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





Wednesday, August 21, 2013

ODF fire update - Aug. 21, 2013

No new fires were reported to the Salem Coordination Center in the past 24 hours.

FIRES ON OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY-PROTECTED LANDS

Government Flat Complex
The Wells and Government Flat fires lines held yesterday and are 100% contained at 66 and 229 acres respectively. With the calmer winds yesterday crews made good progress holding the Blackburn Fire in check. Crews will take advantage of another day of calm winds and construct line on the west side of the fire and mop up to contain other portions of the fire perimeter.

OSFM structural task forces and wild land fire fighters were able to protect the water treatment plant for the City of The Dalles and residences along Upper Mill Creek Road. Obrist Road will go to a Level 2 closure at 8:00 am this morning.

Approximately 700 personnel are assigned to this complex. Cooperators include Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State Fire Marshall's Office, BLM, City of The Dalles, Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Wasco County Emergency Operations Center, American Red Cross, US Forest Service and Oregon State Police.

More information on this fire is available on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3662/.

Douglas Complex
The Douglas Complex, burning approximately 7 miles north of Glendale in Douglas and Josephine counties, is now 79 percent contained and has burned approximately 48,643 acres. Oregon Dept. of Forestry Incident Management Team 1 took over suppression responsibility for the Douglas Complex on Monday.

Oregon National Guard troops were released Monday from their assignment to staff roadblocks on roads leading into the fire area. The roads remain closed for public safety reasons; burned trees are falling over with little warning and rocks, loosened by the fire, are tumbling down steep slopes onto the roads.

BLM has posted signs and maps at road blocks. For more detailed information about the closure contact the BLM Districts in Roseburg at 541-440-4930 or Grants Pass at 541-471-6500.

All evacuation alerts have been lifted. There are currently 1,243 personnel assigned to this complex.
More information on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3559/.


Big Windy Complex
The Big Windy Complex, eight miles northwest of Galice, is now 23,809 acres and 20 percent contained.

Yesterday fire fighters made progress despite the dry, windy conditions which made burnout operations challenging. Crews completed some burnout on the west flank and successfully held the line. Several spot fires were quickly extinguished. Torching and some short crown runs were observed. A spike camp was established at the Bear Camp Overlook to support three hotshot crews working on the fire's west flank. This remote camp will support more efficient firefighting operations.

Today is expected to be another active day of fire behavior. Crews will hold and secure the east and southeast flanks, and continue to burn out along the west flank, working their way north. Approximately nine miles of line still need to be burned out. Aerial ignition will be used if conditions are favorable. Fire fighters will assist with any new fire starts from potential thunderstorms in the area.

Weather: Winds will be lighter today, and relative humidity is expected to increase with the possibility of an isolated thundershower this afternoon. A Red Flag warning for abundant lightning and dry fuels will be in effect from 11:00 today through Thursday evening. Developing thunderstorms could produce wind gusts of 40 mph or higher. The Haines Index, a scale of 1-6 which measures the potential for dry, unstable air to contribute to large fire growth, will increase to 5.

Evacuations: A Level 2 evacuation is in place north of the Rogue River and south of the Marial Byway. Residents should be prepared to leave if asked. A Level 1 evacuation is in effect in the Galice area and west where hazards from the approaching fire may be severe. Residents should take precautionary measures to protect persons with special needs, pets, livestock, and mobile property.

Closures:
• Grave Creek to Marial Back Country Byway, which includes Mt. Reuben Road (34-8-1 Road), 32-8-31 Road, a portion of the 32-8-9.2 Road, and the Marial Access Road (32-9-14.2).
• Bear Camp Road (BLM # 34-8-36 and Forest Service #23) is officially closed. See websites above for additional information. The National Guard is providing staffing at all road closure checkpoints.
• Burnt Ridge Road, Forest Service Road 2308, is closed from the junction with Forest Road 2300 to the junction with Forest Road 3300.

For more information on this fire: 541-476-1252 / http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3570/.


The B&H Fire reported Sunday 20 miles north of Enterprise on the Northeast Oregon District burned 21 acres, 7 acres on ODF-protected forestlands. 9 engines and 2 crews responded to the fire, which is contained and in mop-up today.


FIRES BURNING ON OTHER LANDS

The Big Sheep 2 Fire (USFS) reported Sunday is approximately six miles south of the town of Imnaha, Oregon and 19 miles NE of Joseph, OR on various ownerships including approximately 7 acres of ODF protection (129 acres total). This fire is burning in rugged, inaccessible country where getting resources on the ground is difficult.

The local Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT), with Francis Tyler as the Incident Commander, is managing the fire, which is 50 percent contained. This fire is being suppressed aggressively with water and retardant, with continued aerial support from State of Oregon Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) dropping retardant, helicopters dropping water, and engine and handcrew support where access and terrain permits. This fire was detected by the Sled Springs Initial Attack helicopter while in route to another fire on the Idaho side of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. By reporting this fire while still small, initial attack resources were able to play a significant role in fire suppression.

Concerns for firefighter safety on this fire include: the remote location, difficult terrain, significant rock rollout, accessibility, continued high temperatures, and local windy conditions.

As of today, the Team has been successful in containing and suppressing this fire.

Mark Moeller, Assistant Fire Management Officer for the Wallowa Fire Zone, stated "The major contributing factors to the success of catching and containing this fire was early detection, availability of aerial resources (SEATs and helicopters), and a break in having excellent relative humidity recovery yesterday morning with a RH of 72 percent."

The initial attack on this fire was through aerial resources which included two Type 1 helicopters, two Type 2 Helicopters and two SEAT planes. One of the Type 1 helicopters on the initial attack was from McCall, Idaho, utilizing the Tri-Region agreement for fire resources. The SEATs were funded through new Oregon State legislation passed in June of 2013 through the Wildfire Protection Act.

For more information: 541-426-5681 and 541-426-5692 / http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3678/ .


The House Creek Fire (BLM) is burning 30 miles west of the Burns Junction within the Burns District of BLM. It is currently 2,769 acres and 70 percent contained.

The 121-acre Strawberry Complex, located 13 miles south of Prairie City on the Malheur National Forest, is 60 percent contained.

The Vinegar Fire is now 964 acres and zero percent contained. The fire is located in a remote area in the southern portion of the Umatilla National Forest. Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 4 is assigned to this fire. Closure orders have been issued today for this fire and those and more information is available on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3645/

The Labrador Fire located 13 miles northwest of Cave Junction on the Rogue Siskiyou National Forest is holding at 2,023 acres, with no containment percentage reported. The Illinois River Road remains closed to the public for safety reasons. 75 personnel are assigned to this fire.
For more info: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3563/

The Whiskey Complex, six miles east of Tiller on the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest, is now 17,339 acres and 72 percent contained, with 487 personnel assigned. More information on this fire is on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3562/.


OTHER FIRE INFORMATION

For information on other ongoing wildfires in other jurisdictions within Oregon, go to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, http://www.nwccweb.us/ and to the national Incident Information System website at http://www.inciweb.org/state/38.

AIR QUALITY: Most communities in Oregon have "good" air quality. The only exception is moderate air quality in Shady Cove (SW Oregon). Smoke from the Government Flats Complex appears to being staying south of The Dalles. Westerly flow aloft is transporting "elevated" wildfire smoke, mostly from the fires in northern California, across south-central and southeast Oregon.

Statewide air quality index readings are available at http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx

ODF maintains a blog at http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/, that includes breaking news on wildfires statewide, along with current fire statistics.
The Southwest Oregon District maintains a blog at http://www.swofire.com/ with wildfire information specific to the region, as well as a Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/swofire.

NEWS MEDIA
News media may call the Fire Information Duty Officer pager, 503-370-0403, 24/7 for fire information. The duty officer will call back promptly. Media may also call the Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters office, 503-945-7200, weekdays during business hours.

ABOUT THIS UPDATE
This update focuses primarily on firefighting activity on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands involving fires 10 acres or larger in size or of other significance. It also reports on ODF's actions as a partner in fighting major fires that start on lands protected by other agencies.

ODF is responsible for fire protection on private and state-owned forestland, and on a limited amount of other forestlands, including those owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in western Oregon. Because fires may cross ownerships, and because of the need to share firefighting resources, agencies work closely together.

OTHER LINKS

Safety Tips

Fire weather

Wildfire smoke forecasts

Keep Oregon Green

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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.



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. 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.