FIRES CURRENTLY BURNING ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS:
The Eldorado Fire located approximately eight miles southeast of Unity, Oregon, is burning on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected private lands, Vale Bureau of LM and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lands. The fire lies on the north and south side of Highway 26 between Unity and Ironside, two small communities south of Baker City in eastern Oregon.
The fire size is now estimated at 20,237 acres and 10 percent contained.
20-person hand crews have started trickling in to support the bulldozers and engines that have been working on the Eldorado Fire the past three days. Yesterday bulldozers continued developing containment lines in moderate terrain.
Because of the many fires burning across Oregon and Washington, the people and equipment available for containing these fires is spread thin. “The weather and the number of large fires burning in the Pacific Northwest have made this fire difficult,” said Incident Commander Link Smith, “however, we’ve put a plan together that we feel will help us meet our objectives, which is to minimize acres burned while keeping safety for the public and firefighters a top priority.”
Overnight crews removed fuel around a few structures and strengthened containment lines along the southern and western portions of the fire.
“Normally, on a fire this size over 300 firefighters would be constructing containment lines,” said Marvin Vetter, Operations Section Chief. “However, because of the many wildfires burning throughout the West the Eldorado Fire team is doing all it can with its limited resources.”
Today’s plan includes using hand crews to connect containment lines started by bull dozers on the northwest side of the fire. On the southwest corner of the fire crews anticipate building containment lines to help keep the fire on the east side of Ironside Mountain. Stronger winds are forecasted over the next few days that will challenge established containment lines and increase fire behavior.
Yesterday the wind stoked the fire front on the fire’s west and south sides. Weather reports from the Boise Weather Center predict a dry cold front coming through the area early today with 10-15 mile per hour winds. Fire incident meteorologists are calling for more difficult weather toward the end of the week.
Resources: Resources currently assigned to this fire include four 20-person crews, seven bulldozers, 12 engines and one helicopter.
ESTIMATED COST TO DATE: $487,000
BAKER CITY JOINT INFORMATION CENTER (JIC) (541) 523-2905
The Canyon Creek Complex located one mile south of the towns of John Day and Canyon City, Oregon, was sparked by lightning on August 12, 2015 and is burning on federal, state and private jurisdiction lands. It is currently estimated at 40,100 acres and is 0 percent contained.
It is being managed under a unified command structure with federal and state representation. A Type 1 Great Basin Incident Management Team (IMT), IC Lund, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal Red Team, IC Walker, are currently managing firefighting efforts.
This fire continues to challenge firefighters due to the extremely dry conditions, rugged terrain and afternoon winds. Additional firefighting resources continue to arrive from around the state and country with more than 300 firefighters currently assigned and more are anticipated to arrive to assist.
Yesterday air tankers and helicopters supported hand crews as they worked digging fire line 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. 14th. 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 fire line.
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 more than 220 people attended the second. 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 moment’s notice.
Communities under Level 3 and Level 2 evacuations:
Canyon Creek Complex Fire Info
Cornet-Windy Ridge Complex
The terrain on the fire is rugged and steep and ground crews have trouble accessing certain areas. This has necessitated aggressive air suppression including single engine air tankers (SEATs), helicopters and heavy air tankers, though increasingly scarce resources are straining air support.Favorable night weather conditions allowed fire fighters to conduct burn out operations that were successful in the north portions of the fire. Crews continue to patrol and hold lines while mopping up around structures. Today’s weather conditions will allow for a favorable day for fire fighting efforts.
Burnout operations today will occur on Woods Gulch Road and Burnt Canyon Road to prevent fire from spreading to the east. Smoke will be visible from I-84.
Resources: A partial list of resources includes 19 crews, 4 helicopters, 34 fire engines and 12 bulldozers, as well as Southwest Incident Management Team-Mark Ruggiero and Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office-Ted Kunze.
Highway 245 is still closed 11 miles north of Hereford. Drivers are urged to check highway conditions on tripcheck.com
Regulated closures are in effect on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in northeast and central Oregon. Please check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry office for public use restrictions on lands protected by ODF. Visit the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at www.bmidc.org or contact a local ODF office for more complete information.
Public shelters: As of 10 a.m. today, the American Red Cross has placed its shelter at the Baker City Nazarene Church, 1250 Hughes Lane, into standby status. Workers remain in place to reopen the shelter if requested by individuals affected by area wildfires or as needed in response to changes in fire activity / evacuation notices. Red cross nurses are available for evacuees that need medical attention. For more information: 541-519-2360.
Public Safety: the public should be cautious when driving; crews and equipment are working near and along the roads, and smoke may hinder visibility.
Cornet-Windy Ridge Complex Fire Info
The Eagle Complex (Northeast Oregon District - Baker Sub-Unit) reported Tuesday afternoon burning approximately 16 miles northeast of Baker City and 10 miles east of Medical Springs, Oregon, is now approximately 2,217 acres. The fire is burning on U.S.F.S. lands and lands protected by O.D.F. Three fires comprise the complex and are burning on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest as well as private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry.
The Stouts Creek Fire (Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) approximately16 miles east of Canyonville near Milo on forestlands protected by DFPA, is currently estimated at approximately 24,756 acres and now estimated at 70 percent containment.
Cost: To date the Stout Creek Fire has cost $29.5 million.