Current situation

Fire season on ODF-protected land has officially ended in all of Oregon as cooler temperatures and moister conditions settle over much of the state. This late in the fall, a key source of ignitions is fire escaping when piles of woody debris are burned. Care is required with that activity at any time of year.
































Thursday, August 31, 2017

Naylox Fire now 15 percent contained



Above: Hoses are a vital tool for fighting wildfires.
Here, firefighters unload an order of hoses, nozzles and other
equipment that will be used today to battle the Naylox Fire.

Containment lines around the Naylox Fire 11 miles north of Klamath Falls held overnight, and containment is now reported as 15 percent. The fire's size is estimate at over 400 acres. The fire started near hay barns the afternoon of August 29.  The cause is still under investigation.
 
The threat to structures in the area has been considerably reduced. Therefore the unified command between Oregon Department of Forestry and Klamath County Fire District 1 (KCFD1) will transition today solely to ODF, led by Incident Commander John Pellissier.

Crews overnight continued cleaning up dozer control lines, capitalizing on the good work performed yesterday by ODF’s two helicopters that were able to drop water on the fire most of the day. Day shift on the fire now numbers 70 firefighters and support personnel. Their main objectives are:
  • find and neutralize hot spots around the perimeter of the fire
  • continue tying in containment line
Evacuation levels along Algoma Road at the base of Naylox Mountain have been reduced to Level 1, Be Ready. Algoma Road remains closed for emergency personnel and local resident use only between Old Fort Road and Highway 97 North. The FS9718 Road is also still closed to allow firefighters safe access. Travelers along Highway 97 North are asked to be vigilant in watching for emergency vehicle traffic and to reduce speed as necessary.
 
Pacific Power will begin working on repairing the utility line that was damaged on Algoma Road so that electricity can be restored to the one residence that lost power due to the fire.
A temporary flight restriction is in place within a 3-mile radius of the fire for firefighter safety.
 
KCFD1 Fire Chief John Spradley attributes holding the Naylox Fire thus far to the partnership between local, state and federal fire agencies in Klamath County. "Our cooperation and strong relationships allowed us to work well together from the get go on Tuesday," he said.
 






Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Firefighters strengthen fire lines on the Horse Prairie Fire

Above: Just over 4,400 acres in Douglas County
have burned to date in the Horse Prairie Fire.
Fire growth on the Horse Prairie Fire in Douglas County was slowed Tuesday night due to lower temperatures and higher humidity. Night crews took advantage of these conditions to strengthen fire lines and build contingency lines. With the minimal growth overnight, the fire continues to be estimated at just over 4,400 acres and remains 15 percent contained. It is located about 15 miles northwest of Canyonville. The cause has not been determined.

The fire crossed Cow Creek late yesterday at Dad's Creek and Table Creek. There is a burn of approximately 100 acres across the creek and crews and aircraft are focusing efforts in that area.

Clearing skies today will allow additional aircraft to assist firefighters. But smoke is expected over the fire later today and may impact air operations. In addition, any smoke over the air base in Myrtle Creek may prevent aircraft from taking off.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office continues the Level 3 evacuation notification for Lower Cow Creek. The notification is for Lower Cow Creek Road from the end of County Maintenance to Union Creek, including residents living on Doe Creek Road. The local fire departments have posted a fire engine at all nine affected homes in the evacuation area.

Naylox Fire burns in Klamath County


Left: Smoke rises from the Naylox Fire 10 miles north of Klamath Falls.
 
 
 
 
 

The Naylox Fire, which started the afternoon of August 29, is estimated at 400 acres and 5% containment has been achieved. The fire is burning along the hillside above Hagelstein Park, which is 10 miles north of Klamath Falls. The fire originated near some hay barns at the intersection of Algoma Road and Highway 97 North. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. A unified command team led by Klamath County Fire District 1 (KCFD1) and the Oregon Department of Forestry is managing this fire.

The fire thus far has moved predominately eastward above Hagelstein Park. Variable winds, low humidity and increasing temperatures will combine today and the rest of this week to increase fire activity. Crews working last night completed dozer containment lines along the eastern edge of the fire. Crews today, comprised of 40 personnel from KCFD1, Oregon Department of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service Fremont-Winema, KCFD4, Chiloquin Fire, and Kingsley Fire, will continue working on dozer lines to the south, west, and north of the fire. These crews will also begin constructing contingency containment lines. Industrial operators have also been helping with equipment and personnel.
 
Where feasible, and if visibility permits, water and retardant dropped by aerial resources will be used today, mostly on the northern flank of the fire.

Algoma Road has been closed between Old Fort Road and Highway 97 North. Along with this closure, five residences and the campground at Hagelstein Park were put in Level 3, Go, evacuation status, and one residence has been put in Level 2, Get Set status. Additionally, the Forest Service 9718 Road has been closed to allow firefighters safe access to their operations.

Residents countywide who live in and near the wildland-urban interface are encouraged to review evacuation levels and associated actions on the Ready, Set, Go Wildfire Evacuation flyer. Klamath County Emergency Management would also like to remind the public that an emergency alert system is available. Directions for signing up for the notifications are available on the evacuation flyer, or you can call Klamath County Emergency Management at 541-851-3741.

Travelers along Highway 97 North are asked to be vigilant in watching for emergency vehicle traffic and to reduce speeds as necessary. A temporary command post has been established at Hagelstein Park on Algoma Road.

Jade Creek Fire
A separate fire also began on Tuesday afternoon in the Klamath-Lake District, this one near some haybarns about 13 miles northeast of the town of Bly. The fire was reported burning in sage, grass, juniper trees and timber. At latest report it was an estimated 120 acres in size.

Facebook users can follow South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership for all the latest wildfire information in Klamath and Lake Counties. https://www.facebook.com/SCOFMPFIREINFO/

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Horse Prairie Fire grows overnight to 2,500 acres

The Horse Prairie Fire was very active overnight, burning an additional 400 acres and bringing the total fire size to about 2,500 acres. The fire continues to grow and is moving primarily in a south, southeast direction.


Above: Nearly 400 personnel are assigned to the
Horse Prairie Fire in Douglas County, with more expected.
Eric Perkins, Night Operations Section Chief for ODF Incident Management Team 3, said that the conditions were much hotter and dryer on the ridges at 3 a.m. than in Camas Valley, roughly eight miles north of the fire.

Firefighters hope to take advantage of calmer weather conditions today. Close to 400 personnel are currently assigned to the fire with more crews expected to arrive. Additionally, crews are being supported with eight helicopters, nine engines, 14 water tenders and seven bull dozers.


Level 2 evacuation notice
In coordination with the fire team, the Douglas County Sheriff's office issued a Level 2 or "Set" evacuation notice for residents living on Lower Cow Creek Road from the end of County Maintenance to Union Creek. This includes residents living on Doe Creek Road. A Level 2, or "Set" evacuation notification means residents must be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.

There is significant wildfire danger in the area as a result of the Horse Prairie Fire. Residents are encouraged to voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area. If choosing to remain, residents should be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Residents may have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk.

Residents should closely monitor official outlets for additional information. Lastly, residents with a landline telephone number may be contacted via an automated emergency notification system from the Sheriff's Office. That same system can be dialed directly at 1-855-419-2349. Those who do not have a landline telephone and rely on a cell phone are asked to register their cell phone number to receive potential emergency messages from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. You may register at
www.dcso.com/alerts



To stay current on any changes in fire activity, follow us on social media at Facebook.com/horseprairiefire or on the national incident reporting site known as Inciweb.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Horse Prairie Fire moves into steep, rugged terrain

The Horse Prairie Fire was reported this morning as 15 percent contained. The fire's size has grown to an estimated 750 acres. The fire started Saturday afternoon 15 miles northwest of Canyonville, burning in logging slash, stands of young trees and second-growth timber. Both private industrial forest lands and Bureau of Land Management forests are affected. No homes are currently threatened. 

Above: Northwest winds are pushing the Horse Prairie Fire
 south and east into more rugged terrain.
One factor in the fire's sudden growth was attributed to late detection because of the thick layer of smoke that has blanketed the valley from other fires in the area. Once detected, the fire had already grown to about 40 acres and was moving rapidly through logging debris, timber and felled and bucked logs. DFPA and fire crews from multiple agencies, industrial landowners and logging companies, worked non-stop Saturday night constructing hand and dozer lines in an effort to minimize fire spread.

 Containment lines along the north and west sides of the fire are holding. The fire is now being pushed by northwest winds to the south and east into steep, rugged terrain in the Table Creek drainage. High temperatures, low humidity and sustained northwest winds continue to challenge suppression efforts in that steep, roadless area.

ODF Incident Management Team 3 (Link Smith Incident Commander) has been in place since Sunday to assist the Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) and its cooperators. The incident command post is located at Camas Valley, eight miles southeast of the fire.

Resources are at a premium due to the many fires burning throughout the Pacific Northwest. Even so, the team is working diligently through the regional multi-agency coordination group to bring in additional firefighters, aircraft and equipment.

Conditions over the weekend prevented air tankers and large type 1 helicopters from flying. However, six Type-2 helicopters with 300-plus gallon water buckets moved over the fire in rotation, but could not keep up with the rapid spread of the fire.

To stay current on any changes in fire activity, follow the fire on social media at Facebook.com/horseprairiefire or on the national incident reporting site known as Inciweb.

 

 
 

Crews continue building firelines on Chetco Bar Fire

Total acres burned on this fire stand at 107,993 acres. Approximately 18,000 of those have been on lands protected by ODF through the Coos Forest Protective Association.

Sunday afternoon, helicopters dropped water to slow the fire, helping firefighters who were working to hold the fire within containment lines and build additional direct and indirect containment line. Firefighters and heavy equipment worked to connect existing roads and dozer lines south and west of the fire. Crews also continued to assess buffer zones around houses and clear brush as needed to protect homes. They have moved into the Pistol River and Winchuk areas.

Chetco Bar Fire August 20 2017
Above: A red glow lights the night sky
above the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County.
With 80 degree temperatures and 20 percent relative humidity, the fire burned actively overnight and crews worked spot fires on the west and south perimeter.

Today, firefighters will use an infrared heat-sensing device to locate, then suppress hot spots near the fire’s perimeter. As visibility and weather conditions allow, helicopters and aircraft will drop retardant and water to help slow the fire’s spread.

Due to very active fire behavior on the southwest side of the fire, Curry County Sheriff’s Office expanded and heightened evacuation levels for some residents. Evacuation information is online at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5385/.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

ODF dispatches Incident Management Team 3 to manage the Horse Prairie Fire in Douglas County

ODF's Incident Management Team 3 takes command at noon today of the Horse Prairie Fire, following briefings by the Douglas Forest Protective Association, which requested the team.
 
Above: Flames race through a stand of young trees over the
weekend at the Horse Prairie Fire. Photo by Kyle Reed, DFPA. 
 
The Horse Prairie Fire started Saturday afternoon 12 miles west of Riddle and eight miles southeast of Camas Valley, where the incident command post will be located. The fire's size is estimated at about 450 acres. The fire is burning on both private industrial forest lands and Bureau of Land Management forest lands, which including stands of young trees, second growth timber and logging slash.  No homes are currently threatened by the fire. 
Overnight, fire crews from multiple agencies, industrial landowners and logging companies worked on suppression efforts. Crews focused their efforts in creating fire trails around the perimeter of the fire, utilizing bull dozers and hand crews. As of Sunday morning, approximately three quarters of the fire has been trailed. In addition to the wildland fuels burned by the fire, several pieces of logging equipment in a nearby operation were destroyed by the Horse Prairie Fire.
 
Today, firefighters will work on creating fire trails around the southern edge of the fire, which is currently uncontained. Additional crews will work to improve and secure existing fire trails around the remaining portions of the fire. Fire resources assigned to the Horse Prairie Fire today include 173 firefighters, six water tenders, four bull dozers, one excavator, four type 2 helicopters and one type 3 helicopter.
 
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the area, due to the predicted hot, dry and unstable atmosphere conditions over the fire. These atmospheric conditions have the potential to influence fire growth on the Horse Prairie Fire or any new fire start.
 
Safety for both the public and firefighters remains the number one priority. Fire officials are asking the public to stay out of the fire area and be aware of the increase in fire traffic in the Tenmile and Camas Valley areas.

At Chetco Bar Fire, work continues on firelines, defensible space for structures


Yesterday aerial support was hindered by poor visibility from smoke over the Chetco Bar Fire, which has grown to 107,993 acres. Most active burning on the fire occurred on the north, with the smoke column reaching 20,000 feet in the Johnson Butte area.There was also active fire in the Tin Cup area and around the East Fork of the Pistol River. Firefighters built and improved both direct and indirect fireline, scouted for opportunities for alternate firelines and improved roads to be used as firelines. They continued with structure protection efforts, including installing and maintaining hoselays, thinning and pulling flammable materials back from homes and structures.

Today, structural protection work will continue. Crews will also keep strengthening and mopping up containment lines on the southwestern corner of the fire. To the north and south, crews are scouting for and building direct and indirect fireline using existing roads, sparsely vegetated ridgetops and previously burned areas.

A community fire briefing will be held tonight (Sunday) at 6 p.m. at the Brookings-Harbor High School, 625 Pioneer Road in Brookings.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

ODF Fire Protection Chief assesses Oregon's largest wildfire


ODF Fire Protection Division Chief Doug Grafe has been at the Chetco Bar Fire yesterday and today. The fire has burned 105,518 acres in Curry County, making it the largest wildfire in Oregon so far this year. Grafe met with Coos Forest Protective Association leaders, co-operators, forest landowners and incident managers. Below is his assessment of the fire, which is the largest wildfire so far this year in Oregon:
  • The past four days on the fire have been highly productive as firefighters have turned from life-safety tactics during last week's fire runs to aggressive fire suppression efforts. Direct attack efforts organized through the Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA) and forest landowners on the head of the fire have been highly effective at checking the spread of the fire toward coastal communities. We have established over 14 miles of dozer lines thus far. Structure task forces have held their ground protecting homes against another potential run from this fire. Dozers and hand crews are pushing into Forest Service ground on the north and east flanks, building fire line as tight as possible to the fire perimeter as we move into more broken and difficult terrain. There is very challenging firefighting ahead of us but our emergency response coordination at all levels is aligned very well.  Approximately 18,000 acres of ODF-protected lands through CFPA have burned on this fire, including private and Bureau of Land Management lands.
Chetco Bar has burned to within five miles of Brookings, whose residents have been put on a pre-evacuation notice. To date the fire has destroyed five homes, 20 outbuildings, and 13 vehicles. It has also damaged one home and eight outbuildings. No additional homes were reported destroyed or damaged Friday.

Highway 101 remains open but motorists are requested to avoid traveling the section north of the Brookings area if possible.

Hunters should check for fire restrictions and closures

Hunters heading into Oregon forestlands should be aware that August and September are periods of high fire danger in most of the state. Large numbers of wildfires are currently burning in many parts of Oregon. Before heading out, hunters should check to see if any of these wildfires have caused road or area closures. Even if roads to a favorite hunting spot are not closed, there could be increased traffic due to firefighting vehicles coming and going.
 
Most public lands will be open to hunters during fire season, although restrictions designed to prevent wildfires are in effect in most places (see the most common ones below).

Private landowners may close their properties to all access or have restrictions (such as no camping).

Here are some helpful places to find information about fire restrictions and access conditions:
  • Oregon Department of Forestry Click on any area in the map to see a list of fire restrictions in areas protected by ODF. Click within public lands areas to find out the land manager and contact info.

Here are some of the most common fire restrictions:
  • Campfires are either prohibited or only allowed in approved campgrounds in many areas.
  • Smoking and off-road driving is also prohibited in most areas, which includes motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.
  • Vehicles must have either a gallon of water or a fully charged and operational 2½-pound fire extinguisher and shovel (except when traveling on state highways or county roads).
  • ATVs must have a charged and operational 2½-pound fire extinguisher.
Above: Hunters can help protect wildlife from
catastrophic wildfires by following fire restrictions
More about access to private land during fire season
Landowners have the right to close their lands during fire seasons. These landowners typically pull even their own logging contractors and workers (off their property when fire danger reaches a certain level. Their first obligation is to protect their property from a devastating wildfire.

Hunters can help keep landowners willing to open their lands to hunting by taking good care of the private property they use to hunt. Respect gate closures and travel restrictions, don’t litter and leave no trace.

For more information about hunting and access to private and public lands, see the website of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Landowners play important role in helping fight wildfires

Landowners are important allies in helping stop or slow the spread of wildfire. Many examples could be cited. A recent one is from the Jones Fire in Lane County, where Weyerhaeuser Company resources played an important part in Oregon's complete and coordinated system of fire protection.



Above: The Jones Fire in Lane County
 is one of several burning on a national forest this summer 
where private landowners and ODF
have partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and others  
to protect local timber assets
 and the future economic benefits they represent.
The Jones Fire was started by lightning on the Willamette National Forest. The blaze has blackened 5,530 acres of steep, heavily timbered terrain about 10 miles east of the community of Lowell. The fire threatens private residences, recreational infrastructure, federal forestland and valuable industrial timberlands.

The Oregon Department of Forestry is engaged in battling the Jones Fire alongside the Willamette National Forest under the coordination of the Northwest Incident Management Team # 10. ODF has provided several personnel to support the incident management team and its operations.

On Aug. 11, 2017 the Jones Fire grew rapidly by over 800 acres, pushing into the sky a towering column of smoke. Weyerhaeuser quickly mobilized several local firefighting resources to work directly with the incident management team. The local resources provided important capacity to immediately support the firefighting operations.

Weyerhaeuser's forestland lies just a quarter-mile from the primary northern containment line for the Jones Fire. For several days, fire crews have been preparing a strategic firing operation nearby on lands of the Willamette National Forest. To complement those efforts, Weyerhaeuser and personnel from ODF developed a contingency containment line on Weyerhaeuser's land using roads and ridgelines. Weyerhaeuser put a dozer, two excavators and a feller-buncher to work removing roadside vegetation along the contingency line.

The cooperation on the Jones Fire allows for high-value timber stands and their future economic benefits to be protected. It highlights the importance of the "all-lands, all-hands" approach taken by ODF, Willamette National Forest, Northwest Incident Management Team # 10 and Weyerhaeuser. It is a partnership model that aims to prevent losses to forestland by helping stop the spread of wildfires, regardless of their origin.

 

Drones intrude into restricted airspace over Miller Complex wildfire

An unauthorized incursion by two non-mechanized gliders occurred over the Miller Complex on August 19That group of wildfires is burning 17 miles east of Cave Junction in southern Oregon. The drones intruded into an area where aircraft were assisting with firefighting operations. This caused fire mangers to ground all the aircraft for 45 minutes due to safety concerns.

Unauthorized flights by drones, hang-gliders or other types of aircraft over or near any wildfire could cause serious injury or death from collision with firefighting planes and helicopters, or to firefighters on the ground.

A Federal Aviation Administration Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect over the Miller Complex. For more information on restrictions on drones at wildfires, visit the FAA’s website.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Oregon and the nation focus on helping fight the Chetco Bar Fire

About 125 Oregon National Guard members, along with support personnel, are scheduled to be activated today to support the Chetco Bar Fire. Gov. Kate Brown announced the mobilization yesterday.
 

Above: Steep terrain has made the Chetco Bar Fire
in southwest Oregon difficult for firefighters.
Moderate weather yesterday and today
 has helped slow the fire's spread after it grew
 to just under 100,000 acres earlier in the week.
Guard members are expected to complete training and be supporting first responders at the Chetco Bar fire within a week. The activation brings to about 400 the number of Oregon National Guard members supporting firefighting efforts in the state. 

The Chetco Bar fire has so far destroyed five homes, 20 outbuildings, and 13 vehicles. It has damaged one home and eight outbuildings.
 

Located in Curry County, the Chetco Bar Fire has become the highest priority fire in the United States. More than 1,100 personnel from multiple agencies are now assigned to the fire, which is reported at 99,944 acres in size. 

There was reduced potential for fire spread yesterday and this morning thanks to higher relative humidity and decreased winds. Forecasts call for an increase in warm, dry winds from the northeast tonight through Saturday (these are locally known as "Chetco Wind").

Last weekend, strong winds drove the fire south onto land protected by the Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA). Several thousand acres of protected timber have been affected.
 
Significant progress has been made building direct fire line. This is continuing to progress north on the western flank and beginning to head east on the southern flank. There is also some indirect fireline to stop the spread of the fire. This work is focused primarily on private and Bureau of Land Management ground on the southwest corner of the fire where mandatory evacuations are in place.
 
Evacuation notices have affected 2,367 people, with 56 people in temporary shelters. The Red Cross has set up a shelter for evacuees at Riley Creek Elementary School in Gold Beach and there is a temporary shelter at the Tolowa Tribe Reservation at Smith River across the border in Northern California. While Highway 101 remains open, motorists are requested to avoid traveling the section north of the Brookings area if possible. The fire has reached as close as six miles from Brookings.
A Unified Command has been set up that includes Coos Forest Protective Association. A Type One Incident Management Team takes over command of the fire today. Deputy State Forester Nancy Hirsch is being joined at the incident command post by Fire Protection Division Chief Doug Grafe today. Numerous other personnel from ODF and Coos Forest Protective Association are also engaged on the fire.

Monday ODF sent two strike teams of engines that had come from Washington State to provide extra help during the eclipse. Two Oregon Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopters have also been redeployed from the Whitewater Fire in the Cascades to the Chetco Bar Fire, bringing to six the number of helicopters working on the fire. However, heavy smoke has been limiting aerial attack on the fire.
 
As of this morning there were 56 wildland fire engines, 51 structural fire engines, 18 water tenders, 16 dozers and 25 hand crews engaged on the fire.
 
Lightning started the fire back on July 12 in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse passes over Oregon with minimal impact on wildfire efforts


Months of planning for the great solar eclipse on Aug. 21 appear to have paid off. Minimal impacts on wildfire efforts were reported yesterday. Considering the influx of visitors during peak fire season, the day of the eclipse saw fewer than 10 new fires statewide across all jurisdictions. Those fires reportedly 
Above: Firefighters from ODF's Dallas office in Polk County
 watch the sky during the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.
burned only about four acres. For the entire four-day eclipse period (Friday-Monday), new human-caused wildfire starts were down by nearly half. At Oregon State Parks, there were zero human-caused fires despite a heavy influx of campers.


Close cooperation between state agencies leading up to the eclipse helped spread widely messages about the importance of preventing wildfire. The Oregon Department of Transportation highway message boards alerted arriving visitors and residents alike to the extreme wildfire danger. Keep Oregon Green also peppered the state with similar messages on everything from billboards to restaurant placemats. 

ODF brought in additional ground and aerial resources from out of state under the Northwest Compact. After briefings they were deployed in the path of totality where fire danger was high to extreme and travel times uncertain. Some engaged with local ODF districts in helping on existing large fires that threatened ODF-protected lands.

Today, resources are being repositioned in light of the state's current fire picture. There are nine large uncontained fires currently burning in Oregon. The greatest in area is the Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County. The fire has continued to grow from its explosive expansion over the weekend, reaching an estimated 98,000 acres as of this morning.
Strong winds had been pushing the fire south, driving it onto land protected by the Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA). Several thousand acres of protected timber have been affected.

Level 3 evacuations have uprooted more than 3,000 people. The Red Cross has set up a shelter for evacuees at Riley Creek Elementary School in Gold Beach. While Highway 101 remains open, motorists are requested to avoid traveling the section north of the Brookings area if possible. The fire has reached as close as six miles from Brookings, where smoke is affecting air quality.

Dry air mass, lower relative humidity and north/northeast winds continue to present heightened potential for rapid fire growth. Forecast weather points to continued fire growth to the southwest and south, which will threaten several high-value resources.
A Type One Incident Management Team will take over command of the fire tomorrow. Deputy State Forester Nancy Hirsch is already at the incident command post along with other personnel from ODF and Coos Forest Protective Association. ODF yesterday sent to the fire two strike teams of engines that had come from Washington State to provide extra help during the eclipse. Two Oregon Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopters are also being redeployed from the Whitewater Fire in the Cascades to the Chetco Bar Fire.
Total personnel on the scene from all agencies now stands at over 360.

The fire was started by lightning July 12 on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
New wildfires on ODF-protected land  

Prompt initial attack stopped a flurry of new fires in Douglas County on Monday. Firefighters from Douglas Forest Protective Association responded to four fires over the course of the day. They kept the largest - a vehicle fire along I-5 that spread up a steep hillside - from advancing beyond 1.5 acres. The others were kept to a tenth of an acre or less.

Updates on other existing Oregon wildfires

ODF has personnel engaged on all these fires. Their primary mission is to help coordinate and ensure the protection of ODF-protected lands.

Milli Fire - Deschutes National Forest
This fire just outside Sisters is reported as 11,236 acres this morning, a growth of 1,905 acres. The fire is 23 percent contained. The main part of the fire is moving into the Three Sisters Wilderness to the west and south.

Protecting structures remains a high priority. Level Three evacuation orders remain for the Edgington and Crossroads subdivisions and isolated structures south of Sisters. The Tollgate subdivision is under a Level One evacuation notice. Closures of roads and recreation areas remain in place.
Unified Command has been established with the Oregon State Fire Marshall's Green team. More than 640 personnel are reported engaged in fighting the fire. ODF, Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office, and Oregon Department of Transportation are cooperating to manage the fire.

Falcon Complex - Umpqua National Forest
This group of fires burning in timber roughly 17 miles north of Prospect in southern Oregon has grown to 3,100 acres. It is reported at 18 percent containment. About 570 personnel are assigned to the fire. Structures and private land are threatened.

High Cascades Complex - in and around Crater Lake National Park
Road, trail and area closures are still in place on this group of fires, which has grown to 12,163 acres. About 450 personnel are assigned to the fire, including over 100 Oregon National Guard members.

Jones Fire - Willamette National Forest
This fire is now reported at 15 percent contained. The fire size is 5,354 acres. More than 600 personnel are assigned to the fire. It is located east of Springfield and about 10 mile northeast of the town of Lowell.

Miller Complex - Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
This group of fires has grown to 9,707 acres this morning. The Abney, Burnt Peak, Creedence, and Seattle fires are expected to remain active and spread as roll-out and associated uphill runs aid fire growth The Complex is burning in timber southwest Jackson County near the California border.

Nena Springs - Warm Springs reservation
Evacuation notices for this fire have been lifted. This fire is listed at 68,135 acres and 60 percent contained. Firefighters are extinguishing hot spots within the fire to prevent escape. The fire is now believed to have been human caused.

North Pelican - Fremont-Winema National Forest
Located about 28 miles northwest of Klamath Falls, this lightning-caused fire has been burning since Aug. 10. The fire, burning in timber, has grown moderately to 1,200 acres. It is also reported to be threatening structures. 

Staley Fire - Willamette National Forest
This lightning-caused fire 23 miles south of Oakridge is reported to have grown to 864 acres. It is burning just a few miles from ODF-protected land and is reported as 6 percent contained. More than 350 personnel are assigned to the fire.

Umpqua North Complex - Umpqua National Forest 
This fire is now reported at 11,680 acres. The largest fire within the complex is the Happy Dog Fire. In places, bearded lichen on trees are catching fire and becoming airborne, spreading the fire. ODF and the Douglas Forest Protective Association are part of a Unified Command formed in response to the fire. Campground and area closures are in effect and evacuations are in place. The immediate focus is on structure protection and securing firelines around developed areas.

Whitewater Fire - Willamette National Forest / ODF North Cascade District
This fire is still listed at 8,419 acres this morning. Burnout operations have been conducted to remove vegetation between this fire and control lines, helping keep the fire from spreading into private forestland. Two Oregon Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopters are being redeployed from this fire to help with the Chetco Bar Fire in southwest Oregon.

 

 

Chetco Bar Fire briefing in Brookings draws hundreds

Above: People jam a middle-school gym in Brookings yesterday to hear the latest information about the Chetco Bar Fire. The fire in Curry County has become the largest in Oregon so far this year. The fire is affecting lands protected by the Coos Forest Protective Association and has forced evacuations and closed roads and trails. ODF has dispatched resources to the fire, including two strike teams of engines.

Monday, August 21, 2017

ODF engaged in Chetco Bar and other large existing fires across Oregon


Over the weekend several existing fires in Oregon grew, prompting ODF to increase its engagement. The Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County has now become the largest wildfire in Oregon at more than 91,000 acres as mapped by infrared flight last night. The fire has grown a third larger since yesterday morning. Strong north winds have been pushing the fire south, driving it onto land protected by the Coos Forest Protective Association (CFPA).

The fire is burning in timber and brush. It has been exhibiting extreme behavior with long-range spotting, prompting Level 3 evacuations and closure of roads and trails. The Red Cross has set up a shelter for evacuees at Riley Creek Elementary School in Gold Beach. There is a community meeting planned for 6 p.m. today at Azalea Middle School in Brookings. While Highway 101 remains open, motorists are requested to avoid traveling the section north of the Brookings area if possible. Significant smoke is affecting air quality this weekend in Brookings. For the latest information on the Chetco Bar Fire, including evacuation details, the public should call 2-1-1.
 
Gov. Brown yesterday invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act to allow for the mobilization of additional resources. One resource being redeployed today to the Chetco Bar Fire are two Oregon Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopters. The helicopters had been engaged on the Whitewater Fire. ODF has also sent two strike teams of engines to help.
 
A Unified Command has been set up. ODF has sent personnel, including Deputy State Forester Nancy Hirsch, to assist.  
 
The fire was started by lightning July 12 on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
  
ODF is fully engaged on wildfires
ODF is fully engaged on wildfires across the state, conducting those operations safely, efficiently and effectively. As was done in the busy wildfire years of 2013-15, to sustain our operations ODF has again mobilized resources from the national system and our Canadian partners.
  
ODF is integrated with Oregon's Office of Emergency Management to manage demands resulting from the solar eclipse. The influx of visitors coincides with the state's peak fire season.
 
New wildfires on ODF-protected land  

Lack of lightning helped make for few new fire starts statewide as of this morning. So far this summer, ODF's emphasis on putting out fires as early as possible on lands we protect has helped keep acres burned on those lands far below the 10-year average for this date of 48 acres per fire. This year's average so far is just above five acres per fire.

 Updates on other existing Oregon wildfires
 
Milli Fire - Deschutes National Forest
This fire just outside Sisters is reported this morning as 20 percent contained. The main part of the fire is moving into the Three Sisters Wilderness to the west and south. Information posted by the incident shows it at 10,496 acres.
 
Protecting structures remains a high priority. Level Three evacuation orders remain for the Edgington and Crossroads subdivisions and isolated structures south of Sisters. The Tollgate subdivision is under a Level One evacuation notice. Closures of roads and recreation areas remain in place.
 
Unified Command has been established with the Oregon State Fire Marshall's Green team. More than 640 personnel are reported engaged in fighting the fire. ODF, Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office, and Oregon Department of Transportation are cooperating to manage the fire.
 
Falcon Complex -
This group of fires burning in timber roughly 17 miles north of Prospect in southern Oregon is now reported at 2,500 acres and still at 17 percent containment. Structures and private land are threatened.
 
High Cascades Complex - in and around Crater Lake National Park
Over a hundred Oregon National Guard members are still assisting this week at this group of fires west and south of Crater Lake National Park. The fires are reported at 11,246 acres and 68 percent contained. Road, trail and area closures are in place.
 
Jones Fire - Willamette National Forest
Continued growth on this lightning-cased fire, which is now sized at 5,354 acres. It is reported as 10 percent contained. Active fire behavior continues, with spotting and short crown runs. Structures and commercial timber are threatened. There have been area closures and campground evacuations. The fire is east of Springfield and about 10 mile northeast of the town of Lowell.
 
Miller Complex - Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
This group of fires has grown by about 2,500 acres to 7,874 acres this morning. Burning in timber, this is an increase of 634 acres. The Complex is burning in timber southwest Jackson County near the California border.

Nena Springs - Warm Springs reservation 
This fire is still reported at 68,135 acres. It is reported as 60 percent contained. The fire is now believed to have been human caused.
 
North Pelican - Fremont-Winema National Forest
Located about 28 miles northwest of Klamath Falls, this lightning-caused fire has been burning since Aug. 10. Reported at 1,100 acres, the fire is burning in timber. It is also reported to be threatening structurs. 
 
Staley Fire - Willamette National Forest  
This fire 23 miles south of Oakridge is reported to have grown to 831 acres. It is burning just a few miles from ODF-protected land. ODF is engaging with the Incident Management Team managing the fire.
 
Umpqua North Complext - Umpqua National Forest

This fire is now reported at 10,793 acres. The largest fire within the complex is the Happy Dog Fire at 5,208 acres. ODF and the Douglas Forest Protective Association are part of a Unified Command formed in response to the fire. Campground and area closures are in effect and evacuations are in place. The immediate focus is on structure protection and securing firelines around developed areas.

Whitewater Fire - Willamette National Forest / ODF North Cascade District
This fire has grown by 820 acres and is now sized at 8,419 acres. Burnout operations have been conducted to remove vegetation between this fire and control lines, helping keep the fire from spreading into private forestland. Two Oregon Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopters are being redeployed from this fire to help with the Chetco Bar Fire in southwest Oregon.
 
Fire conditions forecast
Sunny skies this morning made for perfect eclipse viewing in much of Oregon inland from the coast. That same dry, sunny weather, however, has dried out fuels, making them ignite easily.
 
Lightning is anticipated for south-central Oregon Tuesday, increasing the risk of new fire starts. Lightning is expected to spread more widely to central and eastern Oregon on Wednesday. Fire restrictions and closures remain in effect. To find those for ODF-protected lands, go to http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx 




 

Comments and questions

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, in the summer of 2017 a series of heatwaves and a prolonged stretch of dry weather created conditions that dried forest fuels, allowing fires to start and spread. The result was more than a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.Ninety-five percent of these were put out at less than 10 acres.






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. 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.





Followers

About Me

My photo
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.