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Monday, September 22, 2014

36 Pit Fire Update September 22, 2014 @ 1 p.m.

Washington IMT 2 Incident Commander – Bruce Holloway
ODF Incident Commander – Russ Lane

36 Pit Fire Update
September 22, 2014 – 1:00 PM

INFO PHONE:   360-280-4352 or 503-630-1711                           Office Hours:  8:00 am -8:00 pm

Yesterday was another productive day for firefighters suppressing the 36 Pit Fire.  Crews and aircraft continued to secure the line at the 45 Road/Hillockburn Road.  Retardant planes, helicopters with water buckets, and water scoopers assisted in keeping the fire spread to a minimum.  With the challenging weather and wind conditions yesterday, approximately 95,400 gallons of water and 31,045 gallons of retardant were used to fight the fire. Dozers and hand crews on the ground held the fire line and extinguished spot fires as they occurred. 

Today, weather conditions will be favorable allowing firefighters to continue to make good progress.  Higher humidity levels, cooler temperatures, and light winds are expected.  At the northwest, northern, and southern perimeters of the fire, crews continue to mop up hot spots 100-300 feet in from the fire perimeter. These portions of the fire are becoming more secure with each work shift. Crews have been reassigned from the northern perimeter of the fire to the western flank at the 45 Road/Hillockburn Road.  Eleven twenty-person crews including five elite Hot Shot crews are assigned to the western portion of the fire.  Thirteen engines are also assigned to hold the fire at the 45 Road/Hillockburn Road, and dozers are working to improve and strengthen the fire line.  The continued priority is to halt the progression of the fire to the west.

Helicopters with water buckets and other aircraft will be used as necessary to support crews on the ground today. Two Type 1 heavy helicopters, one medium Type 2 helicopter, and two light Type 3 helicopters are currently assigned to the fire. 

Fire behavior is expected to be minimal at the northwest and northern portions of the fire perimeter.  Fire located within the South Fork of the Clackamas River is expected to be terrain driven with periodic and minimal spread moving upslope toward the 45 Road/Hillockburn Road. 

The fire is now estimated to be 5,424 acres in size and is now 45 percent contained. The 78 acre spot fire located to the northwest of the main fire is now completely mopped with no hot spots or smoke visible.  Hazards to crews include: extremely steep terrain on slopes in excess of 60 degrees presenting crews with footing difficulties; rolling debris; and fire weakened trees.  Heavy deep fuels also present challenges to contain the fire.

The Clackamas County Sheriff has made recent changes to the evacuation notices.

Level 1 – Hillockburn Rd. east of Habelt and Silver Fox RV
Evacuation levels have been lifted for all areas including the following:

·       All homes on the east side of Habelt Rd. to Skinner Rd.
·       All homes on Skinner Rd. east of Habelt Road
·       All homes on the east side of Kinzy Rd. north of Skinner Rd. to the intersection with Tucker Rd.
·       All homes on Brief Rd.
·       Residents of SE Fall Creek Rd.
·       Residents of Michaels Rd.
·       Residents of Tumala Mountain Rd. east of Divers Rd. in Estacada
·       All homes on Hillockburn Rd. west of Habelt Rd. to the Dodge Church
·       All homes on Pederson Rd.

 The Lazy Bend Camp and Work Center are evacuated and closed.

Promontory Park is closed.

The La Dee OHV area is closed.

ROAD CLOSURES:  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: or call 503-655-8224.  Information related to smoke can be found at:   For more information, please use the contact information listed above.


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National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

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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.

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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.