Lightning is largely absent from Oregon this week. However, warm, dry weather will greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21. Avoiding activities that can spark a wildfire is key to making the eclipse a safe and pleasant experience for all. One measure adopted to reduce the risk of wildfire is a temporary ban, now in effect, on all campfires in state parks

Monday, August 24, 2015

Willamina Creek Fire Evening Update - Monday, August 24, 2015

Willamina Creek Fire Update
Oregon Department of Forestry
West Oregon District – Dallas Unit

Fire Information number:  (503) 934-8153

August 24, 2015
8:00 pm

Current Situation: 
Crews working on the Willamina Creek Fire spent the day fully-engaged in mop-up activities. This is arduous work during which firefighters locate and fully extinguish every hot spot. This process requires digging out roots and stumps or breaking apart piles of burned fuel which still has burning material deep inside. Crews often use water to extinguish the burning material completely until they can’t feel any heat. Mop up can be a long process—especially in the heavy fuels that characterize the northwest Oregon Coast Range forests. Firefighters on the Willamina Creek Fire will be mopping up the entire 230 acre fire area to ensure no hidden ember has a chance to escape and reignite the fire. Tree fallers were working in the fire area again today taking down snags and hazard trees to protect the crews who will be working below. Handheld infrared cameras will be used again tonight to help identify as many hidden hot spots as possible. A few crews will also be working on mop up this evening. 

This will be the last evening update for this fire.  Daily updates will continue to be provided in the morning once per day unless conditions change.

Weather and Fire Behavior
The weather forecast is expected to become partly cloudy overnight with temperatures between 50 and 53 degrees and 84-88% humidity.

Fire Statistics
Location: approx. 9 miles north of Willamina, OR  
Percent contained: 75%           
Size: 230 acres                   
Cause: under investigation  
Start Date: 8/19/15, approximately 5:00 pm  
Wildland resources assigned to the fire include (day and night shifts): 13 hand crews, 6 engines, 1 dozer, 6 water tenders, and overhead personnel. 
Total personnel:  197
Cost estimate to date:  $1,086,000

Evacuations and closures:
Four cabins along East Creek Road are under a Level 1 (Ready, in the Ready, Set, Go! system) evacuation. Willamina Creek Road and East Creek Road are closed north of the junction with Coast Creek Road.

Places to get information:
ODF Fire Blog -
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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, 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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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.