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





Monday, August 5, 2013

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - Aug. 5, 2013

FIRES ON OREGON DEPT. OF FORESTRY-PROTECTED LANDS
Southern Oregon continues to be the focus of firefighting activity in the state with numerous large fires burning in the region. Saturday, Governor Kitzhaber was briefed about southern Oregon wildfires from the Incident Command Post in Southern Oregon. For more information, see ‘Other Fire News.’

Douglas Complex
The 35,633 -acre, lightning-caused Douglas Complex fires burning seven miles north of Glendale in Douglas County and are now 16 percent contained.

The Douglas Complex is the highest fire priority nationally for resources. Approximately 470 homes are threatened. The Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal is managing the fire jointly with Oregon Department of Forestry.

Special Message: Previously it was planned to close the Red Cross shelter in Glendale but it will remain open for the time being. Railroad repairs will begin today on trestles that were damaged in the Rabbit Mountain fire.

Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office Green Team (Incident Commander Ingrao) demobilized yesterday afternoon with the last task force demobilized at midnight.

Current Situation: The Douglas Complex currently consists of Rabbit Mountain, Dad’s Creek, and Farmer’s fires. Favorable weather conditions overnight have allowed firefighters to make significant progress with fire line construction and firing operations. Firing operations remove unburned vegetation between the fire and the control line, to make the line more secure. Fire activity is expected to increase today with continued lower humidity and higher temperature.

Rabbit Mountain – 15,767 acres
A planned burn in the Darby Creek drainage will be attempted again today and may lead to increased smoke in the area. Burnout operations on the southeast corner will continue through the day shift. The containment along the eastern side of the fire continues to hold and mop up operations continue with success. A combination of direct and indirect line construction has been completed from Middle Creek north and then south to Cow Creek. These lines will continue to be tested with the continued heat and lower relative humidity.

Dad’s Creek – 19,607 acres
The south end of the fire continues to burn actively near Grave Creek. Holding of previous firing operations were conducted overnight from the ridge south of Glendale to Grave Creek. Lines around homes in the Dry Creek and Poormans Creek areas were firmed up to help secure homes. Approximately 30 homes remain threatened in the Grave Creek, Poorman Creek, and Lower Wolf Creek areas. Structure engines are actively working in the area.

Weather: Today will be sunny and warmer with high temperatures ranging from 87 to 92 degrees. Widespread smoke will exist in valleys and along slopes. Slight winds in the valleys and ridgetops will be 5 to 7 miles per hour today. In the afternoon, winds will increase and become gusty. Gusts are expected to become fifteen to twenty miles per hour in the late afternoon.

Evacuations and Closures:

• Cow Creek Road from Riddle into the fire area and from Glendale into the fire has been closed. The National Guard will be conducting traffic control the road blocks and not interfere with firefighters working in the area.
• Evacuations are at a Level 2 (residents allowed back home, but restricted public access) for McCullough Creek Road, Reuben Road, and Mt. Reuben Road in Douglas County. A Level 3 (restricted access for everyone) is still in effect for Poorman Creek Road, Lower Grave Creek, Grave Creek, and Lower Wolf Creek in Josephine County.
• 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.

Public Safety/Prevention: Firefighters are contending with hazards, like falling boulders and trees, old mine shafts, and narrow roads which are affecting access into some of the fire area. Values at risk include homes, commercial timberland, and critical wildlife habitat. There are no reports of homes burned. Three minor injuries have been reported. Two outbuildings have burned.

Douglas Forest Protective Association has increased prevention restrictions for both industry and the public. Check www.dfpa.net before commencing your activities.

Resources: 72 Type 2 hand crews, 2 Type 1 hand crews, 89 engines, 29 bulldozers, 39 water tenders, and overhead personnel, National Guard and State Fire Marshal Office resources.
Air Resources: 8 Type 1 helicopters, 5 Type 2 helicopters, and 5 Type 3 helicopters

A total of 2,652 personnel are assigned to this fire.

For information about this fire: 541-832-0136; 541-832-0137, 8 am – 9 pm
InciWeb - http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3559/
Douglas Complex Photos:
To upload: douglasfire2013.90689@uploads.photobucket.com
To view: http://tinyurl.com/DouglasFire2013

Big Windy Complex
The lightning-caused Big Windy Complex is now estimated at 7,499 acres. Consists of the Big Windy (Josephine County), Calvert Peak and Jenny Fires (Curry County). Located on Medford District Bureau of Land Management lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

This fire is approximately 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass and 8 miles northwest of Galice; the north part of the fire is within two miles of Winkel Bar on the Rogue River. Pacific NW IMT2 is assigned to this fire. This fire is still reporting 0 percent containment.

Current situation: Burning in mixed conifer with a heavy Douglas fir component and in manzanita and ceonothus. Fuels adjacent to the fire area are similar but also have brush fields from the Biscuit Fire with a heavy concentration of dead and down surface fuels. These fuels are thick and continuous and burn readily due to drought conditions. Fuels moisture is critically low and will contribute to increased fire spread rates.

Steep terrain, extremely dry fuels and difficult access make control efforts difficult. Escape routes and safety zones are limited due to steep terrain and heavy fuels. A portion of the Rogue River has been closed due to fire activity. This is having a major economic impact to the local communities. Inversion layers are limiting the utilization of aircraft. Construction of indirect firelines is progressing along the Peavine Road area and a major ridge on the western perimeter. Burnout operations began last night along Bearcamp Road.

Highlights: Last evening’s infrared flight showed two spots north of the Rogue River from the Jenny Fire in the northern area of the Big Windy Complex. Infrared is the best aerial tool available to identify areas with heat. Firefighters will scout the area thoroughly today. If spots are identified, a strategic plan will be made for suppression actions, keeping firefighter safety the #1 priority.

Operations will continue with the direct/indirect strategy as progress is made with containment lines, prepping for burnout, and conducting burnout operations. This approach is estimated to require approximately one week to implement. Weather conditions permitting, there will be burnout operations along the SW corner of the Big Windy fire. Burnout is used to reduce the fuels between the containment line and the fire, thus minimizing the potential for fire to move across existing containment lines. In addition to conducting the burnout, firefighters will monitor closely for any potential spotting that may occur.

Fire crews remain assigned to the Horseshoe area to monitor the spots identified on the IR map and any additional fire activity N of the Rogue River.

To support the firefighters on the line, 8 line EMTs, 3 Advanced Life Support ambulances, 2 short haul medivac ships, 1 long haul National Guard medivac ship (Roseburg), and 9 medivac sites are available for emergency medical response and transport.

Equipment is being washed to reduce the spread of noxious weeds specific to work areas and assignments.
Estimated containment date for the Big Windy Complex: September 1, 2013.

Resources: 6 Type 1 hotshot crews, 16 Type 2 hand crews, 2 heavy helicopters, 2 light helicopters, 31 engines, 10 dozers and 13 water tenders, 3 camp crews and 123 National Guard members. 1076 personnel are assigned to this fire.

Air Operations:Three additional medevac sites were identified yesterday. Poor visibility limited air operations.

Closures in Place:
Bear Camp and Burnt Ridge Roads are closed, as well as numerous trails. The BLM portion of the Wild Section of the Rogue River is closed from Graves Creek to Mule Creek. The Rogue River Trail from Graves Creek to the Rogue River Ranch is temporarily closed. The Recreation Section of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River is open to rafters. However, the Grave Creek takeout is closed and law enforcement officials will not allow traffic into Grave Creek. Rafters floating on this section of the river should use the Argo, Almeda, or Rand river exits.

COOPERATING AGENCIES and PARTNERS:
Oregon Department of Forestry, Medford District Bureau of Land Management, Josephine County, Curry County, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Jackson County, Rural Metro Fire Department.

Brimstone Fire
The lightning-caused Brimstone Fire is located 7 miles northwest of Merlin and 5 miles west of Sunny Valley; size is now 2,372 acres (change due to new GIS information). The Brimstone Fire is now 80 percent contained.

Current Status: Yesterday’s day shift was the last day for the full use of all fire crews. ODF’s Team 3 is handing over the fire to a Type 3 transition team at 0600 today. Crews were able to re-enforce lines and are getting closer to meeting the mop up standards for the fire. The NW corner of the fire has been difficult to control due to the limited access and very steep terrain but crews have made good progress. Snagging of this portion of the line is only being conducted where it is safe to do so and crews will continue to put most of their effort into this section of the fire.

The Brimstone Public Information Officers hosted a community meeting last night in Merlin and were joined by approximately 300 local residents and cooperators. Fire officials presented current information on the Brimstone, Douglas Complex, Big Windy Complex and Labrador fires.

Night shift consisted of 2 engines on patrol status. To date, there has been one reportable minor injury on the fire.

Operations summary: There was very little fire activity yesterday as the crews have done an excellent job of putting out any spots and mopping up. The majority of the fire is mopped up 300’ from the perimeter except for a portion of the NW corner of the fire

Objectives: Today crews will strengthen control lines and continue mop up efforts. The fire is currently at 80% containment.

The Dad’s Creek Fire is only 2-3 miles north of the Brimstone Fire and the terrain between the two fires is very steep with limited access. Contingency plans have been developed in coordination with ODF IMT 2 in case the Dad’s Creek fire crosses Grave Creek. The new team and the fire will be under the management of the Grants Pass Unit of the Oregon Department of Forestry.

This fire is being managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry. Cooperators include the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Land Management, Josephine County Emergency Services, Josephine County Forestry, Josephine County Sheriff’s Department, Josephine County Search and Rescue, Rural Metro Fire Department, City of Grants Pass, and the National Weather Service.

Closures/evacuations: No evacuation orders have been announced/issued but a few road closures are still in effect:
• Hog Creek Road is closed at Merlin-Galice Road;
• Quartz Creek Road is closed at Hugo Road;
• Angora Creek Road is inaccessible due to Grave Creek Road closure

Approximately 706 personnel and firefighters are now assigned to the fire under the supervision of the Oregon Department of Forestry. Resources include 26 crews, 31 engines, seven bulldozers, 7 helicopters and 15 water tenders. No injuries to fire personnel have been reported since the start of the fire.

Fire suppression costs to date are approximately 6,811,655. The fire is being managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry with many cooperators including the Office of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Land Management, Josephine County Emergency Services, Josephine County Forestry, Josephine County Sheriff’s Department, Josephine County Search and Rescue, Rural Metro Fire Department, City of Grants Pass, and the National Weather Service.

Information about the Brimstone Fire can be learned by calling (541) 479-3842.
Josephine County Emergency Operations (EOC), 541-474-5305; www.swofire.com; www.inciweb.nwcg.gov

Information about other fires in southwest Oregon can be had by calling the Joint Information Center (JIC) at (541) 471-6620.

Many small fires on ODF-protected lands:
Since Friday July 26, ODF’s Northeast Oregon District responded to 11 fires on ODF-protected lands and also aided cooperators on at least 11 others. The most challenging was the Murray Peak Fire near Unity which was contained at 25 acres. In the Klamath Lake area crews have responded to at least 39 fires with 10 of these fires on the Klamath Lake District. In addition, the Tiny 2 fire burned 250 acres, 7 acres on ODF-protected lands. ODF air tankers were critical in assisting the ground forces in catching this fire. A Type 2 helicopter also assisted with bucket drops on both these incidents.

According to John Day and Central Oregon Dispatch Centers there were at least 101 new fires during this period across all agencies in Central Oregon. Last week a series of thunderstorms started numerous fires in Central Oregon, the largest of which was the 10-acre Squaw Creek Estates fire.

FIRES BURNING ON OTHER LANDS
The lightning-caused Cascade Division Complex Fire is burning in Ponderosa pine, white fir & Douglas-fir 14 miles northwest of Sisters.

The Cascade Division Complex is made up of several lightning fires. The largest is the Green Ridge Fire in the Camp Sherman area at 120 acres.

Firefighters continue to construct in-direct handline on the north and south flanks. They will prepare and plumb the line for burning when the conditions are right. Yesterday saw an active surface fire. Single tree and group torching was observed along with short runs and spotting ahead of the fire.

The fire is being managed by NorCal Team 1, a Type 2 Incident Management Team. To keep the public informed, fire information specialists have stationed informational bulletin boards in the following locations: the Camp Sherman Store in Camp Sherman, and at Barclay Square, Ray’s Market, and the Sisters Ranger District office.

The fire is approximately ½ mile from private land.
Firefighters are working to construct hand-line where possible, while bulldozers are working to construct line on the east and west sides of the fire.

Public Meeting: Fire officials will hold a public meeting in Camp Sherman on Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Camp Sherman Community Hall. All are welcome to attend.

For more information: 541-416-6811

The lightning-caused Whiskey Complex fire burning in timber six miles east of Tiller on the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest is now 7,368 acres and 20 percent contained. The Complex consists of 4 fires, they are the Whisky Fire (2,250 acres), the Big Brother Fire (250 acres), the Buckeye Fire (550 acres) and the Smith Ridge Fire (30 acres).

At 1800 on August 3, spot fires were discovered east of the Big Brother eastern containment line. Continued dry weather is forecast. The incident is being managed by a unified command: Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team and the Douglas Forest Protective Association. 953 personnel are assigned to this fire.

For more information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3562/

The 2,020-acre lightning-caused Labrador Fire (USFS) is burning in an area south and west of the Illinois River in inaccessible country approximately 30 miles southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon.

Firefighters and fire engines remain in the Oak Flat community in Josephine County to provide structure protection and monitor the backing fire towards the Illinois River. The fire continues to hold along the Illinois River to the north and east. Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 2 (IC Brett Fillis) is managing the fire with the Incident Command Post located at Lake Selmac. There are 460 personnel on this fire.

For more information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3563/

MORE FIRE NEWSGovernor Kitzhaber was briefed yesterday on Wildfires from the Incident Command Post in Southern Oregon. U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley also toured the area.

For more information: http://photos.oregonlive.com/photo-essay/2013/08/gov_john_kitzhaber_addresses_d.html

Thompson Creek FireSmoke in the Thompson Creek area south of Roseburg and about 10 miles southwest of Winston, was reported to the Douglas Forest Protective Association around 7:00 p.m. Sunday evening. DFPA responded to the area with 4 engines, two helicopters, and a fixed wind observation aircraft. When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a half acre fire burning in grass and brush that was threatening a structure.

“The two helicopters were able to get enough water around the structure to prevent it from burning before firefighters arrived on scene” says DFPA Fire Prevention Specialist Kyle Reed. “The fire burned up to the structure, scorching the deck and the steps leading up to it, but the structure was saved.”

Reed also says that the local residents in the area deserve credit for jumping on the fire fast, slowing the spread before firefighters arrived on scene. With several fires in Douglas County threatening homes already this summer, Reed also reminds residents that there are many things they can do to help their home survive a fire before being put in that situation.

“Removing brush away from structures to create defensible space may make the difference in its survival” says Reed. “Keeping grass short, and dead needles and leaves picked up around a home is also important. Wood piles, propane tanks, gas tanks, and other flammable materials commonly found around homes can pose a threat in a wildfire situation as well.”

For more information about current fire regulations in effect, or to learn more about creating defensible space, visit www.dfpa.net or call DFPA’s information line at (541) 672-0379.

FIRE STATISTICSFire 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.

OTHER FIRE INFORMATIONFor information on wildfires on all jurisdictions in Oregon, go to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, or the national Incident Information System site.

ODF maintains a blogwildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com
=""> that includes breaking news on wildfires statewide, along with current fire statistics. The Southwest Oregon District maintains a blog with wildfire info specific to the region. In addition, the district provides a Twitter feed on fires as they occur.

ABOUT THIS UPDATEThis 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

Wildfire smoke and air quality

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.