Tom Fields, Oregon Dept. of Forestry, 503-983-8897
Sisters, OR – Residents in the Lake Billy Chinook area are breathing a little easier this morning thanks to a change in the weather and the persistence of fire crews on the Akawana Fire. Level 2 evacuation notices have been lowered to a Level 1 in the 3 Rivers Subdivision. About 262 homes in Forest Park, Air Park, Rim Park and outlining areas remain in a Level 2 evacuation notification, which calls for residents to be set to go at a moment’s notice. Consistent cloud cover and a trace of rain calmed fire behavior so that firefighters could build containment lines along the fire’s edge and keep the fire from further spread.
As of this morning the fire is 2,065 acres and completely lined. It is currently 44 percent contained. Total firefighting costs are close to $950,000.
While much of the fight has been taken out of the Akawana Fire, firefighters still have a lot of work ahead of them. ODF’s incident management team fire behavior analyst Mike Haasken reiterated to firefighters at this morning’s briefing that, although we will have cooler conditions, the forest fuels are still very dry and susceptible to ignition should something cross containment lines. An infrared photo taken from aircraft overnight indicated that the fire’s edge remains extremely hot. Today’s objectives include strengthening established containment lines and mopping up hot spots from the perimeter into the interior.
Structural task forces protecting homes under the Conflagration Act will continue to stand ready should the fire take an unexpected run. The threat to structures has decreased significantly. If conditions continue to improve throughout today, the OSFM may release some task forces to return to their home communities, however the OSFM will maintain a significant presence for the near future.
Cooperating agencies assisting in the fire suppression effort include the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Jefferson and Deschutes County Emergency Management.
For the latest updates on the fire, log on to www.facebook.com/ODFCentralOregon.