Current situation

Heat returns to much of the state early this week, with air quality alerts from wildfire smoke for northwest Oregon and Josephine, Jackson, Klamath and Lake counties. Lightning sparked a number of wildfires over the weekend, with a chance for more through Monday in eastern Oregon.


Many ODF districts and forest protective associations are in high or extreme fire danger with tightened restrictions on activities linked to fire starts. Check ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Canyon Creek Complex update - 09-11-15

Level 2 evacuation notice issued by Grant Co. Sheriff's Office
 Residents in the following area of Dog Creek Road are affected; two miles South of Hwy 26 to the northern fire perimeter, west of Dissel Creek, east of Little Dog Creek. Residents are advised to pack emergency items, pay close attention to updates from the Grant County Sherriff’s Office, and be prepared to evacuate should the need arise.

On the fire
• With above normal temperatures and below normal relative humidity again today we expect to see an increase in fire activity. Fire officials are closely monitoring the fire and responding appropriately.
• Increased interior fire activity is expected into the weekend as temperatures continue to climb and the humidity drops even lower. The public can expect to see increasing areas of smoke, as well as more aircraft working in the area, especially in the Dog Creek drainage.
• Fire retardant gel will be used to slow the fire's growth. The blue gel is made of biodegradable ingredients, and food coloring is used to help identify areas of application.
• On the east flank, firefighters will continue to secure the perimeter with the assistance of aircraft.
• An aircraft equipped with an infrared camera flew the fire last night. Numerous areas of heat within the perimeter were identified. Firefighting efforts will focus on eliminating the areas retaining heat.
• The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team continues to assess areas damaged by the fire. They are evaluating areas in need of emergency stabilization to prevent resource damage such as erosion and water runoff.

Canyon Creek Complex Facts
Type, cause, date started:  The lightning-caused wildfire began Aug. 12, 2015 
Location: One mile south of the towns of John Day and Canyon Creek
Fuels: Timber, brush and grass understory, and medium-density logging slash
Structures Damaged: 50, Destroyed: 43
Size: 110,406 acres. Containment: 87 percent
Personnel and equipment: 10 hand crews, three helicopters, five fire engines, four bulldozers, five water tenders, two skidgines.

Open and closed
• Malheur National Forest has reduced the closure area as of Sept. 10. The Starr Ridge and Parish Cabin Campgrounds are now open to the public as well as Forest Service Road 15 from the junction of County Road 65 to the junction of FS Road 16.
• Malheur National Forest changed restrictions to Industrial Fire Precaution Level III and Public Use Restrictions B regulating campfires, use of combustion engines, chainsaws, smoking, and off-road and off-trail vehicle travel.
• Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT):  Highway 395 is open for two-way travel. A pilot car may be on site to lead traffic in specific areas between 6 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
• Grant County Sheriff’s Office reminds people to be respectful of private property and to remain on the road unless invited. Trespassing is punishable by law and violators will be prosecuted.

For More Information
Inciweb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4495/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/canyoncreekfireoregon and www.facebook.cm/malheurnationalforest
Malheur National Forest Website: www.fs.usda.gov/malheur/
Air Quality Index: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/
Malheur Hunting Information: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/malheur/news-events/?cid=STELPRD3852316

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National weather forecasters are predicting the summer of 2018 will see above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Drought has already been declared in a number of counties in eastern and southern Oregon, with northwest Oregon also unusually dry for June. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

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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.