Current situation

Lightning mainly east of the Cascade crest is a concern through mid-week as it is a key source of new wildfire starts, often in remote and difficult terrain. Firefighters are still battling many large existing fires across Oregon, most of them started by earlier lightning storms.








Monday, August 12, 2013

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - Aug. 12, 2013

This is the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Fire Update for Monday, August 12, 2013.

NEW FIRES REPORTED ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS

Central Oregon – John Day Unit: The lightning-caused Price Canyon Fire was reported at 4:15 p.m. on August 11, burning 7 miles east of Monument in grass, sage, and juniper. At mid-morning on August 12 this fire is reported at is 43.5 acres and Initial attack continues. Resources on this fire include three engines, one crew, one helicopter, and one dozer.

WEATHER
The upper low that has provided lightning and some moisture over the state has moved to the north and a normal pattern of dry weather is returning, including warmer temperatures and lower relative humidity. A Red Flag warning remains in effect today for thunderstorms and lightning in central, south-central, and northeast Oregon, with the greatest fire potential in northeast Oregon. On Wednesday, a minor marine influence is forecast that may also result in thunderstorms east of the Cascades, possibly dry. The long-range outlook for the rest of the month remains at normal to above normal temperatures, with no precipitation.

FIRE PREVENTION
Even with all of the lightning, high temperatures, and obvious extreme fire conditions, human-caused fires remain a concern. In Southwest Oregon there were 6 human-caused fires over this last week-end; across the state, since the lightning event that started on July 26, there have been 75 human-caused fires, burning 690 acres. ODF continues with fire prevention messaging including the Governor’s Fire Prevention Message and Public Service Announcements, including the following:
• Governor’s Fire Prevention Message: Video at http://oregon.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=41b11f32beefba0380ee8ecb5&id=02977448dc&e=68d316ff3d
• A plea for caution: Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HoLmlU184E

FIRES ON OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY-PROTECTED LANDS

Grouse Mountain Fire/GC [Grant County] Complex
The lightning-started Grouse Mountain Fire, reported the afternoon of August 7, is burning one mile north of John Day, east of Highway 395, on lands protected by ODF. The Grouse Mountain Fire is part of the GC Complex, which also includes the Starvation Fire, near Sheep Mountain, 16 miles southeast of Prairie City, burning on the Malheur National Forest. The two fires in the complex total approximately 11,963 acres and are 80 percent contained, with 600 personnel assigned and resources being shifted to the areas of most concern as suppression objectives are met on the fires. At this time, containment is estimated for Sunday, August 18.

Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 4 (Incident Commander: Brian Watts) assumed management over the complex on August 8th. ODF continues working on the Grouse Mountain Fire as a branch of the larger GC Complex. ODF and the Malheur National Forest, who are working closely with the IMT, have identified private property, grazing resources, and timber as important resources to protect, and every attempt is being made to minimize operational impacts to these important resources.

The team’s incident commander, Brian Watts, would like to express his utmost appreciation to the local cooperators and general public for their support.

Firefighters who have been working on the night shift will transfer to day shift today. Crews will continue to strengthen fire lines and mop up hot spots adjacent to containment lines on both the Grouse Mountain and Starvation fires. Most of the heat in the Grouse Mountain fire is generated by juniper with limbs all the way to the ground. Lower limbs of the juniper are being pruned in order to check for hot spots underneath. If thunderstorms move over the fire, there is potential for erratic winds and spotting. Helicopter activity may be observed over the next few days extinguishing hot spots inside the fire perimeter.

Expect increased fire traffic in John Day and surrounding areas. Use caution and drive with headlights on. Wildlife is moving across the highway as well as in town; please drive defensively. Area businesses continue to be open during their regular business hours.

Magone Campground, Forest Service Road 36 from County Road 18 to Magone, and County Road 32 from Highway 395 to Magone, have been reopened. Drivers are advised to use caution as fire crews continue to work in the area. The Strawberry Campground and Forest Road 6001 were re-opened on Sunday.

Starting today, there will be only one update on this fire each day (i.e; evening updates will no longer be issued) unless conditions change.

Note changes in the following contact number and Inciweb URL:
Contact: 541-575-9007 or e-mail gccomplex@gmail.com
More information: Visit the Complex’s Inciweb site at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3620/.

Douglas Complex
The 45,411-acre, lightning-caused Douglas Complex fires are burning approximately seven miles north of Glendale in Douglas and Josephine counties on a mix of BLM and private forestlands protected by the Douglas Forest Protective Association, and are now 48 percent contained. ODF Incident Management Team #2 (IC: Dennis Sifford) assumed command of this complex on Saturday, July 27. There are currently 2,898 personnel assigned. The complex primarily consists of the Rabbit Mountain (23,240 acres), Dad’s Creek (21,908 acres), and Farmer’s (245 acres) fires.

As weather returns to more seasonal conditions, fire fighters continue to work diligently to extinguish all hot spots along the perimeter and within the interior portion of the fire. Other fire fighters are working on patrolling and holding the lines. More active areas are being prepared for future burn-out operations to control the remaining hotter edges of the fire. Infrared patrols along the perimeters are detecting hotspots to aid mop-up crews.

The southwest corner and western flank of the fire around Riffle Creek and Bear Creek continue to be the most active front of the fire. Crews will be working to construct containment lines in this area. Crews in other areas of the fire will strengthen fire lines and extinguish hot spots. Burnout operations will be occurring over the next several days to complete control objectives. The southwest end of the fire continues to burn near the rugged areas of Reuben Creek where fire line is still being constructed. Crews will be taking advantage of less active fire behavior to reinforce fire lines in these areas. Containment lines in the areas of Rattlesnake, Dry and Poorman creeks continue to be strengthened to secure homes.

Weather: No lightning is forecasted. A warming and drying trend is expected through the week. As seasonal weather conditions return, fire fighters can expect increased fire activity.

Evacuations and Closures: The following evacuation levels and closures are in effect:

• Cow Creek Road from Riddle into the fire area and from Glendale into the fire is closed to the public.
• Evacuations are now at a Level 2 for McCullough Creek Road, Reuben Road, and Mt. Reuben Road in Douglas County. The Level 3 evacuation has been modified to a Level 2 restriction for Lower Grave Creek, Grave Creek, and Lower Wolf Creek in Josephine County. The area from the community of Wolf Creek to Watertank Gulch has been modified to a Level 1 status.
• Residences in the area are still considered threatened. This means evacuations could be necessary at some point in the future. Any official evacuation orders would be issued by the Douglas County or Josephine County Sheriff’s Offices.

Contact: 541-832-0136 or 541-832-0137
More information: Visit the complex’s Inciweb site.at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3559/, the Douglas Forest Protective Association’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DouglasForestProtectiveAssociation, and the ODF Wildfire Blog.at http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/.

Big Windy Complex
The 15,278-acre, lightning-caused Big Windy Complex is burning approximately 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass, 8 miles northwest of Galice, on BLM forestlands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District, and is 15 percent contained. [NOTE: On August 6, the major fires in this complex - Big Windy, Calvert Peak, and Jenny fires - merged together to form one fire.] Under a formal delegation of authority from ODF, the Pacific Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 2 (IC: Chris Schulte) assumed command of this complex on Monday, July 29. On August 12, Pacific Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 3 (IC: Ed Lewis) took over command for this complex, as PNW IIMT 2 was rotated out for rest and possible re-deployment elsewhere. There are currently 1,417 personnel assigned.

The Big Windy Complex is burning in steep terrain; dry fuels and poor access have hindered control efforts. Fire line construction is complete on the east and south perimeters and is nearing completion on the west perimeter. Fire fighters continue working on contingency lines on the north side of the river.

Yesterday’s Fire Activity: The Big Windy Complex was not as active yesterday but fire activity is expected to increase again in the next few days as temperatures warm and fuels dry out. Nightly infrared flights, which identify hot spots near the fire line, continue to provide valuable information that is used for planning purposes.

Today’s Fire Operations: Firefighters continue to work on contingency control lines on the east and west flanks. Structure protection continues in Galice and at the Rogue River Ranch; it is complete at the Black Bar Lodge and Zane Grey Cabin.
The Big Windy Complex is burning in steep terrain; dry fuels and poor access have hindered control efforts. Fire line construction is complete on the east and south perimeters and is nearing completion on the west perimeter. Fire fighters continue working on contingency lines on the north side of the river.

Yesterday’s Fire Activity: The Big Windy Complex was not as active yesterday but fire activity is expected to increase again in the next few days as temperatures warm and fuels dry out. Nightly infrared flights, which identify hot spots near the fire line, continue to provide valuable information that is used for planning purposes.

Today’s Fire Operations: Firefighters continue to work on contingency control lines on the east and west flanks. Structure protection continues in Galice and at the Rogue River Ranch; it is complete at the Black Bar Lodge and Zane Grey Cabin.

Weather: Temperatures are expected to increase in the next few days and relative humidity levels are expected to drop.

Closures and Evacuation Notices: Closures remain in place for the area including Bear Camp Road, Burnt Ridge Road (Forest Road 2308) from junctions with Forest Road 2300 to 3300, and the Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Rogue River Ranch.

Starting at 7:00 a.m. today, August 12, the portion of the Rogue Wild and Scenic River Corridor that has been closed from Grave Creek to Mule Creek, and the Grave Creek Boat Ramp, will be open with restrictions. (Note: Rainey Falls Trail remains closed.) Please contact the Smullin Visitor Center at Rand National Historic Site (541-479-3735) or visit their website at http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/rogue/index.php on a daily basis to receive the most current river restrictions, which will be adjusted to reflect the current fire situation. There is always the possibility the river can close again as conditions warrant throughout the remainder of the fire season.

Evacuations include a Level 2 evacuation notice in place starting at the Marial Lodge and following the Rogue River east to Grave Creek, then north and west on the Marial Byway back to the Marial Lodge. On August 7, an additional Level 1 notice was issued for the area of Galice Access Road, including the road north to the Graves Creek Bridge.

Contact: 541-476-1252 or bigwindycomplexinfo@gmail.com.
More Information:
• http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3570/
• http://BigWindyORFire.blogspot.com
• http://twitter.com/BigWindyORFire
• http://facebook.com/BigWindyORFire
• http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigwindyorfire/


FIRES BURNING ON OTHER LANDS

The lightning-caused Cedar Mountan Fire is burning 25 miles northeast from Rome on Bureau of Land Management and other jurisdictions, and staffed by 230 people. The fire is 18,000 acres and 60 percent contained, burning in short grass/difficult terrain, with erratic winds and thunderstorms in the area. Yesterday, firefighters used aerial attack and did a burn-out on the north flank. Today, they will burn-out as needed and monitor interior burning. Mop-up and rehabilitation will continue where possible.

The Green Ridge Fire, located northwest of Sisters, OR on the Deschutes National Forest, is 95% contained and is not expected to grow beyond its current size of 1,510 acres. TThere are 398 presonnel assigned as of this morning. Personnel will slowly decrease over the next few days as mop-up and reapir of suppression damage is accomplished. The fire will remain staffed throughout the week. his morning, , August 12, management of the fire has been returned to the local Sisters Ranger District. Crews and fire personnel will continue to secure the fire by extinguishing all heat within 300 feet of containment lines.

Residents and visitors to the Camp Sherman area may continue to see light smoke in the vicinity of the fire and fire related traffic on area roadways, however the fire is not having significant impact on the Metolius Basin.

Due to fire suppression activities, the Deschutes National Forest has initiated an Emergency Closure in the area of the fire. Key areas included in the closure are:
• Forest Road 14 from the 900 junction to the 1490 junction
• The East Metolius Trail
• Lower Bridge Campground
• Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery
• Allen Springs Campground
• Pioneer Ford Campground

These closures will remain in effect as long as needed for public and firefighter safety. Details and updates on this closure are posted on the Deschutes National Forest web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/centraloregon/alerts-notices

A Memorial for John Hammack has been scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday August 13 at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond.

Contact: Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center (COIDC) Media Desk at 541/416-6811; e-mail: coidcincidentinformation@gmail.com
More information: Green Ridge Fire Inciweb site at http://inciweb.nwct.gov/incident/3594/; or COIDC at www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/fire, COIDC on Twitter http://twitter.com/centralORFire

The lightning-caused Whiskey Complex fire burning six miles east of Tiller on the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest is now 11,088 acres and 40 percent contained, with an estimated full containment date of August 20th. The Complex currently consists of three fires: the Whiskey Fire (which has joined with the original Big Brother Fire and is now 9,376 acres), the Buckeye Fire (1,682 acres, 95 percent contained and in mop-up and patrol status) and the Smith Ridge Fire (30 acres, 100 percent contained, in patrol status). Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 3 (Incident Commander Doug Johnson) assumed command of the Whiskey Complex this morning, as Oregon Interagency IMT 1 needed to rotate out for rest days prior to any re-deployment. There are 692 personnel assigned to this incident.

Interior pockets of unburned fuels continue to burn throughout the Whiskey Fire. Sunday was the first time in several days that helicopters were able to fly, providing greatly appreciated air support. Personnel continue to clear, fall snags, and patrol roads in an effort to restore access to the South Umpqua Falls as quickly as possible. Watch for a warming trend through the week, coinciding with a possible increase of fire activity by Friday in the southeast region of the Whiskey Fire, as fuels dry out. The complex has a crew and fallers available to respond to new starts, if necessary. Yesterday, a crew traveling to the Smith Ridge Fire, located a new fire start from previous lightning and provided initial attack until local resources arrived.

The Whiskey Fire has had very little growth – generally from burning previously unburned pockets within the fire perimeter. Roads have been prepared by removing brush to use as containment lines along the eastern and southeastern flank. Crews will perform burn-outs as opportunities arise, and create defensible space along the eastern border. The north, west, and southwest are in mop-up and rehabilitation. Road crews are clearing debris and grading damaged infrastructure.

A temporary flight restriction surrounding the Whiskey Complex has been reduced to a 5-mile radius directly above the Whiskey Fire.

The retardant plant remains functioning, and is located at the Big Stump Rock Quarry, approximately a mile west of Black Canyon Camping Area along Jackson Creek.

For fire firefighter and public safety, a large area closure around the Whiskey Fire remains in effect; major roads in the area are closed. The Ash Valley Evacuation Level has been reduced to a Level 1. Residents are still expected to be prepared to evacuate should conditions warrant it.

Contact: 541-839-3099
More information: Visit the complex’s Inciweb site at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3562/ or the Whiskey Fire Blog at http://whiskeycomplex.wordpress.com/.


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.

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.

FIRE STATISTICS
Fire statistics will not be included until further notice.

Note: Acreage of fires is continually tracked, but entering this information from field personnel into our central database from the field has been delayed. Those personnel are currently heavily engaged in firefighting. Reporting of cumulative statistics will resume when the information is available.

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

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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. 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.