The Jones Canyon Fire was mapped at 840 acres yesterday. Several SPA [special purpose appropriation] aircraft were used to aid firefighters on the ground and hold the fire within fire lines. This fire is burning in steep rocky terrain with difficult access. Firefighters will be focusing on mop-up on this fire over the next several days. There is significant work to be done to cool hot spots and strengthen the fire line.
Firefighters at the Harper Complex will continue to focus on mop-up within the containment lines of the fires. There has been no growth on these fires since Monday.
On Monday The Dalles Unit held the Happy Ridge Fire to just under 15 acres. This fire had significant potential, burning in pine and oak with high temperatures. The fire boss from Salem and SEATs [single engine air tankers] were used to cool fuels and allow crews and dozers to construct line.
Fire crews throughout the district have provided mutual aid to other agencies in addition to suppressing numerous ODF fires ignited by the weekend thunderstorms. Extreme fire conditions remain throughout the district with high temperatures, low humidity, and increasing winds. Yesterday’s success will allow fire managers to regroup and prepare for thunderstorms forecast for later this weekend and early next week as well as the potential fire activity over the holiday weekend. The potential for holdover fires remains a threat throughout the district.
Over the next few days resources will be released from the fires and will be returning to their home units. Sending units will be contacted to plan for their return. These resources have done an outstanding job, and are much appreciated for their hard work.
ODF Team 1 (John Buckman, incident commander) has been making significant progress on the Sugarloaf Fire burning on BLM Offset private lands as well as BLM and inside the John Day Fossil Beds. This fire is approximately 4,800 acres. Yesterday team assumed command of the Blue Basin Fire inside the Fossil Beds, which burned just over 300 acres. This fire is under investigation and is currently in mop-up status. Later this afternoon the team will assume control of the Corner Creek Fire, estimated to have grown to over 6,000 acres since it was discovered on June 29. Corner Creek is also burning on BLM Offset private lands, BLM and Forest Service lands. It is located about 11 miles south of Dayville on the edge of the Black Canyon Wilderness. The fire is burning away from the wilderness on the west side of the S. Fork of the John Day River. The fire is burning across the river from the site of the South Fork Complex which burned in 2014. Yesterday the fire grew from 2,500 to the estimated 6,000 acres. A VLAT [very large air tanker], 3 tankers, 4 SEATs [single engine air tankers] and 3 helicopters were used to protect structures along Wind Creek.
As we have all heard and seen, fire conditions are extreme with no relief in sight. Resources from other districts and areas, along with the SPA aircraft, contributed to the effort and success in controlling these fires under extreme conditions. While it is only July 1, we are truly in the heart of fire season.
Thanks to all the firefighters who have come to COD and helped put the fires out, as well as to everyone who has picked up extra duties back in their home units.