Current situation

Winter and spring see lots of controlled burns in Oregon to eliminate piles of woody debris left over after logging or thinning. Embers buried in the ashes of these pile burns can sometimes reignite even days after a fire appears to be out, especially if winds blow away ashy debris. The same winds can then fan smoldering embers back to life. That's why it's a good idea to keep checking old pile burns to ensure no hot spots have rekindled.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Canyon Creek Complex update - Aug. 17, 2015, morning

Joint Information Center Hotlines:  
541-575-3040 or 541-575-3480                                                  
A community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Grant Union High School’s old gym.

JOHN DAY, Ore.This fire continues to challenge firefighters due to the extremely dry conditions, rugged terrain and afternoon winds. The Canyon Creek Complex has now burned 40,100 acres. Additional firefighting resources continue to arrive from around the state and country. More than 300 firefighters are currently assigned and more are anticipated to arrive to assist with the Canyon Creek Complex. 

Yesterday air tankers and helicopters supported hand crews as they worked digging fireline in terrain too rugged for bulldozers. Late in the afternoon air tankers were diverted to a new fire that was burning nearby, however helicopters continued fight the fire. Structural firefighters worked to protect homes and to determine the number of houses lost to the fire during the extreme wind event that occurred on Aug. 14..  Fire activity increased on the southern portion of the fire, near Dry Soda Lookout. Firefighters worked through the night to protect houses and to reinforce fireline. 

Sunday afternoon two community meetings were held at the high school.  Community members who have lost homes and property to this fire attended the first meeting and the second meeting provided fire information to the general public. More than 50 people attended the first meeting, and over 220 people attended the second. Available information included the current and expected fire behavior, available resources for relief and recovery and a brief history of the situation. Speakers included local officials and firefighting personnel.

Today, the fire managers expect weather similar to yesterday, however the possibility of unpredictable winds exists. Firefighters continue working to improve total fire containment and line strengthening in the North. Today we will have a special focus with new resources on the South flank where activity is increasing.  Firefighting aircraft will be used aggressively to keep this fire in check, however those resources can be diverted to new fires at a moments notice.

Communities under Level 3 and Level 2 evacuations:

Level 3: Dog Creek-south of Marysville

              Marysville South

              Pine Creek – Gravel Pit, South

              Canyon Creek

              Edgewood Drive

Level 2: Laycock Creek                 Adams Drive

              Nans Rock Rd                   West Bench Rd

              Luce Creek                        Marysville North

              Pine Creek – Gravel Pit, North

              Dog Creek-north of Marysville

 An American Red Cross shelter has been established at the Mt. Vernon Community Center at 640 Ingle Street. Donations can be brought to the fairgrounds pavilion between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

The Red Cross is transitioning to providing financial and relief services for displaced residents. Those wishing to make monetary donations on behalf of displaced residents can contact the American Red Cross Mountain River Chapter at or in person at the shelter located on Ingle Street in Mt. Vernon. Other donations are being accepted at the pavilion at the fairgrounds in John Day.

An emergency fire closure is in effect in the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness area.  A copy of the closure order and map is available at    Forest Service personnel have assisted with escorting campers and other recreationalists out high-use areas, coordinating with Grant County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies to facilitate the closure.

 Additional information on the Canyon Creek Complex can be found on Inciweb at:

Please be advised of increased fire traffic and smoky conditions throughout the area. Forest officials ask that the public stay clear of all fire activities. Power lines have been damaged by fire and some residents may be using generators. Without an automatic cutoff switch, generators can pose an extreme hazard to power company employees due to back-feeding, please don’t plug generators into the electrical system without an approved cutoff device.

Firefighting resources remain scarce due to the high number of fires burning regionally, however this fire is a very high priority both within the state and nationally. As other incidents wind down fire crews and equipment become available and if requested by commanders they are assigned to the Canyon Creek Complex. Firefighters will continue to work hard until this situation is brought to an end.

Additional fire information can be found at JDIDC - BICC sites online at:

For more information on the Malheur National Forest, please visit us at, follow U.S. Forest Service- Malheur National Forest on Facebook, and follow @MalheurNF on Twitter for all the latest forest news.

To report a fire, contact the John Day Interagency Dispatch Center at 541-575-1321 or the Burns Interagency Communication Center at 541-573-1000.     

Email Address:
Facebook:                  Great Basin National Incident Management Team 1


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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, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these were put out at less than 10 acres.

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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.

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.