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, July 18, 2014

Waterman Complex update - July 18, 2014, a.m.

Waterman Complex – Mitchell, Oregon

Information Center – 541-787-4321(new number)
Incident Commander: Doug Johnson

Start date: July 11-12, 2014
Cause: Lightning
Size: 7,865 acres
Containment: 35 percent
Resources
     Hand crews: 23
     Fire engines: 24
     Water tenders: 10
     Helicopters: 5
     Bulldozers: 6
     Total personnel: 723

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

Evacuation Notices
A Level III Evacuation Notice for the West Branch area was issued by the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office this morning at 7:30 am. A Red Cross Shelter is located at the 108 S. Nelson St (City Hall) in Mitchell.

The Marks Creek area remains under a Level III Evacuation.   Residents have been asked to leave their homes due to the fire threat.  A Red Cross Shelter is located at the Crook County High School in Prineville.

Heavy equipment will be making improvements on the Forest Road 22 starting today.  This is an alternate route between Mitchell to Prineville, expect slight delays.

Current Situation
The Complex consists of four fires: Bailey Butte, Toney Butte, Junction Springs and Incident #376. 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, patrolling, 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 low relative humidity and gusty winds

Bailey Butte Fire – 5,625 acres, 5% contained. Additional crews have been assigned to work the southern portion where the fire had been most active.  The northern portion showed no growth.  Crews are mopping hot spots and are mopping up 50 feet from the fire perimeter.  The Crystal Springs Organizational Camp is being prepped for burn-out operations.  Crews are continuing to prep Forest Service Road 2630 for indirect line and preparing it for burn-out operations. The fire has burned into the Resource Natural Area (RNA). Working in cooperation with private land owners, firefighters have been constructing dozer lines in the West Branch Road area. A spike camp has been established in Spears Meadow to reduce travel time for firefighters.

Toney Butte Fire – 2,220 acres, 60% contained.  Crews will continue to cold trail, mop up any hot spots, and patrol the fire perimeter.  This fire showed no growth and will go into monitor status end of shift.

Junction Springs Fire– 20 acres, 100% contained. This fire remains in patrol status and monitored by air.

Incident #376 - .25 acres, 80% contained.  Four rapellers are assigned to this fire.  It is located in the Mount Pisgah area.

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 employee safety. The Bailey Butte Fire Closure Area is established within boundary lines on its north side by the Forest boundary and its 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 Whistler are closed.

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.

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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.



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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. 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.