two fires in the complex. The new fire growth was private and USFS ownership. There are level 3 evacuations in place in multiple locations along the North side of the fire (Ketchum Road, Vensel Road, Godbersn Road and Mosier Creek). There are also several level 2 evacuation notices in place as well (Upper Mill Creek Road, Wells Road, Browns Creek Road, Cherry Heights, Chenowith Road and Obrist Road).

Fire Behavior:
Just as the fire was heating up yesterday afternoon, thunder cells dropped light precipitation which moderated fire behavior and limited fire growth. Fire behavior expected to be minimal this morning and moderate by this evening as winds increase.

• Build direct lines where possible along NW corner of the fire given the moderated conditions. Prep contingency lines for burn out along NW corner of the fire. Mop up the divisions on the east side of the fire.
• Continue to evaluate structural protection needs and trigger points for evacuations in the communities listed above.

• Weather: 80 degrees, 30 – 35% RH, winds WSW @ 7-13 MPH with gusts to 25 MPH.
• Fire could reach high-voltage power lines today – the edge of this power line corridor is where the contingency lines are being prepped.
• Four residences and nine outbuildings have burned to date on this fire

Resources Threatened Today:
• Homes along the north side of the fire (Ketchum Road, Vensel Road, Godbersn Road and Mosier Creek).
• Private timberland and BPA high voltage power lines

Expected Growth:
• Fire will be pushed to the east with strong east winds – moderate growth potential.

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Current wildfire info

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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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.