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





Friday, August 23, 2013

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - Aug. 23, 2013

NEW FIRES ON OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY-PROTECTED LANDS
The Double J Fire was reported last night burning in grass and timber in the Klamath Lake area. The fire, located approximately 15 miles SE of Klamath Falls, was lightning-caused and originally reported at 20 acres but grew to 135 acres. 4 engines responded along with a 20-person crew from Warner Creek Correctional Facility. The fire is now 100 percent bulldozer-lined and the crew is performing extended mop up. The fire is on BLM lands protected by ODF.

FIRES ON OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY-PROTECTED LANDS
Government Flats Complex
The Government Flats Complex is burning 10 miles southwest of The Dalles, Oregon. The fire, now an estimated 11,335 acres, received at least 1/10 of an inch of rain early this morning. Although the new acreage is nearly 1,000 more than yesterday, the fire only grew by a couple hundred acres – 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 on private lands and USFS ownership.

Just as the fire was heating up yesterday afternoon, thunder cells dropped light precipitation which moderated fire behavior and limited fire growth. Fire behavior is expected to be minimal this morning and moderate by this evening as winds increase. Resources threatened include homes along the north side of the fire (Ketchum Road, Vensel Road, Godbersn Road and Mosier Creek), as well as private timberland and BPA high voltage power lines.

Today’s objectives include building direct lines where possible along the NW corner of the fire as well as preparing contingency lines for burn out along the NW corner of the fire; also, continue to evaluate structural protection needs and trigger points for evacuations in the communities listed above.

Evacuations: 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: Upper Mill Creek Road, Wells Road, Browns Creek Road, Cherry Heights, Chenowith Road and Obrist Road.

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 has established an evacuation center at their office, 507 West 9th Street, The Dalles. Please register on their Safe and Well program either at the center or on line at www.redcross.org. Their public number is (888) 680-1455.

For information regarding evacuation notices, please contact the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office at 541-506-2580 or the Hood River County Division of Emergency Services at 541-386-1213 during business hours.

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 1,008 personnel are currently assigned to this fire. 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 85 percent contained and has burned approximately 48,679 acres. As the fires within the Douglas Complex get closer to being contained, crews that have completed their assignment are being sent home to rest up; today, 958 firefighters will continue mopping up the Rabbit Mountain and Dad’s Creek fires.

One task of the crews on the fireline is to find trees that are unsafe to work near, and cut them down. Teams of fallers hike to wherever firefighters find these hazardous trees, and tackle the tricky task of putting the partially burned trees on the ground.

Felling badly burned trees is not simple. The trees may be burned two-thirds of the way through at the base, halfway up the stem, near the top, or all three. Usually, the hazard trees are teetering like they’re about to fall, but stubbornly refuse to. Firefighters cannot work near trees that may crack and fall at any second.

But once the hazardous trees have been put on the ground, firefighters can safely resume their work, mopping up the hot spots inside the fireline.

Road closures
For detailed information about the road closures in the Douglas Complex area in Douglas County, contact the BLM district office in Roseburg at 541-440-4930. For road closure information on the Josephine County side of the Douglas Complex, call the BLM’s Grants Pass office at 541-471-6500.

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 35 percent contained.

The Big Windy Complex received approximately 1/10” of rain yesterday morning when thunderstorms moved over the fire area. Due to the wetting from the light rain no burnout could be accomplished. One new lightning start, the Rafters Fire, was spotted and reported by rafters floating the Rogue River. The Rogue River Hotshots located the fire and contained it. Additional firefighters, engines, and aircraft assigned to the fire were deployed to assist local agencies as they attacked numerous new starts from the lightning storms. These resources will return to the Big Windy as initial attack activity subsides and the fuels dry enough for burnout operations to be re-initiated.
Fire behavior is expected to be minimal today. It is likely to take at least two days of warm, dry conditions to enable fire crews to continue the burnout operations on the northeast and western flanks. Smoke may linger in the low lying areas.

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 23 to the junction with Forest Road 33.
• Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Rogue River Ranch.

FIRES BURNING ON OTHER LANDS
The Vinegar Fire is now 1,161 acres and zero percent contained. The fire is located approximately 6.5 miles southwest of Granite, Oregon. It is burning in the North Fork John Day Wilderness Area. There are 547 people assigned to work on the fire. Today, ORIIMT4 will be released from the fire and ORIIMT2 will take command under the leadership of Incident Commander Brett Fillis.
More information is available on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.org/incident/3645/

The Labrador Fire continues to burn in inaccessible country 30 miles southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon. Isolated heat pockets still persist around the perimeter of the Labrador Fire. All of the risk factors make it paramount that crews remain vigilant and ready to respond to any flare-ups that may occur on the fire, or new fire starts that may result from the predicted lightning. An engine, a hand crew and the King’s Peak Wildland Fire Module will be working along the Illinois River from Miami Bar to Oak Flat in Josephine County. Three helicopters remain on the fire and will be ready to respond if needed.

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; 75 personnel are assigned to this fire.
For more info: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3563/

The 121-acre Strawberry Complex (USFS), located 13 miles south of Prairie City on the Malheur National Forest, is 50 percent contained. The complex consists of the High Lake and Pine Creek Mountain Fires and was lightning-caused.

The Whiskey Complex, six miles east of Tiller on the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest, is now 17,420 acres and 85 percent contained, with 367 personnel assigned. More information on this fire is on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3562/.

The House Creek Fire (BLM) is burning 30 miles west of the Burns Junction within the Burns District of BLM. It is now 2,769 acres and 90 percent contained.

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

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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. 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.