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





Tuesday, August 5, 2014

5 Mile and Somers Fires, 8/5 AM News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2014 AM


A Level 1 Evacuation Notice was issued by the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office for the town of Imnaha and for residents along the Imnaha River Road 5 miles south of Imnaha near Freeze out Creek to 10 miles north of Imnaha near Fence Creek this morning.  This is an advisory warning that current or projected threats associated with the approaching fire are severed and this is the time for preparations and precautionary movement of persons with special needs and livestock.


5 Mile and Somers Fires– Joseph, Oregon

Contact Number: 541-670-0812

Location:  Two fires near Imnaha, Oregon.

Current situation: Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 3, Incident Commander Doug Johnson, assumed command of the 5 Mile and Somers Fires this morning.  The incident command post is located at the Chief Joseph Rodeo Grounds in Joseph, Oregon.  Additional firefighting resources are on order to fill critical needs on the fires but limited resources are available due to high fire activity in Oregon Washington, Idaho, and California.  Resources will be prioritized to protect high value assets and the community of Imnaha.

5 Mile Fire – 3,700 acres, 5% contained. The operational priority is to secure the town of Imnaha and keep the fire from the Oregon Department of Forestry protected private lands of ranches and homes along the Imnaha River Road. Yesterday, retardant was heavily applied in a wide strip to check the movement of the fire toward Imnaha.  Night shift patrolled.  Today, firefighters will provide structure protection; remove fuels away from homes, and burn out around structures where necessary. Air resources usage will be limited this morning until the smoke inversion lifts. Aerial resources are on loan for use from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.  Retardant planes are available for use.

Somers Fire – 400 acres, 0% contained. Ten rappellers have been deployed and are staffing this fire.

Closures:
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has closed Hat Point Road FR4240. Wallowa County has closed the Upper Imnaha Road, private landowners be allowed access.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): Two TFRs are in place over the two fires. Please check the NOTAM for current information.

For more information on the 5 Mile and Somers Fires visit:
Inciweb at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4048/  and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4053/

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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.