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

Waterman Complex update - July 17, 2014, a.m.


Waterman Complex – Mitchell, Oregon

Information Center – 541-462-3140 (Will be routed through the school switchboard)
Incident Commander Doug Johnson

Facts at a glance:
Start date: July 11-12, 2014
Cause: Lightning
Size: 4,319 acres
Containment: 28 percent
Hand crews: 17
Fire engines: 24
Water tenders: 6
Helicopters: 6
Bulldozers: 6
Total personnel: 502

Location:  Three fires near Mitchell, Service Creek, and Kimberly, Oregon.

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.
 
The Complex consists of three fires: Bailey Butte, Toney Butte, and Junction Springs. 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.
 
Bailey Butte Fire – 2,105 acres, 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. 
 
Toney Butte Fire – 2,194 acres, 50% contained.  Crews will cold trail and mop up any hot spots.  

 Junction Springs Fire– 20 acres, 90% contained. This fire is in patrol status and monitored by air.

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.

For more information on the Waterman Complex visit:
Inciweb at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3961/
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Find us on Twitter @watermancmplx
 


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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.



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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.