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.








Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Update for Thursday, July 17, 2014

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

Sunflower Fire
The lightning-caused Sunflower Fire that was reported Tuesday burning in timber and grass approximately 10 miles north of Monument is now estimated at 1,200 acres.
Resources currently assigned: 4 engines, 1 water tender, 82 personnel. 6 structures threatened.

Fire Camp for the Sunflower Fire is being set up at the Morrow County OHV Camp between Spray and Heppner, Milepost 22 / Highway 207.  A Type 2 Team from Nevada is being assigned to this fire.

Waterman Complex
This lightning-caused complex of fires near Mitchell, Service Creek and Kimberly, was reported Monday evening. It includes the Bailey Butte, Toney Butte and Junction Springs Fires.

Current situation: A Level III Evacuation Notice for the Marks Creek Estates has been issued from the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.  Residents have been asked to leave their homes due to the fire threat.
Highway 26 remains closed on the south end beginning at Mount Bachelor Academy.  The road will remain closed due active fire behavior on both sides of the road, hazard trees, and smoky conditions.

Firefighting resources continue to arrive to assist in suppression efforts. Suppression actions of the day include: providing structure protection on the West Branch Road, and Marks Creek area; constructing and holding fire line, mopping-up hot spots, scouting new fire line locations, and prepping existing roads. Aviation assets will be utilized to assist in containment efforts.
Firefighters are challenged with steep terrain, and a Red Flag Warning for high temperatures, low relative humidity’s, and terrain driven winds.

The Bailey Butte Fire, part of the Waterman Complex burning in timber, is located approximately 10 miles west of the town of Mitchell. It is estimated at 2,105 acres and is now 5% contained.
Additional crews have been reassigned to work the southern portion where the fire is most active.  The northern portion, the origin, will have crews working the perimeter and cooling down hotspots.  Firefighters working the east, west and southern flanks will continue to construct and hold lines.  The Resource Natural Area (RNA) on the south end has been impacted by the fire. No suppression tactics are planned within the RNA. Crews will work to reduce fuels and prep the Forest Service 2630 Road to create a fuel break. 

The Toney Butte Fire, also part of the Waterman Complex, was reported Monday burning in grass, brush, juniper, sage and timber approximately 6 miles southwest of the town of Spray. The fire is estimated at 2,194 acres and is 50% contained. Today crews will cold trail and mop up any hot spots.  

The Junction Springs Fire, also part of Waterman, is 20 acres and is now 90% contained. The fire is now in patrol status.

Resources assigned to the Waterman Complex: 24 engines, 17 crews, 6 water tenders, 6 bulldozers and 6 helicopters are assigned to this fire, along with 502 personnel.

Ochoco National Forest Closure Area:
This closure has been enacted due to firefighting activities taking place within the closure area and for the protection of public and employees safety. The Bailey Butte Fire Closure Area is established within boundary lines on its north side by the Forest boundary and it’s south side following a system of closed Forest roads which include:
Forest Roads 450, 2630, 150, 2200, 2210, 300, 2610, Buck Creek Road to its intersection with the east edge of the Mill Creek Wilderness and Forest Roads 650, 27, 2745, 010 and the 2750.  All roads and trails within the bounds of the Forest Closure are closed. 

All campgrounds within the Forest Closure area including Walton Lake, Round Mountain, Crystal Springs, Wildwood, Ochoco Divide, and Whistle are closed. Persons or their invitees who live or own property within the closure area, permitees who have a legitimate need to access their permitted allotments, escorted or approved by the Incident Management Team may be allowed into the closure area.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): Two TFRs are in place over the Complex. One is located over the Bailey Butte Fire and the other over the Toney Butte Fire. Please check the NOTAM for current information.

Red Flag warnings (critical fire weather conditions) are in effect over the fire area for breezy winds and low humidity from Wednesday afternoon through Friday evening. Hot and dry conditions will continue through the rest of the week.

Fire information: 541-462-3140 or visit Inciweb at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3961/
.

Moccasin Hill Fire
The 2,535-acre Moccasin Hill Fire, reported Sunday burning 4 miles north of Sprague River and northeast of Klamath Falls, is now estimated at 55 percent contained.
Firefighters continued to make excellent progress with mop-up and line reinforcement Wednesday. The Incident Management Team has received excellent cooperation and support from the local community, partner agencies and the local fire service.

“We have shifted from catching and holding the fire to securing the fire,” said Operations Chief Joe Hessel. “With a good mop-up effort, we will be able to turn this fire over to a local team in a few days.” Mop-up work will continue today, as crews use hand-held infrared devices that can show hot spots that may hold heat but not visible flame or smoke. Yesterday’s mop-up activities revealed two additional small outbuildings had burned on Sunday, bringing the total number of structures lost to 35.

The level 1 evacuation status remains in effect for subdivisions near the fire. The Red Cross Evacuation Center in Sprague River is transitioning today to a Recovery Center, processing affected families and referring them to partner agencies for possible assistance. Thursday hours for the Red Cross Recovery Center will be 9 am to 8 pm.

With the reduction in fire activity and multiple additional large fires being managed elsewhere in Oregon, the process of demobilizing resources is underway. A new website providing updates on all active large files in the Pacific Northwest is available at: http://www.nwccinfo.blogspot.com/.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Resources assigned: 21 crews, 2 air tankers, 10 helicopters, 33 engines, 5 bulldozers, 9 water tenders and 662 personnel. Estimated costs to date: $1.6 M.

Fire information: 541-947-6223 , or follow the incident’s website.

White River Fire
Nearly 460 firefighters and support personnel awoke in the White River Fire Camp this morning but many of them will hit the road today and tomorrow, either to another fire suppression assignment or to return to their home units. The 652-acre wildfire, which burned in a portion of the White River Wild and Scenic area 12 miles west of Tygh Valley, is 95 percent contained. Full containment is expected by Friday morning.
Day shift crews will focus on mopping up interior hot spots on the south side of the White River Fire; the north side of the fire will be patrolled by engine crews. Tonight, there will not be a full night shift operation; engines will patrol the perimeter and use hand-held infrared devices to detect heat.
Firefighters, engines and helicopters assigned to the White River Fire are also poised to respond to new fires, should any occur, in support of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s protection unit in The Dalles.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect today across the region for westerly winds to 10-20 mph, gusts to 30 mph, and relative humidity below 20 percent.
The cause of the White River Fire, which started July 12, is being investigated.
Resources assigned: One Type II (medium) helicopter, one Type III (light) helicopter, 8 engines, 2 bulldozers and 1 water tender.
Costs so far have reached $1.8 million.
The White River Fire is on land protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s Central Oregon District. Much of the land is wilderness inside the White River Wild and Scenic Area, under the administration of the Bureau of Land Management. The Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife administers other lands inside the fire area for wildlife conservation purposes.
Fire suppression operations are run by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry Incident Management Team 1 led by Incident Commander John Buckman. Crews and support personnel from across the state have been running the fire suppression operation out of an incident command post at Wasco County Fairgrounds in Tygh Valley.
The cause of the fire, which started July 12, is being investigated.
For more information, please follow the incident’s website.

Log Springs Fire
The 10-acre Log Springs fire that was reported Monday burning in timber and grass approximately 4 ½ miles northwest of Ukiah is 100 percent contained and in patrol status.

Bear Claw Fire
The 26-acre Bear Claw Fire burning in timber and grass approximately 6 miles northwest of the Log Springs Fire and 10 miles northwest of Ukiah, is 100 percent contained and in patrol status.

Additional fire information is shared in real time on ODF and other web and social media platforms as it becomes available.

ABOUT THIS UPDATE
ODF is responsible for fire protection on about 16 million acres of private and state-owned forest and grazing land, and on certain other public 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.

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 major actions as a partner with other agencies.

FIRE PREVENTION REMINDER
A word about fire prevention: Several of our larger fires this year have been human-caused. With fire activity across the state, plus warmer-than-usual July temps and low humidity, please be extra-careful with fire.

OTHER FIRE INFORMATION & LINKS

Oregon Department of Forestry social media
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr links at link to our social media menu page.

Other Department of Forestry links

Other links
http://www.nwccweb.us/ (Northwest Interagency Coordination Center overview)
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov (Sortable nationwide information)
http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx (Statewide air quality index readings)
http://www.keeporegongreen.org/ (Keep Oregon Green)


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.

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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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About Me

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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.