Current situation

Fire season on ODF-protected land has officially ended in all of Oregon as cooler temperatures and moister conditions settle over much of the state. With the end of wildfire season in Oregon, firefighting resources are now more available. As a result, several public and private engines and crews have been dispatched to California to assist with the devastating wildfires there.































Saturday, September 20, 2014

36 Pit Fire Update, Saturday, September 20, 2014 @ 9 a.m PDT

Washington IMT 2 Incident Commander – Bruce Holloway
ODF Incident Commander – Ross Holloway
                
36 Pit Fire Update
September 20, 2014 – 9:00 AM


FIRE INFORMATION WEBSITE:   http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4106/  
INFO PHONE:   360-280-4352 or 503-630-1711
EMAIL:
36pitfire@gmail.com                                    
Fire Information Office Hours:  8:00 am -8:00 pm

A Public Meeting will be held tonight at 7:00 pm at the Estacada First Baptist Church, 29101 SE Eagle Creek Road.  Members of the Incident Management Team and other local officials will be present to provide information and answer questions related to the 36 Pit Fire. 

Today, weather conditions are predicted to change and are expected to be the first real test of the containment lines.  As the weather warms, increased fire behavior is expected.  East winds are expected to increase and be steady at 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.  The air will also be drier and hotter with relative humidities at 26-33 percent.  Temperatures will increase to the mid-80s. A Haines Index of 5 is also forecast and means that the atmosphere will be drier and more unstable promoting more active fire behavior. 

For the last several days while cooler and more humid conditions have dominated the fire area, firefighters have aggressively built fire lines and mopped up hot spots in anticipation of today’s weather change.  Priorities today are to halt progression of the fire to the north and west.  Higher winds and temperatures along with drier conditions may cause interior islands of unburned vegetation and heavy surface fuels to burn more actively.  Single tree and group tree torching may also occur.  One result of the increased fire activity would be increased smoke and development of smoke columns.

Firefighters are doing everything they can to control fire lines today.  Yesterday and last night, firefighters continued to work hard to mop up hot spots at the northwest corner and northern perimeter of the fire.  These portions of the fire are located closest to homes and other structures.  Firefighters also completed a controlled burn out operation yesterday afternoon at the southern flank and southeast side of the fire to reinforce fire lines causing some smoke columns to be visible.  
The fire is now estimated to be 4320 acres in size and is now 40 percent contained. The fire has not moved appreciably in any direction since its initial spread last Sunday and Monday.  The 55 acre spot fire located to the northwest of the main fire is now completely mopped with no hot spots or smoke visible yesterday.  Hazards to crews include: extremely steep terrain on slopes in excess of 60 degrees presenting crews with footing hazards; rolling debris; and fire weakened trees.  Heavy deep fuels also present challenges to contain the fire. 

The Clackamas County Sheriff has also issued the following evacuation notices.  The evacuation order has been reduced for Silver Fox RV Park.  A Level 2 evacuation order was reduced for residents of Silver Fox RV Park as of 11 a.m. Thursday Sept. 17. Level 2 allows residents to return home, but they must be ready to leave if the situation changes. This had previously been a Level 3 mandatory evacuation.  An evacuation order was also reduced for SE Fall Creek Rd and Michaels Rd near 36 Pit Fire.  A Level 2 evacuation order has been issued for residents of SE Fall Creek Rd and Michaels Road as of 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17. Level 2 allows residents to return home, but they must remain ready to leave if the situation changes. This had previously been a Level 3 mandatory evacuation.  Hillockburn Road east of South Habelt Road is at Level 1 Evacuation.  Prepare for possible evacuation order issued for Tumala Mountain Road near 36 Pit Fire.  Prepare for possible evacuation order issued for Tumala Mountain Road near 36 Pit Fire.  A Level 2 evacuation has been issued for residents of Tumala Mountain Rd east of Divers Road in Estacada. The Lazy Bend Camp and Work Center is evacuated and closed.  Promontory Park is closed. The La Dee OHV area is closed.  The Red Cross shelter in Estacada is now also closed.   ODOT has opened Highway 224 to residents and workers only with valid identification.

The public is urged to be aware of increased fire related traffic on local roads and to drive defensively.  For information related to evacuations, please go to:  http://www.clackamas.us or call 503-655-8224.  Information related to smoke can be found at:  www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com   For more information, please use the contact information listed above.

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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. 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.