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, September 14, 2015

Dry Gulch Fire expands to 12,000 acres

Dry Gulch Fire Information

Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, 9 p.m.

Fire Information: (541) 786-0501

Dry Gulch Fire exhibits extreme behavior

The Dry Gulch fire burning seven miles northwest of Richland, Oregon, has burned approximately 12,000 acres. Due to the rapidly changing fire environment, evacuation orders have been issued and can rapidly change according to the situation.

Level 3 Evacuation (GO) orders have been issued for:
*77 road from McBride Campground to Highway 86
*The West Wall of the Halfway Valley
*Pine Town Lane east of Halfway
*New Bridge to Carnahan Lane
*Carnahan Lane to Hewitt Park
*Along the Powder River arm to Sag Road and Sag Road to Highway 86
Level 2 Evacuation (SET) orders have been issued for:
*Dry Gulch
*New Bridge.
*Between Carnahan Lane and Moody Road
*Cornucopia Highway and the West Wall of the Halfway Valley

Sunday's operations: Firefighters worked to assess opportunities for fire lines and used aircraft and heavy equipment to establish fire lines where fire behavior allowed. The fire burned extremely actively, pushed by gusty winds and low relative humidity. Structure protection and public and firefighter safety took precedence in Sunday's operations. Due to the increase in size and complexity, an ODF Type 1 Team (Smith) was been ordered and will take command of the fire Monday.

Weather and Fire Behavior: The forecast Sunday evening called for clear conditions with gusty winds up to 18 m.p.h. from the Northwest. Humidity recovery was expected to be poor Sunday evening. Weather for Monday is expected to be mostly clear with lighter winds and lower temperatures.

Road Closures
Road closures have been implemented for public and firefighter safety and include:
-Eagle Creek Road from New Bridge
-77 Road from McBride Campground to Highway 86
-Highway 86 from Richland to Halfway
Quick Facts Incident Summary
Size: 12,000 acres
Fire Containment: 0%
Incident Commander: Mike McDonnall
Total Personnel: 150
Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
and Eagle Valley Rural Fire District
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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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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.

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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.