Current situation

Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and Washington continue to affect air quality in much of northern Oregon today. Meanwhile, smoke from multiple wildfires again hovers over southwest Oregon. Mostly dry thunderstorms are predicted through Friday in southern and eastern Oregon, which could result in lightning-sparked fires.


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, August 19, 2016

Withers Fire update - Aug. 19, 2016 evening

Fire Information: scofmp.fire.info@gmail.com
541-947-6243 or 541-219-6863

Status:
With temperatures soaring into the 90s today, firefighters continued working on containing and mopping up the Withers Fire.

The Level 1 Evacuation for Paisley will be lifted at 6 p.m. thanks to the effort of firefighting resources from throughout the West. Their hard work and commitment to public and firefighter safety made it possible to lift the evacuation this evening.

The fire is located west of Oregon State Highway 31. The fire was one of four started Wednesday.

A local Type 3 incident management team continues working on the fire.

Smoke impacts to local communities should be minimal. However, there may still be pockets of visible smoke and active fire within the perimeter. 

While Hwy 31 remains open, there is a significant increase in fire traffic. Minimizing travel in the area if possible will help both firefighter and public safety. There is also a likelihood of increased air traffic in the area as part of firefighting efforts. A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire area.

As hot and dry conditions continue into the weekend – not only in South Central Oregon, but across the western United States – the National Interagency Fire Center has elevated the National Preparedness Level to 4 on a scale from 1 to 5. This means more than three Geographic Areas are experiencing Type 1 and Type 2 incidents, there is competition for resources and 60 percent of Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams and crews are committed. As the Withers Fire approaches containment and control, firefighting resources are prepared to continue their important mission locally, regionally and nationally as needed.

Fire danger remains high and the public should be aware of their surroundings and prepared for changing conditions.

Residents and area visitors are asked to be vigilant with anything with a flame or spark. Also, respect current Public Use and Fire Restrictions on federal and state lands in Lake and Klamath counties. It only takes one coal or ember to spark a wildfire!

The cause is under investigation. However, the evidence indicates arson and it is now a criminal investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 541-947-2504.

Expected Fire Behavior: Conditions continue to be hot and dry with relatively low fuel moistures. Increased fire activity is likely as temperatures increase.

Weather: High temperatures will be in the 90s with low humidity.

Road Closures: Forest Road No. 33, also known as the River Road, from the junction with Forest Road No. 3315 to Jones Crossing, as well as Forest Road No. 3315 from the junction with Forest Road No. 33 to the intersection with Forest Road No. 3360 are closed.

Evacuation Information: Evacuation levels are being evaluated this morning and may be modified. There is a Level 3 Evacuation for campgrounds along the Chewaucan River and any residences along the River Road – anyone in this area needs to leave immediately. The Level 1 Evacuation for the town of Paisley will be lifted today at 6 p.m.

Size: 3,424 acres

Containment: 56 percent

Resources: 2 helicopters, 7 hand crews, 24 fire engines, 6 water tenders and 3 bulldozers. Total personnel: 350.
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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 about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

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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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. In total there are about 30.4 million 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.