Current situation

Fire season on ODF-protected land has ended in most of Oregon as cooler temperatures, shorter days and moister conditions settle over much of the state. Exceptions are ODF-protected lands in the southern border counties of Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake.






























Thursday, August 22, 2013

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - Aug. 22, 2013

No new fires were reported to ODF's Salem Coordination Center during the past 24 hours. However, Oregon Dept. of Forestry firefighters are continuing to gear up for predicted storms and lightning through this week, including in Jackson, Josephine, Lane and Linn Counties. Scattered thunderstorms are expected throughout the day today and evening and there is a Red Flag warning in effect until 8 pm this evening for abundant lightning with dry fuels in southern Oregon. Although small amounts of moisture are expected with several of the storms, firefighters remain on extreme alert. Both Lane and Linn Counties experienced lightning activity early this morning.


FIRES ON OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY-PROTECTED LANDS

Government Flats Complex
Today will be a crucial day in firefighters’ efforts to slow the spread of the Blackburn Fire, one of three fires in the Government Flats 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. Strong winds out of the west are forecast beginning 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.

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.

Residents are being advised when they 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.

Approximately 700 personnel are assigned to this complex. To date, an estimated $4.6 million has been spent in Government Flat Complex fire suppression efforts.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 83 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.

All evacuation alerts have been lifted. There are currently 1,145 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 23,708 acres. The Big Windy Complex is now 30 percent contained. There was active fire spread with torching and short crown runs but no containment lines were breached and progress was made with burnout operations on the west flank adjacent to containment lines.

Fire behavior is expected to be active today. Crews will continue to hold and secure the east and southeast flanks. The burnout will continue along the west flank in an effort to remove fuel from the approaching fire. Smoke over the fire is expected to hamper air operations for most of the day likely eliminating aerial ignition options. If needed, firefighters will assist local forces in initial attack on any new fires from potential thunderstorms in the area. A structure group is evaluating access and assessing protection needs in the Galice area.

A Red Flag warning for abundant lightning and dry fuels will be in effect until later this evening. If an isolated thunderstorm approaches the area winds could become erratic and gust to 40 mph or higher.

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.
• Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Rogue River Ranch.

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. The fire is contained and in mop-up and was turned over to the Forest Service yesterday.

FIRES BURNING ON OTHER LANDS

The Big Sheep 2 Fire (USFS) is 129 acres and is now 55 percent contained. This fire is burning in rugged, inaccessible country where getting resources on the ground is difficult.

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.

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 80 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 1059 acres and zero percent contained. The fire is located approximately 6.5 miles southwest of Granite, Oregon. It is burning in the Greenhorn Unit of the North Fork John Day Wilderness Area. There are 547 people assigned to work on the fire. On Friday, ORIIMT4 will be released from the fire and ORIIMT2 will take command under the leadership of Incident Commander Brett Fillis. Team 2 is shadowing members of Team 4 today in order to assure a smooth transition.
More information is available on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3645/

The Labrador Fire continues to burn in an area south and west of the Illinois River in inaccessible country 30 miles southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon. The weather forecast is calling for lightning this afternoon and evening. A season ending event will provide the moisture needed to control the fire.
An Evacuation Level 1 order is still in place for the Oak Flat community in Josephine County. Level 1 means that people should be prepared to evacuate. The Illinois River road remains closed to public use for safety reasons.

The fire is 2,023 acres, with no containment percentage reported; 53 personnel are assigned to this fire. The Illinois River Road remains closed to the public for safety reasons.
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 17,420 acres and 80 percent contained, with 422 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.

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. 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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Comments and questions

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.