Conditions warming and drying Oregon
After a recent few days of cool-down, along with some rains, conditions across much of Oregon will be dry and warming, with lower relative humidities and winds in some areas. Changing conditions and continued scarce firefighting resources will contribute to increased levels of fire danger this upcoming week. Therefore, the message for Oregonians continues to be please do everything possible to prevent human-caused wildfires, including following fire restrictions when out in Oregon forestlands. To find the restrictions on ODF-protected lands, go to http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.
New wildfires on ODF-protected forestlands
Newsome Creek Fire (Central Oregon District): The Newsome Creek Fire was reported just before 4 p.m. Saturday, September 9, burning on private lands, in juniper, grass, and sagebrush, approximately 23 miles southeast of Prineville near the Maury Mountains. Resources from ODF, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Post-Paulina Rangeland Fire Protection Association, and local landowners responded and were able stop the fire’s spread by late evening using air resources, dozers, and fire engines. Overnight, dozers completed a containment line around the fire, and firefighters began work to cool hot spots adjacent to the line. Today, the fire is being managed by a local (Type 3) organization comprised of engines, hand crews, and a skidgene, and firefighters are strengthening containment lines and beginning mop-up on the interior of the fire. The fire was mapped at 103 acres. Unless the situation changes, this will be the only report on the Newsome Creek Fire.
The Newsome Creek Fire is a holdover fire from passing thunderstorms late last week. Recent cooler temperatures, higher humidity, and precipitation from the thunderstorms provided an opportunity for firefighters to catch this fire. Several other holdover fires from these thunderstorms were contained over the last few days at under an acre. As the weather becomes warmer and drier over the next few days, fire managers anticipate detecting additional holdover fires which have been creeping and smoldering in cooler temperatures from the past few days.
Updates on existing Oregon wildfires
Nationwide, close to 8 million acres have burned in wildfires so far this year. About a fourth of those acres have been in Oregon, where some 525,662 acres had burned as of September 3. Of those, an estimated 38,000 acres have been lands protected by ODF – about 7 percent of the total.
ODF has personnel engaged in or closely monitoring many fires on lands not protected by ODF. Their primary mission is to help coordinate and ensure the protection of nearby ODF-protected lands.
For photos and more information on wildfires and wildfire readiness, please go to the department's wildfire blog at http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/.
Eagle Creek Fire – Columbia River Gorge
This fire, located approximately 2 miles south of Cascade Locks, started on September 2, and today remains at 33,382 acres and 7 percent contained. Approximately 969 personnel are engaged on this fire, the cause of which remains under investigation. Yesterday, firefighters continued to close off the western end of the fire by strengthening line with burn-outs. Much of the southwest side, difficult to reach because of steep, rugged conditions, burned back on itself throughout the day. There was very little smoke detected by aerial resources in the critical area north of the Bull Run Watershed, and the fire continued backing slowly down around the basins on the southeast fire perimeter. Scouting is underway on the southeast and eastern flanks to tie a series of roads and trails together that will create a barrier to the fire’s eastern progression without putting firefighters in jeopardy through direct attack in that area’s hazardous conditions. The most active part of the fire yesterday was near Herman Creek (on the northeast side), however, the fire has not yet crossed that creek. Two community meetings will be held on Monday, September 11: 6 p.m., Edgefield Amphitheater, 2126 Halsey Street, Troutdale, and 7:00 p.m., Marine Park Pavilion, Cascade Locks.
Chetco Bar Fire - Curry and Josephine counties
This lightning-caused fire, located about 5 miles east of Brookings, started on July 12. Today, the fire is 182,284 acres (an increase of 4,591 acres) and 5 percent contained. About 20,000 of those acres are lands protected by ODF through the Coos Forest Protective Association. More than 1,400 personnel are engaged on this fire, which is operating under Unified Command, and now also organized with Interagency Incident Management Teams assigned to both the east and west sides. Today, fire crews are constructing direct line and mop-up operations, and air operations are supporting ground and air personnel, as well as conducting reconnaissance and infrared mapping. There will be a community meeting regarding the east side of this fire at 6 p.m. tonight, Sunday, September 10, at the Illinois Valley High School in Cave Junction.
High Cascades Complex - in and around Crater Lake National Park
This complex of fires started on July 25 (lightning), and is reported today at 70,655 acres (for an overall increase from yesterday of 3,689 acres), with containment remaining at 21 percent. Organizationally, yesterday this complex (which includes the Spruce Lake, Blanket Creek, Broken Lookout, Pup, and North Pelican fires) was divided into east and west zones, with an Interagency Incident Management Team assigned to each zone. Spruce Lake, Blanket Creek, North Pelican fires. More than 750 people are engaged on these fires. Road, trail and area closures remain in effect. *Note: Management of the North Pelican Fire was transferred yesterday to be under the command of this complex and that fire’s acreage is now included in the complex total acres.*
Horse Creek Complex - Willamette National Forest
This complex of fires, located southeast of McKenzie Bridge, started on August 21 (lightning). The combined area of the complex is 29,223 acres (for an overall increase from yesterday of 66 acres) and it remains uncontained. More than 230 personnel are engaged on the fires in this complex, which includes the Avenue, Roney, Separation, Nash, and Olallie Lookout fires, mainly located within the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. Road, trail, and area closures remain in place.
Horse Prairie Fire - Douglas Forest Protective Association
This fire is located about 15 miles northwest of Canyonville. There was no growth on the fire yesterday, which remains at 16,436 acres and containment is now at 40 percent. The fire’s cause remains under investigation. ODF's Incident Management Team 1 assumed command yesterday from ODF IMT 3, and today firefighters are continuing mop-up and rehabilitation activities. There are approximately 776 personnel engaged on this fire. A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, September 12 in the Riddle Community Hall, 123 Parkside Street, Riddle.
Jones Fire - Willamette National Forest
This fire, located east of Springfield and about 10 miles northeast of Lowell, started (lightning) on August 10. No changes have been reported to this fire's acreage of 8,536 acres or containment of 48 percent.
Miller Complex - Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
This complex of fires, located about 17 miles east of Cave Junction, started on August 14 (lightning). The combined area of the complex is about 34,088 acres (for an overall increase from yesterday of 152 acres) and it remains 33 percent contained. The fires are burning in steep, timbered terrain in southwest Jackson County/northern California, and includes the Creedence, Bigelow, Burnt Peak, and Abney fires. ODF continues to actively engage on this complex to keep these fires from spreading to lands protected by ODF. About 580 personnel are engaged with these fires. Evacuations and area, road, and trail closures are in place.
Milli Fire - Deschutes National Forest
This lightning-caused fire, located about 9 miles west of Sisters, started on August 11. The fire remains at about 24,025 acres today and 60 percent contained. About 59 personnel are still engaged on this fire. There may be some increase in acreage over the upcoming week as the fire continues to burn into locations where it will naturally extinguish; indirect attack/helicopter bucket drops will be used as needed if it burns into other areas. Area closures, while recently reduced, are still in effect.
Rebel - Willamette National Forest
This group of fires, started on August 4, are burning primarily in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, about 13 miles south of McKenzie Bridge. The combined size of the three fires in this group – Rebel, Pete and Box Canyon – is 7,784 acres (an increase over yesterday of 7 acres) and there are approximately 55 personnel engaged. The cause of these fires remains under investigation. Road, trail, and area closures, and evacuations are still in effect.
Umpqua North Complex - Umpqua National Forest
This complex of fires, located along Highway 58 about 50 miles east of Roseburg, started (lightning) on August 11. This complex is now 39,529 acres (an increase from yesterday of 81 acres) and containment remains at 36 percent. The complex is currently comprised of nine active fires including the Fall Creek, Happy Dog, Rattlesnake, Devil, Brokentooth, and Ragged Ridge fires. More than 880 personnel are engaged on these fires.
Whitewater Fire - Willamette National Forest
This group of fires, started on July 23 (lightning), are burning primarily in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area about 15 miles east of Detroit. The combined size of these fires (Whitewater, Little Devil, Scorpion, and Potato Hill) is now approximately 1,339 acres (an overall increase from yesterday of about 200 acres), with containment remaining at 33 percent and most of the fire perimeters remaining essentially unchanged today. Approximately 299 personnel are engaged on these fires. Road, trail, and area closures remain in effect. On the Whitewater Fire, sprinkler systems have been installed to suppress a small slop-over outside of the wilderness area, in Cheat Creek, to protect private timber lands.