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.







Thursday, September 10, 2015

Canyon Creek Complex update - Sept. 10, 2015

Weather:
A warming and drying trend will continue to strengthen through Saturday. Sunday and Monday should see the return of cooler temperatures and higher humidity. Today’s high temperatures in the valleys are expected to climb into the 90s. Ridge tops should see temperatures in the 80s.  Minimum humidity will be dipping into the teens with the possibility of reaching single digits.  Winds will be 3-7 mph with gusts to 15 mph. 
 
On the fire
• Although the perimeter of the fire has not changed for several days, all areas of the fire remain staffed. Firefighters are monitoring areas of fire activity and responding appropriately.

• Increased interior fire activity is expected into the weekend as temperatures climb and humidity drops. Expect to see more smoke from the fire as well as more aircraft working, specifically on the east flank and Dog Creek area.

• On the east flank, firefighters continue to secure line.

• In the wilderness, personnel continue to work on the spot fire at Strawberry Lake. Firefighters will do a final check of the Slide Lake spot fire, utilizing a handheld InfraRed camera as well as systematically checking for heat by touch, smell, sight and hearing (gridding). If no heat is found they will hike out today.

• The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team continues to assess damage from the fire. They are evaluating emergency stabilization to prevent resource damage such as erosion and water runoff.
 
Canyon Creek Complex Facts
Type, cause, date started:  This wildfire began August 12, 2015.  Cause was lightning. 
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: 85%
Personnel: 513
Resources: 12 hand crews, four helicopters, 13 fire engines, seven bulldozers, seven water tenders, four skidgines.
 
Open and closed
• The Grant County Sheriff’s Office lifted all evacuation levels.
• Malheur National Forest changed restrictions to IFPL III and Public Use Restrictions B regulating campfires, use of combustion engines, chainsaws, smoking and off-road and off-trail vehicle travel. Forest area and road closures are being reviewed daily and remain in effect for firefighter and public safety.
• 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 am and 4:30 pm.
• 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.
 

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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.



What we do

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.