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





Saturday, August 2, 2014

Beaver Complex update - Aug. 2, noon

Oregon Department of Forestry Team 2- Chris Cline, Incident Commander
Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office Blue Team – Jim Walker, Interim Incident Commander
CAL FIRE – Phill Veneris, Incident Commander
Oregon Fire Information Number:  541-826-1599
California Fire Information Number:  530-842-2266

Info office hours of operation: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

August 2, 2014, noon

Special Message: Oregon Governor Kitzhaber invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act yesterday, recognizing that a life safety and property threat exists that exceeds the firefighting capability of local structural agencies. 

Current Situation:  The Beaver Complex consists of two fires: Salt Creek and Oregon Gulch Fires.  The largest fire, Oregon Gulch, is south of Highway 66, burning in the proximity of the Soda Mountain Wilderness.  Yesterday, erratic, gusty winds on the Oregon Gulch Fire caused extreme fire behavior and rapid fire spread.  The fire has consumed a total 3 homes, 5 outbuildings, and multiple vehicles. An infrared flight revealed an accurate location of the fire perimeter with acreage reported at 21,088.  There are 270 structures threatened in Oregon and California.

The Salt Creek Fire had little fire activity yesterday and increased from 108 acres to 146 acres.  Fire personnel were able to complete line construction around the fire perimeter.

Due to the complexity of the Oregon Gulch Fire, a unified command structure with Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, and CAL FIRE has been established.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is maintaining a Level 3 evacuation order for homes in close proximity to the Oregon Gulch Fire.  The identified area is Copco Road (6000 block to Oregon border). In addition, a Level 1 evacuation order for the area will be in effect as of 9:00 a.m. this morning.  Level 1 is an awareness level, alerting residents to be prepared in the event an evacuation is necessary.  The Level 1 area affected is the junction of Highway 66 and Hyatt Lake Road to the 22,000 block of Highway 66.  The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office will be administering the evacuation alert.

Evacuation levels are established as “Be Ready, Be Set, Go!” For more information, visit http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/pages/commed_wui.aspx.

Weather: Little change in the pattern is expected today.  It will be hot and dry today with light and variable winds becoming west to northwest.  The humidity will fall below 25% around 2:00 p.m. and remain low until 8:00 p.m.  It will be sunny and then become partly cloudy in the afternoon.  The temperature will reach 97 degrees.

Fire Statistics for Salt Creek

Location:  20 miles northwest of Medford, OR                    
Percent Contained: 30%                                      
Complex Size: 146 acres                  
Cause:  Lightning                                           
Fire start Date: 7/30/14                                                                    

Fire Statistics for Oregon Gulch
Location:  15 miles east of Ashland, OR                  
Percent Contained: 5%                         
Complex Size:  21,088 acres                                                       
Cause:  Lightning                                           
Fire start Date: 7/30/14                                       ,
 
Resources Include: 22 Type 2 hand crews, 6 Camp Crews, 50 fire engines, 17 bulldozers, 9 water tenders, and overhead personnel. Air resources: 14 helicopters and air tankers on request.
Total personnel: 788
 
Places to get information:
Twitter - www.twitter.com/swofire/
Southwest Oregon District Blog - http://www.swofire.com/
DEQ - http://www.deq.state.or.us/AQ/burning/wildfires/index.htm
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office - https://www.facebook.com/#!/JacksonCountySheriff
Inciweb - http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4034/
NWCC - http://www.nwccweb.us/information/firemap.aspx

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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.



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. 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.