2015 another severe fire season

A cool, wet winter and heavy snowpack delayed the start of fire season in much of western and northeastern Oregon. However, the onset of hotter, drier weather is quickly drying out forests and rangeland, making it easier for fires to start. More than half of ODF-protected lands are in districts that have declared the start of fire season this month. It's especially important as summer approaches to avoid or be extra careful with any potential source of fire in wooded areas. Fire season means the end of most outdoor activities that are high risk for starting a fire, such as debris burning, campfires outside of designated areas, and using tracer ammunition and exploding targets.







Saturday, August 22, 2015

Grizzly Bear Complex update - 08-22-15 morning

Incident Management Teams Assume Command of Fire

Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 4 and the Oregon State Fire Marshal Green Team assumed a unified command of the Grizzly Bear Complex fire on Friday. Firefighting resources including crews, equipment, and structural apparatus are now deployed to the complex, which is burning in both Oregon and Washington. The complex now includes 5 lightning caused fires after some of the original 17 burned together. The fire is currently burning on the Umatilla National Forest and private land protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Three structure protection task forces mobilized through the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office worked in the areas around the Troy and Flora communities during the daytime operational period yesterday and one task force worked during the night.  Crews were optimistic that fire conditions were less severe than yesterday and that fire was still a couple of miles away from Flora. Those task forces will be in the area again today, continuing with structure triage and have coordinated plans in place with wildland crews given the forecasted weather and fire behavior conditions.

An estimated 300-400 structures are scattered throughout the area threatened by the fire. The fire is currently active on all sides. The fire is generally still west of the Grand Ronde River, but moving northeast and down-canyon from Troy. Weather conditions today appear more favorable than in recent days, with lighter winds, though conditions remain dry.

Current evacuation notices include:
Level 3: Troy, Eden Bench, Grouse Flat, and Bartlett. The area North of the Grande Ronde river at Eden Bench and Troy to the state line.  East along the state line to Hwy 129, north through Boggan’s Oasis to Big Butte.

Level 2: An area east of Hwy 129 from the State line north through Boggan’s Oasis to Big Butte. An area within the boundary from the Clearwater Guard Station to Lick Creek Road; from Lick Creek Rd. to Asotin city limits; around Asotin to the Snake River; from the Snake River south to the state line; from the state line west to Highway 129. Flora, Lost Prairie, Redmond Grade northeast to Highway 3

Level 1: City of Asotin, WA


QUICK FACTS:

Fire Complex Size:  59,150 acres

Fire Start Date: August 13, 2015

Location:  20 miles SE of Dayton, WA, burning on Umatilla National Forest and private lands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry and Washington Dept. of Natural Resources.

Hazards: Rapid fire growth with crowning, spotting and wind-driven runs, unauthorized drone flights.

Values at Risk: Public safety, Communities of Troy, Grouse Flats, Eden Bench; Long Meadows Guard Station; Historic Hoodoo lookout, communications facilities.

Cause: Lightning
 
Containment: 0%

Personnel: 262

Resources: 5 Crews, 14 Engines, 1 Helicopter (Type 3)

Structures Lost: 22

Evacuation Levels:
Level 1: Be alert to situation.
Level 2: Be ready to evacuate.
Level 3: Leave immediately.

A Red Cross Shelter is located at Enterprise High School, 201 SE 4th St in Enterprise, phone 541-519-2360

Fire Information (541) 437-0138      

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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.



What we do

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. There are about 30.4 million total 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.