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

Willamina Creek Fire update - Aug. 22, 2015


Oregon Department of Forestry Team
West Oregon District – Dallas Unit

Fire Information number:  (503) 934-8153

 9:00 a.m.                     

Special Message: 
As the Willamina Creek Fire progresses, interest grows in seeing the fire area first hand. Fire managers would like to remind the public that the fire area is closed to public access and a road block is in place on Willamina Creek Road north of the junction with Coast Creek Road. Access to the fire area is through a series of narrow roads with few turnouts. These roads are experiencing high traffic with fire crews, engines and tenders. Safety of the public and firefighters is the number one priority, so please respect the road block and allow fire personnel to get the job done without injury.

Current Situation: 
Crews conducted a burn-out operation Friday morning in the southeast corner of the fire to remove unburned fuel and create a stronger fuel break around some of the most challenging areas of the fire. Firefighters working during the day Friday focused efforts on strengthening these lines. Westerly winds in the afternoon again challenged firefighters, this time on the north side of the fire. Fire managers ordered additional air support and were able to utilize assistance from an additional Type 2 helicopter and three SEATs (Single Engine Air Tankers). The aerial support helped make a big difference in cooling down the hot spots.

Overnight, crews worked to strengthen the lines around the spots using hose lays and hand line. Containment lines have been completed around the perimeter of the fire and crews hope to be able to hold them through the weather change today. Today’s weather is expected to be quite a bit warmer and drier with gusty dry winds coming out of the northeast. Crews will be focusing on securing lines that were the most active yesterday. Mop-up has begun around the entire fire with a goal of having the fire 100% mopped up.

 The Willamina Creek Fire is burning on land protected by ODF’s West Oregon District, Dallas Unit. The fire is currently estimated to be about 212 acres and is burning in heavy fuels on high-value private and BLM timberland. Additional GPS data will be collected over the coming days to continue to improve accuracy of the acreage measurement.

Weather and Fire Behavior: 
The weather forecast for today predicts gusty, hotter and drier conditions on the fireline today. Poor humidity recovery is expected for tonight with light east winds persisting through the evening. Temperatures are expected to be 88-93 degrees with 20-25% humidity.

 Fire Statistics

Location:  approx. 9 miles north of Willamina, OR                
Percent contained: 15%                             
Size:  212 acres (estimated)                                                       
Cause:  under investigation                          
Start Date: 8/19/15, approximately 5 p.m .                        

Wildland resources assigned to the fire include (day and night shifts): 16 hand crews, 11 engines, 4 dozers, 12 water tenders, and overhead personnel. 

Air resources:  1 Type 2 helicopter

Total personnel:  266

Evacuations and closures:
Four cabins along East Creek Road remain under a Level 3 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 - wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/
Facebook - www.facebook.com/oregondepartmentofforestry
Twitter - twitter.com/ORDeptForestry

 

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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.



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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.