Current situation

Lightning mainly east of the Cascade crest is a concern through mid-week as it is a key source of new wildfire starts, often in remote and difficult terrain. Firefighters are still battling many large existing fires across Oregon, most of them started by earlier lightning storms.








Thursday, August 6, 2015

Phillips Creek Fire Update - Wednesday, August 6, 2015 @ 12 p.m. PDT

Phillips Creek Fire Update
Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2015, 12:00 p.m.
Fire Information: (541) 437-1159

Pilot Car Operations May Resume on Hwy 204
Firefighting operations may impact travel on State Highway 204. Oregon Department of Transportation may reinitiate pilot car operations or temporarily close the highway for 20-minute intervals in the vicinity of the fire along Hwy 204. These actions will depend on threats to the public from suppression work being performed near the highway. Travelers are urged to drive with caution as smoke could greatly reduce visibility, and firefighters and equipment could be working along the edge of the highway. For current conditions concerning travel along Hwy 204, travelers should visit www.tripcheck.com.
Yesterday’s Operations: Fire behavior on the Phillips Creek Fire moderated with cooler temperatures. Firefighters continued to successfully build and secure both direct and indirect containment line around the perimeter of th   e fire. Helicopter water drops were used to keep the fire in check on the eastern flank above Highway 204 minimizing fire spread. The completed fire lines around the southern and western flanks were improved and opportunities for constructing direct fire line in these areas continued to be evaluated. On the northwest corner, firefighters conducted strategic firing operations to remove fuel between the established fire line and the uncontrolled edge of the fire.
Weather and Fire Behavior: Temperatures in the 70’s, slightly higher humidity and decreasing winds are expected over the fire area today. Today’s fire behavior may include areas of very active fire spread including high intensity flare ups and rapid rates of spread. Continuous fuels may produce short crowning runs when combined with wind and slope.
Today’s Operations: Mop up will continue on the south end along the dozer line, protecting private land. On the west flank, opportunities to secure the fires edge with direct line construction will be pursued. On the north and east flanks, efforts will focus on securing the established line and continue to shepherd the fire down to Hwy 204. Air support will be used again today as needed to slow the fire spread east towards Hwy 204. A contingency group will improve lines established east of Hwy 204 to stop the fire should it cross the highway. Four engines will patrol the fire on night shift tonight.
Phillips Creek Fire information can be found on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4443/ and on Facebook at Phillips Creek Fire.

Quick Facts Incident SummaryApproximate Size: 
     1,801 Total acres
           1,369 acres – USFS
              431 acres – ODF Protected
Fire Containment: 10%
Incident Commander: Brett Fillis
Resources on the Fire:
     Hand Crews: 18
     Helicopters: 4
     Engines: 19
     Dozers: 4
     Water Tenders: 8
     Total Personnel: 591
Jurisdiction: 
     USDA-Forest Service Umatilla National Forest
     Walla Walla R.D.
     Oregon Department of Forestry
Social Media:
     Facebook:  Phillips Creek Fire | Facebook
     Twitter:  PhillipsCreek Fire (@PhillipsCK2015) | Twitter
     Inciweb:  http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4443//


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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.



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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.



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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.