2015 another severe fire season

By mid-October 2016, ODF's net expenditures on large wildfires stood at $13.2 million. The lack of dry lightning played a significant role in the moderate firefighting costs this season. In 2015, large-fire costs totaled $29.6 million.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Eagle Complex update - 09-11-15

A Smaller Organization Continues Work on Eagle Complex

Baker City, OR: A smaller organization managed by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest assumed command of the Eagle Complex yesterday under Tyson Baxter, Type 4 Incident Commander, and Zach Culver, Type 4 Incident Commander Trainee.

Good progress continues to be made on the Eagle Complex, located 20 miles northwest of Richland, Oregon. The 12,763 acre lightning-caused wildfire is 75 percent contained, and has burned 463 acres of privately owned land protected by Oregon Department of Forestry and 12,300 acres on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. There are 78 personnel assigned to the fire, including two hand crews, four fire engines, two water tenders, one bulldozer and two helicopters. The incident command post will remain at the Lily White Forest Service work center until Sunday.

With the warm and dry weather we’ve been experiencing the past several days, more smoke is appearing in the fire area. Helicopters dropped buckets of water on smoke in the Sullivan Creek area yesterday, and will continue to drop water in that area and in other areas where smoke appears today. With the warm and dry weather predicted to continue through the weekend, it is anticipated that more smoke will pop up and fire resources will continue to suppress it to keep the fire within the containment area.

Firefighters have finished using infrared cameras to detect heat along the perimeter of the fire and near cabins. The fellers have completed felling hazardous trees near the perimeter of the fire. Fire hose has been pulled off the fire line in places where it is no longer needed, but hose will be left in place awhile longer around the cabins and structures along East Eagle Creek.

Crews are continuing to mop up hot spots along the perimeter of the fire, extinguishing heat near the edge of the fire. Fire engines are continuing to mop up and patrol around the cabins along East Eagle Creek, by FS Road 7745. The chipping operation will continue to chip vegetation along FS Road 77 in the fire area for a couple more days. Existing roads in the vicinity of the fire that have been impacted by fire suppression traffic are being graded. The excavator and dozer are repairing the effects of fire suppression on contingency dozer lines by pulling back berm material and spreading brush, limbs and rocks over contingency dozer fire lines. They are installing water bars to divert runoff water along fire lines on steep slopes, and on roads that were opened up for fire suppression. They have completed this work on the west side of the fire and will begin this work on the east side of the fire today.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) assessment of the Eagle Complex is beginning, to identify imminent post-wildfire threats to human life and safety, property and critical natural or cultural resources and, when possible, take immediate actions to manage unacceptable risks. Forest Service employees are starting to assess the impacts of the fire on cultural and natural resources and other values, to determine the need for BAER work projects.

The fire burned in a mosaic pattern, with a small amount of area severely burned, some area burned at moderate severity, and a fairly large area burned at low intensity or not at all.

The Eagle Complex Fire Area Closure was reduced in size on September 9th, and the following roads
remain CLOSED beginning September 9th until further notice:

Forest Service (FS) Road 77 - from the 77 and 67 junction, to the 77 and 7020 junction.

FS Road 7730 – the entire road is closed at both junctions with FS Road 77.

FS Road 7700-375

FS Road 7725-042

Please visit www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/ for more information about the road closure.

Information about the Eagle Complex Fire can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/WallowaWhitmanNF

http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4481/

The public use restrictions on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest were reduced to Phase A on September 9. The fire danger remains at high in most locations. This change allows campfires in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock or a commercial fire ring, that are cleared of all flammable material within a 3-ft. radius. A shovel and one gallon of water are required to have a campfire. Operating a chain saw is allowed from 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. Travel off developed forest roads and trails is not allowed. Motorized travel on closed roads is prohibited, and smoking restrictions are still in effect. Additional information about Public Use Restrictions and emergency closure areas on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/.

Oregon smoke condition information is available at http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/.

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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.

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The weather conditions setting up for this summer are ominous: continuing drought, meager winter snowpack, and above-average temperatures forecast through August.

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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.

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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. Suppression of large fires can run into millions of dollars.

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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.