Current situation

ODF has been responding to dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires in southern Oregon. Incident Management Team 2 has been dispatched to assist the Southwest Oregon District with the Garner Complex of fires near Grants Pass. Very hot, dry weather today remains a risk for new fire starts and a challenge for suppressing existing fires. Many ODF districts and forest protective associations have raised their fire danger level and tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Canyon Creek Complex update - 08-27-15

Hot, dry weather and winds increase fire activity Wednesday, similar conditions today

Afternoon winds coupled with hot and dry conditions fanned the eastern portion down from Norton Fork to Pine Creek, triggering evacuations. Five heavy air tankers responded quickly and dropped seven to ten loads of retardant near residential areas. The initial large column of smoke, which was visible from John Day and Prairie City, was generated by heavy fire activity and long range spotting north of Indian Creek Butte and then moving down into Pine Creek.  Later southwest winds in the valley pushed the fire around the slope to the east and towards Indian Creek. Weather conditions kept the fire very active into the night and early morning, when it finally moderated.

Upper Pine Creek, Gardner Ranch Lane and Upper Dog Creek south of Little Dog Creek were raised to a Level 3 evacuation. Lower Pine Creek and Dog Creek are in Level 2 evacuation.

In anticipation of the unstable conditions, firefighters were pre-positioned in strategic locations along the northern section of the fire and in the residential areas of Upper Pine Creek and Upper Dog Creek. They spent the day improving and connecting contingency lines and monitoring the area closely. In the early evening and when work conditions were safe, they provided critical structure protection needs.

No burnout operations were conducted yesterday.

Southwest winds along the western and southern fire perimeter the last several days enabled firefighters to locate and extinguish hot spots. That hard work has resulted in 44 percent containment of the Canyon Creek Complex and created more control lines along the southern and western sides of the fire.     

Night operations worked to secure fire lines and structures on the northeast flank of the fire.

Planned Actions Include:

Canyon Creek
•   The fire line will be tested again today due to a local Red Flag Warning for hot and dry conditions and southwest winds up to 20 m.p.h. and unstable air mass. Anticipate smoke columns and active fire movement.

•   Fire managers intend to be flexible and strategic, using the right resources, at the right time and in the right locations.

•   Crews will continue to improve and hold dozer and hand lines along the forest’s northern border and provide protection to residences.

•   Air tankers will be used as soon as possible to pre-treat structures in the Indian Creek area. Air tankers will also drop retardant along dozer lines for reinforcement in the Dog Creek area. 

•   Crews will do fire suppression repair on the western side of the fire, rehabilitating dozer lines, fixing fences and putting in water bars to reduce erosion.

•   Oregon Trails Electric Coop continues to restore power to residences along Hwy 395.

Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT): Highway 395 is open for two-way travel. Due to firefighters, equipment and the power company on the road, a pilot car will lead traffic in specific areas between 6 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Anticipate delays. 

Grant County Sheriff: The Grant County Sheriff’s Office reminds people to be respectful of private property and to remain on the road unless invited.  Trespassing is punishable by law and violators will be prosecuted.

Oregon National Guard: Six twenty-person National Guard squads are contributing to the Canyon Creek Complex fire suppression efforts. Stationed at the Lake Creek Organizational Camp, they are working the western and southern perimeters of the fire, patrolling and securing the control lines and ensuring that hot spots 150 feet in from the line are out.

Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER): A BAER team has been ordered and will begin to conduct a water shed assessment of the area in order to plan rehabilitation of fire lines and mitigate soil erosion.

Weather: A local Red Flag Warning for hot and dry conditions and 15 to 20 mph southwest winds is in effect today.

Air Quality Index: Anticipate varying levels of smoke. For more specific information visit Oregon Smoke Information at

Cause:                                       Lightning

Date of Origin:                        August 12, 2015

Location:                                 One mile south of the towns of John Day and Canyon City, Oregon.

Types of Fuel:                         Timber with brush/grass understory; areas of medium density logging slash.

Structures Threatened:            75

Structures Damaged:               50

Residences Destroyed:            39

Current Size:                           85,960 acres

Percent Containment:              44%

Number of Personnel:             715   

Types of resources:                 2 Type 1 crews, 8 Type 2 crews, 7 helicopters, 67 engines, 14 dozers, 21 water tenders, 11 skidgines

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Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters are predicting the summer of 2018 will see above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Drought has already been declared in a number of counties in eastern and southern Oregon, with northwest Oregon also unusually dry for June. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

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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.

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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.