Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Waterman Complex update - July 21, 2014, morning

Waterman Complex – Mitchell, Oregon
Information Center – 541-787-4321
Incident Commander Doug Johnson

Fire at a glance
Start date: July 12, 2014
Cause: Lightning
Size: 11,989 acres
Containment: 60 percent
     Hand crews: 23
     Fire engines: 37
     Water tenders: 24
     Helicopters: 8
     Bulldozers: 11
     Personnel: 872

Adverse winds yesterday prevented completion of the planned burnout operations to secure the existing fire lines along the Forest Road 2630 to Highway (Hwy) 26.  The limited opening of the highway will not occur on today as scheduled.

Evacuation Notices

Wheeler County Sheriff and fire officials have lowered the Level 3 evacuation order for the West Branch area.  West Branch and Marks Creek residents will remain at the Level 2 preparedness.  Residents need to remain ready to evacuate should fire conditions warrant.  The Red Cross Shelter remains open at the Crook County High School in Prineville.

Current Situation

The Complex consists of four fires (Bailey Butte, Toney Butte, Junction Springs and Incident #376.)  The Bailey Butte fire is being actively managed.  The others are 100% contained and will continued to be monitored by air.

Bailey Butte Fire – 9,745 acres, 50% contained.  Due to an increase in relative humidity, firefighters were unable to complete the scheduled burnout operation early this morning. Crews worked all night into the early morning hours continuing the burnout operation from Corral Flats to the Hwy 26 corridor to provide a secure fire line along the highway.  When the burnout and hazard tree falling is complete, Hwy 26 will partially open as soon as it is deemed safe for travel.  Fire fighters are also mopping up hot spots, chipping debris removed from fire line preparation, using helicopters to drop water to cool hotspots, and holding established fire lines.

Toney Butte Fire – 2,229 acres, 100% contained.  The fire will be monitored by the air.  Smoke may be visible from interior burning.

Junction Springs Fire – 15 acres, 100% contained. This fire remains in patrol status and monitored by air.

Incident #376 - .25 acres, 100% contained. 

Ochoco National Forest Closure Area:

A Forest Closure Order 06-07-01-14-001-01 is in effect on Ochoco National Forest System lands.  The closure prohibits the public from entering the Closure Area except under special exemption.  The closure is due to firefighting activities and the safety of the public within the Closure Area.  The public is encouraged to check with the Forest before they travel.  To view the entire Forest Closure Order please see the following link:

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR):  The TFR over the Toney Butte fire was removed.  One TFR remains in place over the Bailey Butte fire. Please check the NOTAM for current information.

For more information on the Waterman Complex visit:

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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:

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick mountain snowpack. It didn't take long for that to melt and vegetation to dry out due to a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather over the summer. As forest fuels dried, fires started and spread, many from lands adjacent to those protected by ODF, such as the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. That one fire accounted for 46% of the 47,537 acres of land protected by ODF which burned in 2017. Of fires originating on ODF-protected land, 95% were put out at less than 10 acres.

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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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.