Current situation

Check with your local district or forest protection association for restrictions or use ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Continued progress being made on Garner Complex

Above: Smoke obscures the sky
above fire personnel tents in the Garner Complex
incident command post in Merlin, Ore.
 
The north, east and west sides of the Garner Complex are holding well according to the ODF Incident Management Team in command of the fire. The south side of the fire was the last place where control lines were built so has more heat close to those lines. Remaining fire crews are methodically mopping up and ensuring that heat sources are cooled well inside the fire perimeter. Plans are already in the works for suppression repair work. A significant number of personnel, fire engines, water tenders and aircraft have moved to more active wildfires.
 
With the Taylor Creek Fire now being managed by an interagency team, the size of the Complex is stable at 8,886 acres.

Air quality in many parts of Josephine, Jackson, Klamath and Lake counties remains unhealthy for sensitive groups to unhealthy for anyone. Statewide air quality results can be seen at https://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Ignition date: July15, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Personnel: 1,872
Containment: 65%
 
South Umpqua Complex - southern Douglas and northern Jackson counties

ODF, Douglas Forest Protective Association, the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are sharing helicopters, crews, camps, strategies, and radio frequencies in order to more effectively and efficiently suppress fires in the South Umpqua Complex.
 
Ignition date: July 15, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Acres burned: 14,196
Containment: 16%
Personnel: 1,281
 
Fires in the Complex include:

Miles Fire  - crews will continue to hold and improve control lines on and near the 1610 road along the north side of the fire. Mop up and snag mitigation will continue. Snags in the fire area and along the roads are significant safety hazards. Many of the snags are left from the Timbered Rock Fire of 2002. Firing operations will be used where needed as weather permits. There has been active fire toward the southeast with spotting up to a half mile east toward Gobblers Knob.

Snowshoe Fire - personnel continue hose lays into areas that are inaccessible by fire engines and are mopping up within 200 to 300 feet from the outer edge. On the north side, crews are chipping larger piles of brush that were created during fireline construction. Equipment is being back hauled and repositioned for reuse.
Columbus Fire -mop-up continues along the western edge while preparation and burnout operations will be underway along the north side. Crews will continue to prep and improve lines on the south side. On the northern edge a slop over was secured and no more spots were detected outside the line.
Other recent wildfires

Klondike Fire - Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
 
A community meeting is being held tonight at 6 p.m. in Selma at the Selma Center to inform residents about this fire. Burning primarily in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, this lightning-caused fire is now sized at 17,987 acres and is only 5% contained. Fire crews are patrolling control lines on the fire's east side and looking to keep spot fires from establishing across the Illinois River. Structures are threatened and evacuations are in effect, with some road and area closures.


Ignition date: July 15, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Personnel: 403
Containment: 5%
Containment on Long Hollow Fire reaches 95%
 
There is minimal fire behavior and no new growth on the Long Hollow Fire. The fire scorched 33,451, acres in Wasco and Sherman counties in north-central Oregon before it was stopped. Long Hollow is not far from the Boxcar and Substation wildfires. Together, these three have burned over 200,000 acres in north-central Oregon, making that part of the state one of the hardest hit by wildfire so far this year. Almost none of the land burned was protected by ODF.

Fire restrictions reflect high to extreme fire danger
 
Find the latest fire danger levels and restrictions at ODF's Fire Restrictions and Closures web page at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/PFR.html

Monday, July 30, 2018

Oregon raises fire preparedness to its highest level

Amid intense fire activity and demand for firefighting resources, Oregon's fire preparedness level has been raised to its highest level - 5. This matches the national level, which was raised last week. Oregon continues to be one of the states most affected by wildfires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Of 98 large active wildfires nationwide, the Center reports 16 are burning in Oregon, more than in any other state.
 

Left: Gov. Kate Brown thanks members of the Oregon National Guard during a visit to the Garner Complex last week. More Oregon National Guard members are being trained in wildland firefighting in Salem this week. They will be available after training to fill support roles, freeing firefighters for initial attack and direct suppression.

ODF turns over management of Taylor Creek Fire to federal team
 
ODF's Incident Management Team 2 has been managing fires in the Garner Complex in southern Oregon since mid-July. Today the team turned over management of the largest fire in the Complex - the 22,774-acre Taylor Creek Fire - to a federal incident management team. The fire's westward spread is taking it deeper into the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. ODF will continue to be engaged in suppression efforts, particularly on the east and north flanks where the fire has encroached on lands protected by ODF.
 
Having finished a 14-day duty rotation, ODF IMT 2 also turned over the remaining fires in the Garner Complex to ODF IMT 1 led by Joe Hessel. Those fires include Pleasant Creek, Grave Creek, King Mountain and Spencer Creek fires. These showed no growth over the weekend and remain at 8,886 acres and are now 60% contained, with mop up proceeding in many areas.  

Oregon's largest wildfire is now 58% contained
 
Containment on Oregon's largest wildfire - the Long Hollow Fire - has reached 58%. There was only modest growth in the past 24 hours, with the fire now sized at 34,550 acres.
The fire is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and private land not protected by ODF. It started about 5 miles south of Dufur.
 
Other recent wildfires with ODF engagement
 
 
Klondike Fire - Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
Above: The Klondike Fire is burning
in sections of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness close to
burn scars from other large old fires.
 
This wildfire in western Josephine County has burned 15,915 acres since it was started by lightning two weeks ago. The fire is being managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Much of it is burning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area. Among the more than 400 personnel fighting the fire are ODF units, who yesterday worked to stem possible spread to private timberlands. Evacuation notices are in place. Visit Josephine County Emergency Management on Facebook for current information. A community meeting is being held Tuesday night, July 31 at the Selma Center in Selma.
Ignition date: July 15, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Containment: 5%
 
Snowshoe and Miles Fires (South Umpqua Complex) - Jackson County
ODF is engaged on these two lightning-sparked fires within the South Umpqua Complex.  Some of the Snowshoe Fire is largely in mop up today with no reported spread. About a third of the fire's footprint was on land protected by ODF - some 1,285 acres out of a total fire size of 3,815 acres.
Hot temperatures and dry fuel continue to hamper suppression efforts on the 3,754-acre Miles Fire. If smoke allows, air resources will be used to slow spread on private land and structures. Where possible, direct suppression or building or using roads or other natural features for indirect control are planned. Burnouts will also be used to reduce fuels between containment lines and the main fire. There is some concern the Miles Fire could burn eastward to join the Sugar Pine Fire.

Wilson Prairie Fire - Central Oregon District

Containment is now 60% on this fire in southwest Morrow County in eastern Oregon, with no change in acreage.

Ignition date: July 23, 2018
Acres burned: 437 - about 120 protected by ODF
Cause: Under investigation

Public asked to heed fire restrictions

Find the latest fire danger levels and restrictions at ODF's Fire Restrictions and Closures web page at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/PFR.html
 

 


 
 



 

 


 















 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Fire Update for Sunday, July 29, 2018


West Coast fires grow as hot, dry weather continues



As another severe wildfire season continues with no end in sight, Oregon has 16 active, large wildfires on the landscape, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. Several other states - in particular California - also face challenging fires and conditions.


Hot, dry weather is offering no relief as fires in southwest and central Oregon saw significant activity in the past 24 hours.

The state's largest is currently the Long Hollow Fire, which nearly doubled in size in the past 24 hours to 34,478 acres at 27% containment.The fire is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and private land not protected by ODF. It started about 5 miles south of Dufur.

At 31,660 acres, the Garner Complex remains the largest incident managed by ODF, in unified command with the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office and the U.S. Forest Service. Containment is at 30% overall; however, the largest fire within the complex (Taylor Creek) is only 8% contained and at 22,774 acres. This fire will shortly be separated from the Garner Complex and managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Meanwhile, our neighbors in California are experiencing extremely challenging and tragic conditions due to the Carr Fire in the Redding area. It has grown to 89,000 acres and is only 5% contained. Five people have died in the fire so far - three civilians and two firefighters. Similar to Oregon, weather conditions continue to be hot, dry and generally unforgiving.

Nationally there are 90 large, active wildfires that have burned nearly 1,000,000 acres as of Sunday morning.

Garner Complex at 31,660 acres, driven by growth in Taylor Creek fire

As mentioned above, the Taylor Creek Fire is only 8% contained and 22,774 acres even as containment grows on the Garner Complex overall (30%).

Smoke from the Klondike Fire cast shade over the Taylor Creek Fire on Saturday, providing some relief from high temperatures and lowering the active fire behavior. The Klondike Fire is burning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness about 9 miles southwest of the Taylor Creek Fire.

Firefighters were able to hold and strengthen all Taylor Creek Fire lines for the first time in several days. The weather trend will continue today, which means hot and dry conditions could stimulate the fire. However, smoke from the Klondike might provide some relief again today. Conditions remain difficult for firefighters because of steep topography coupled with the weather conditions.

On the Grave Creek Fire, on the east side of the complex, structure protection and mop-up work continues.

The Josephine County Sheriff's Office continues to adjust evacuation orders. Mandatory evacuations (Level 3-GO!) have expanded. More than 1,000 people are now subject to the evacuation orders.

Management of the Garner Complex will be changing on Monday. The ODF Incident Management Team (IMT) 2 is transitioning management of the fire to two incoming teams. The Taylor Creek Fire will be separated from the complex and designated as a separately managed fire. The Garner Complex will comprise the Grave Creek Fire and the Pleasant Creek, Spencer Creek and King Mountain Fires.

More than 2,680 personnel are engaged on the Complex, including 83 hand crews. Some 125 engines are assigned to the fire, along with 39 water tenders, 28 dozers, 7 other heavy equipment and 26 aircraft.

Other recent ODF wildfires

Snowshoe and Miles Fires (South Umpqua Complex) - Jackson County

Today the Snowshoe Fire's size was put at 3,746 acres. It is in active mop-up, with reported low likelihood of spread.

However, the Miles Fire - which includes some areas protected by ODF - saw more growth, and is now up to 1,990 acres. Although the dry slot that caused a significant increase in fire behavior and spread late yesterday afternoon has passed, hot temperatures and dry fuel continue to hamper suppression efforts. 

Ignition date: July 15, 2018
Cause: Lightning

Wilson Prairie Fire - Central Oregon District
This fire in southwest Morrow County in eastern Oregon started on land protected by ODF and spread onto the Umatilla National Forest. No acreage changes in the past 24 hours. Containment at 50%.

Ignition date: July 23, 2018
Acres burned: 437 - about 120 of it protected by ODF
Cause: Under investigation

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Fire Update for Saturday, July 28, 2018

A Type 1 helicopter working on the Garner Complex uses a snorkel to reload from a nearby body of water.

Garner Complex grows to 29,039 acres, 27% containment as weather offers no relief

Volatile, erratic fire activity continues, particularly on the Taylor Creek Fire - which, at just over 20,000 acres, is the largest fire in the Garner Complex. The hot, dry weather conditions in the region promote fire growth and make it harder for firefighters to suppress the fire. Fire managers say there is active fire behavior on just about every area of the fire, particularly around the perimeter.

A red flag warning is in place for the third straight day because of continued hot, dry and windy conditions. Today's red flag warning is from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. A red flag warning indicates that conditions are prime for increased fire activity.
Taylor Fire: Structure task forces and wildland firefighters are working together to protect nearby structures. To date, none have been lost.

Evacuations remain in effect and are changing regularly. An evacuation center has been established at Grants Pass High School. 

The almost two-week-old Complex is being managed by ODF, the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal and the U.S. Forest Service. More than 2,600 personnel are engaged on the Complex, including 82 hand crews. Some 114 fire engines are assigned to the fire, along with 44 water tenders, 32 dozers, 7 other heavy equipment and 35 aircraft.


Other recent ODF wildfires
 
Snowshoe Fire - Jackson County

ODF is in unified command with the U.S. Forest Service on the Snowshoe Fire, part of the South Umpqua Complex. This fire is located in northern Jackson County north of Shady Cove. Today the fire's size was put at 3,486 acres. ODF-protected land accounts for about 1,628 acres. The Snowshoe Fire was quiet and stayed within control lines yesterday.

Ignition date: July 15, 2018
Acres burned: 3,486
Cause: Lightning

ODF has a smaller share (59 acres) of another fire in the Complex to the northeast - the 983-acre Miles Fire.

Wilson Prairie Fire - Central Oregon District

This fire in southwest Morrow County in eastern Oregon started on land protected by ODF and spread onto the Umatilla National Forest. Significant progress has been made in containment of this fire.

Ignition date: July 23, 2018
Acres burned: 437 - about 120 of it protected by ODF
Cause: Under investigation

ODF providing air support for growing Long Hollow fire


ODF is providing aviation resources on the fast-growing Long Hollow fire to help slow the fire's spread. 
 
ODF Severity Aviation resources used included two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) with 8.35 hours of flight time and 5,607 gallons dropped.

The fire is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and private land not protected by ODF. It started about 5 miles south of Dufur.

Friday, July 27, 2018

National fire preparedness level rises to 5 due to intensifying wildfire picture


As fires ravage the West, the national fire preparedness level was raised today to 5 - its highest setting.
    
In light of the increased fire activity and fire severity in Western states, the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group has moved the nation's Preparedness Level to 5, the highest level.  Oregon's level closely tracks the national preparedness level.
 
Currently, 89 large fires have burned more than 877,000 acres in 13 states. Oregon is now tied with Alaska for having the most active large wildfires - 15 each - according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
 
The Center reports on their website that 13 new large fires have been reported overnight in the U.S., almost all west of the Great Plains. Several large fires displayed extreme fire behavior and made significant runs that caused evacuations for nearby residents.
 
One of the worst has been the deadly Carr Fire near Redding, Calif. Reported yesterday, it has already grown to 20,000 acres, destroyed structures and forced evacuations and area closures. To fight it, Cal Fire has ordered 150 fire engines. With so many fires burning simultaneously and 8 more weeks of summer left, firefighting resources are fully engaged at both the state and national level.

Garner Complex - Josephine and Jackson counties

Oregon's largest active wildfire is the lightning-caused Garner Complex in southern Oregon, which this morning stood at 25,097 acres with 25% containment. The largest fire in the Complex is Taylor Creek Fire, which has been expanding on all fronts with heavy fire activity on the perimeter.
 
The almost two-week-old Complex is being managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal and the U.S. Forest Service. More than 2,500 personnel are engaged on the Complex, including 76 handcrews. Some 112 fire engines are assigned to the fire, along with 41 water tenders, 32 dozers, 7 other heavy equipment and 27 aircraft.
 
Other recent ODF wildfires
 
Snowshoe Fire - Jackson County
 
ODF is in unified command with the U.S. Forest Service on the Snowshoe Fire, part of the South Umpqua Complex. This fire is located in northern Jackson County north of Shady Cove. Yesterday evening the fire's size was put at 3,485. ODF-protected land accounts for about a third of the total - some 1,285 acres. Firefighters have built fireline all around the fire.
 
Ignition date: July 15, 2018
Acres burned: 3,485
Cause: Lightning
 
ODF has a smaller share (59 acres) of another fire in the Complex to the northeast - the 982-acre Miles Fire. 
 
Wilson Prairie Fire - Central Oregon District
 
This fire in southwest Morrow County in eastern Oregon started on land protected by ODF and spread onto the Umatilla National Forest, where it has led to
 
Ignition date: July 23, 2018
Acres burned: 437 - about 120 of it protected by ODF
Cause: Under investigation
 
Public urged to heed fire restrictions 
 
Find the latest fire danger levels and restrictions at ODF's Fire Restrictions and Closures web page at
 
 
 

 

Firefighters build line all the way around the Snowshoe Fire

A number of wildfires sparked by lightning two weeks ago are still burning in rugged terrain in southern Oregon. One on which good progress has been made is the Snowshoe Fire, part of the 9,198-acre South Umpqua Complex. The Oregon Department of Forestry is in unified command with the U.S. Forest Service on the Snowshoe Fire in northern Jackson County.

About two-thirds of the fire's estimated 3,485 acres are in the Umpqua National Forest and the remainder - about 1,285 acres - is on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Firefighters have established firelines by hand or dozer all the way around the Snowshoe Fire. Large interior pockets of fuel continue to burn. Many hot areas near the fire need to be cooled before the fire can be considered fully contained, with no chance of escaping from its perimeter. Progress on the fire has allowed the Jackson County Sheriff's Office to reduce the evacuation level in areas near the Snowshoe Fire to Level 1.

On a smaller fire to the northeast, the 985-acre Miles Fire, evacuation notices remain at Level 2. About 59 acres of that fire have burned on land protected by ODF.

Wilson Prairie Fire is reported 30% contained


HEPPNER, Ore. - A community meeting about the Wilson Prairie Fire is planned for this evening, Friday, July 27 at 5 p.m. at the Heppner City Hall, 111 North Main Street.  Fire managers will provide a fire update with maps and an opportunity for questions and answers at the end of the presentations. The meeting will also be live streamed through Periscope.  Please download the app, create an account and “follow” NWIMT8.  Once the broadcast begins you will receive a notification.  For assistance please call (541) 676-2100.

Current fire situation
The fire is now reported at 437 acres, with about 120 acres on ODF-protected land. The fire is 30% contained.  Additional resources have been ordered and continue to arrive. Firefighters made progress in completing the burnout operations planned for last evening.  The area blackened was located between the established dozer line of the east perimeter and along Forest Road (FR) 2039, the south perimeter.  Five spot fires were located over the firelines during operations.  The largest spot fire was 1/8 of an acre. The spots were quickly surrounded and extinguished.   Firefighters will be diligently gridding the area searching for additional spots south of the FR 2039. 
 
Plans are to continue burning out fuels between the fireline and the main fire tonight along the southwest corner to secure the entire fire perimeter. In other areas, firefighters are locating and mopping up hot spots. The infrared flight over the fire last night displayed very few heat sources along the northern end of the fire.  Safety concerns to firefighters include snags (falling trees), unburned fuels between the firefighters and the main fire, high temperatures and driving. 
The morning operational briefing for firefighters may be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiRA9yXCf9E

Resources: 
Total personnel assigned: 367, including 3-type 2 IA hand crews, 11-type 2 hand crews
Helicopters:  2 medium and 1 light
Fire engines: 12
Water tenders: 7
Dozers: 6
Faller modules: 2
Skidgens: 3

Smoke
Smoke from a large fire to the west has drifted into the local area.  Those with sensitivity concerns should take appropriate precautions.  For more information on air quality please visit: http://www.oregon.gov/DEQ/AQ/Pages/index.aspx  


OHV Park and Campground are open
The Morrow County Off-Highway Vehicle Park and Campground is currently open, however some trails may be impacted by the fire activity.  Please observe all trail and area closures.

Fire Information: Christie Shaw, Oregon Department of Forestry, 541-263-0661 or Darcy Weseman, Umatilla National Forest 541-278-3722  Available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Information Websites: Inciwebhttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6028


 

 

 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Gov. Brown gets in-person briefing at Oregon's largest active wildfire

Above: Discussing the Garner Complex during a visit today
to the Complex were Gov. Kate Brown (left) and
ODF's Chief of Fire Protection Doug Grafe
(at right in shirt with shoulder patch)
MERLIN, Ore. - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, along with other state and local elected officials, got an in-person briefing today from the team managing the state's largest active wildfire - the 21,443-acre Garner Complex in southern Oregon. The lightning-caused fires within the Complex are reported as 19% contained.

Gov. Brown's visit coincided with the U.S. Forest Service becoming part of the fire's unified command with the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office. Much of the 13,114-acre Taylor Creek Fire (the largest single fire within the Garner Complex), is burning on or threatening U.S. Forest Service lands. Oregon currently has more active large wildfires than any other state.

Red flag weather warnings were in effect today for the area of the Complex, meaning gusty winds, high temperatures and low humidity called for extra alertness to the possibility of rapid fire growth.

Skies over the fire were generally clearer this morning, meaning better flying conditions for helicopters and airtankers. These aircraft are being used to help maintain control lines around the fire. Burnouts took place today to remove unburned fuels between the active fire and the control lines dug around it. In all, there are over 70 miles of fireline. Firefighters today were scheduled to strengthen, mop up (making sure all fire along the line is out cold) and patrol the lines on the Grave Creek portion of the Complex.

Working last night and into this morning, firefighters were able to contain a spot fire that had threatened the control line in the Shan Creek area of the Taylor Creek Fire. Keeping that line secure was a top priority today.

Some 2,491 personnel are engaged on the Garner Complex, including 50 Oregon National Guard members helping with traffic control.

Firefighters stop fire from a months-old debris pile in Curry County

 COQUILLE, Ore. - An old burn pile that had held heat buried in the ground since April started a wildfire yesterday afternoon west of Coquille. Firefighters from Coos Forest Protective Association responded to the blaze about 4:30 p.m. With assistance from the Coquille, Arago and Myrtle Point rural fire departments and the help of three helicopters, the fire was stopped at 4.3 acres.

"Dry conditions combined with wind and topography pushed the fire until control efforts were able to stop its advance," said Jef Chase of CFPA. "This is a reminder to residents that large piles burned this spring should be checked to make sure they are not still holding heat, even if weeks or months have passed."

Even though debris burning is banned in most parts of Oregon now because of fire danger, old debris piles are still causing headaches for firefighters.

 

 

Hendrix Fire near Ashland is now 50% contained

ASHLAND, Ore. - Firefighters have hit an important milestone on the Hendrix Fire, reporting it as now 50 percent contained. The fire, 9 miles southwest of Ashland, is one of a string of wildfires sparked by lightning on July 15. The fire burned 1,067 acres, mostly on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest but also affecting 196 acres of land protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Above: Smoke rises from the Hendrix Fire
in southern Oregon. Before it was stopped the
fire burned 1,067 acres, 196 of them
on lands protected by ODF.
Firefighters have built fireline all the way around the fire.  The 50 percent containment is on the north and east side of the fire. Firefighters continue to strengthen fireline on the south and west portions of the fire. They want to ensure these areas are secure enough to limit the fire's spread if interior fire activity increases with changes in weather. The forecast calls for continued hot temperatures nearing 85 to 90 even at higher elevations.

Some 621 personnel, including 4 Hot Shot crews and 13 hand crews have been working on the fire. Some 30 Oregon National Guard troops who have been at the fire handling traffic control are transferring to the Klondike Fire today.

Other resources still on the Hendrix Fire are 22 fire engines, 9 water tenders, 5 assigned dozers and additional dozers on loan from cooperators, 5 helicopters, 1 masticator, and 3 skidgens.

There will be a Hendrix Fire community meeting on Friday, July 28 at 6 p.m. in Ruch, Ore. Details on the location will be announced when they are final.

CURRENT EVACUATION ORDERS: The evacuation level has been reduced to Level 1 for the entire Jackson County Hendrix Fire evacuation area. A Level 1 Evacuation means “BE READY” for potential evacuation. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, and monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. For the latest information, go to  http://jacksoncountyor.org/sheriff/. Residents in the area are encouraged to sign up for Citizen Alert at http://www.jacksoncounty.org/alert. More info about evacuation levels and preparedness can be found at http://www.rvem.org.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Burnouts are being used to help slow spread of Garner Complex

MERLIN, Ore. - The Garner Complex is now reported at 19,944 acres, a change of 2,575 acres since yesterday morning. Containment grew slightly to 18%. 
 
Much of the growth occurred on the Taylor Creek Fire west of Grants Pass, where controlled burnout operations were conducted last night to consume fuel between the fire and control lines. More burnouts are planned for today. This fire is reported today at 11,831 acres. Roughly half that is on lands protected by ODF, including BLM, and half on Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

More than a hundred additional personnel have joined the suppression effort, with personnel now at 2,432. Ten more fire engines are on the fire for a total of 112. Other resources include:
  • 47 water tenders
  • 35 dozers
  • 5 other heavy equipment
  • 74 hand crews
There are now 27 aircraft assigned to the Complex.

Ignition date: July 15, 2018

Acres burned: 19,944

Containment: 18%

Personnel: 2,432

Cause: Lightning

Oregon receives help on wildfires from other states

A great part of the state's firefighting resources are now engaged in suppression efforts on Oregon's 13 active large wildfires. ODF has also been able to call on additional resources (see details below).
 
The statewide heat wave is also keeping state, federal and local fire departments busy putting out new fires, which are able to spread quickly in the dry fuels. Scores of these fires have been successfully quelled this week.

ODF has been able to call on several out-of-state resources to help with fires for which the agency is responsible. A 20-person Type 11 initial attack hand crew from New Mexico has been sent to assist ODF's Central Oregon District. The crew is based in Prineville.

Another 22 people - 17 from North Carolina and 8 from Florida - are assisting on the Garner Complex, with two more expected to arrive tonight. They are mostly serving in direct operational roles, such as heavy equipment operators, task-force leaders, and operations chiefs. Another Floridian is on ODF's Salem Support Team in an administrative capacity.

Two more people from Idaho are helping backfill for two staff from Douglas Forest Protective Association who are assisting the Southwest Oregon District.

Many other firefighters from outside Oregon are working on federally managed wildfires.


Oregon National Guard lends ground and air support on wildfires

SALEM, Ore. - Since being activated by Gov. Brown earlier this month, the Oregon National Guard has been able to send 80 members of the Guard to southern Oregon to help in support roles, such as traffic control. Fifty Guard members are working on the Garner Complex (burning mostly in Josephine County) and 30 on the Hendrix Fire SW of Ashland. In addition, two Chinook helicopters from the Guard and their pilots and ground crews are working on the Garner Complex. One of the Guard's Lakota helicopters is also making infrared mapping flights over multiple Oregon fires.

More Guard members will receive firefighting training in Salem the week of July 30- Aug. 3, increasing the number able to serve on wildfires.

This year's activation of the Guard comes weeks before last year's activation, a reflection of how advanced the fire danger is this summer. 

Wilson Prairie Fire pushed past firelines yesterday

MORROW COUNTY, Ore. - Late yesterday this fire in eastern Oregon's Morrow County moved outside the fireline and pushed into the Porter Creek drainage to the south. Evening downslope winds moved the fire through the drainage to the southeast and across a ridge.
 
Very large airtankers, single-engine airtankers and helicopters dropped water and retardant on the fire to slow its growth and help firefighters and equipment on the ground trying to suppress the fire. The fire's movement prompted evacuation and closure of the U.S. Forest Service campground at Bull Prairie Lake. Northwest Team 8 is being briefed on the fire this afternoon and will take command tomorrow morning.


Ignition date: July 23, 2018

Acres burned: 700

Cause: Under investigation

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Wildfires affect air quality in parts of southern Oregon

Oregon currently has more than a dozen active, large wildfires burning, the second most in the nation. Wildfires produce a lot of smoke, which can affect air quality over wide areas. This was especially noticeable last summer when the state was blanketed by smoke from numerous wildfires for weeks.

Oregonians concerned about air quality from wildfire smoke can check conditions at https://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/  A map on the site displays the results of air monitoring stations, color coded to indicate the health impact from the readings. Levels range from good (green) to hazardous (dark red). Tuesday the map showed levels considered unhealthy or hazardous at a number of monitoring stations in Jackson, Klamath and Lake counties. 

Additional information about general air quality can be found at this Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality site https://www.oregon.gov/deq/aq/Pages/default.aspx

More than 2,300 personnel are now fighting the Garner Complex fires

MERLIN, Ore. - The number of acres burned by fires in the Garner Complex increased by more than 2,000 since yesterday to reach 17,369 acres this morning. The number of personnel engaged on the fire has also grown, to 2,311 people, with 102 fire engines, 45 water tenders, 35 dozers, 18 aircraft and 76 hand crews.


Overnight, firefighters made progress on building and extending control lines. Today, firefighters will work to secure and hold those control lines by strengthening hand-built and dozer lines, placing water hoses, and continuing to mop up.

Weather permitting, firefighters expect to set fire between control lines and actively burning areas of the fire. This is done to stop the fire's advance by consuming the fuel available to the fire.

The largest fire in the Complex is the Taylor Creek Fire, which is reported at 9,642 acres. That fire is burning on both private and BLM land as well as parts of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. As smoke conditions allow, air support will be dropping water and retardant on the south and west sides of the Taylor Creek, Pleasant Creek and Grave Creek fires. Firefighters have been successful in hold the Spencer Creek Fire within control lines. Mop-up on that fire continues.

The Office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal has stated that no structures have been lost in the fire, but hundreds of primary residences as well as other structures are considered threatened. Structural crews are continuing to assess and create defensible spaces around homes and other structures on the Grave Creek and Taylor Creek fires. Level 3 evacuations have affected almost 400 people. Current evacuation information can be found by contacting the Joint Information Center in southern Oregon at 541-474-5305 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. A Red Cross shelter is set up for evacuees at Grants Pass High School at 830 N.E. 9th Street. The number for the shelter is 541-474-5710.

A public meeting about the fires is scheduled for today at 6 p.m. in Wimer at the Evans Valley Education and Community Center, 8205 East Evans Creek. A public meeting held yesterday at North Valley High School in Grants Pass was attended by some 300 people.

Weather forecasts call for continued hot and dry conditions. Smoke will gradually lift today, resulting in higher temperatures and lower humidity at the fire. As a result, firefighters will likely see elevated fire activity today.

ODF responds to fire in Morrow County that burns 120 acres


MORROW COUNTY, Ore. - Firefighters made significant progress overnight building fireline around the Wilson Prairie Fire, located in the southwest corner of Morrow County.  The fire originated on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and spread onto the Umatilla National Forest.  The fire is estimated to be 120 acres, burning in grass, brush, and timber. 
Yesterday firefighters were challenged with the fire spotting in pockets of dead white fir.  Overnight the fire held inside the existing retardant lines used to “box in” the fire and check the spread. There are currently no evacuations or closures in place around the fire.  The cause of the fire is under investigation. 
Today, additional resources are arriving to relieve firefighting personnel who worked throughout the night to stop the spread of the fire.  Since the fire was reported Monday afternoon, firefighters were able to use dozers to build fireline around most of the fire.  Firefighters will work to complete the fireline, building handline in steep, rocky ground where dozers were unable to work. 
Resources assigned to the fire today include two contract crews, two Oregon Department of Corrections crews, three dozers, two water tenders, eight fire engines from ODF and three initial attack modules from the Umatilla National Forest’s Heppner Ranger District.  Work will also begin today mopping up fire and heat adjacent to the fireline, strengthening these lines to reduce the risk of fire moving outside the perimeter. 
Aerial resources will support the firefighting effort as needed.  These aerial assets include two Type 2 helicopters used to drop water and cool hot spots. These helicopters are specially funded by Oregon’s legislature to reduce impacts from large fires on landowners and Oregon’s natural resources including water and air quality.  A Type 1 helicopter will be arriving today to support the extended attack firefighting for this fire.  Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) and large air tankers are available if the fire moves outside the fireline. 

Dry fuel conditions throughout the region combined with continued hot and dry weather in the forecast have the potential for rapid fire growth. 


·       Regulated Closure is in effect for ODF’s Central Oregon District.  Specific restrictions, intended to reduce human caused fires, can be found at www.ODFcentraloregon.com
 
  • Phase A of the Public Use Restrictions (PURS) for the Umatilla National Forest is in effect.  For more information regarding these and other restrictions on the Umatilla National Forest visit www.bmidc.org.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Firefighters make progress on Hendrix Fire near Ashland


ASHLAND, Ore. -  Firefighters are taking advantage of favorable conditions to make progress on the Hendrix Fire 9 miles southwest of Ashland. The Oregon Department of Forestry is in Unified Command with the U.S. Forest Service on the fire. The 1,060-acre fire is burning in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and on about 180 acres of private land protected by ODF. The fire was started by lightning that passed through southern Oregon on July 15. It is currently 20 percent contained. Some 520 personnel are engaged on the fire.
 
On Sunday, helicopters were hampered by poor visibility over the fire's helibase. One of the Type 2 helicopters was loaned to the Prospect Fire and was unable to return after its duties due to challenging smoke conditions at the Prospect Fire's helibase.  Sharing resources continues to be a powerful tool among all of the fire teams operating in southern Oregon and beyond. Helicopters will continue to support firefighters on the ground, including dropping water and conducting reconnaissance flights as needed and conditions allow.

If conditions are favorable, crews may continue small strategic firing operations on the southwest portion of the fire. They will work to tie the main fire perimeter along the ridges down to hand lines and dozer lines in more accessible terrain to help secure the area.
 
Firefighters continue going direct, creating fireline along the fire's perimeter on the east side of the fire. On the north and northeast portions of the fire, firefighters are mopping up and extinguishing or removing burning material near firelines to help secure the area. Good containment has been achieved on the northwest side of the fire.

Resources committed to the fire include:
  • 22 fire engines
  • 10 water tenders
  • 5 assigned dozers and additional dozers on loan from cooperators
  • 2 masticators for chipping brush
  • 3 skidgens
  • 5 helicopters
  • 4 Hot Shot crews
  • 13 hand crews

Drivers near the intersection of Upper Applegate and Little Applegate should watch for firefighters and fire vehicles in the area as the fire team sets up a vehicle wash station there to help prevent weeds caught underneath brush trucks and other apparatus from being carried from area to area. Efforts like this help prevent the spread of invasive weeds like the yellow star thistle.
 
The forecast for southern Oregon for the foreseeable future is continued hot temperatures and drying fuels. The temperatures at higher elevations and peaks near the fire also continue to rise with an expected 90 degrees at 4,500 feet elevation by Wednesday. There is a chance of thunderstorms early this week. Fire crews will remain vigilant and are prepared to attack any new fire starts if they occur.
 
Firefighters are aggressively suppressing the fire where they can do so safely and effectively to protect and minimize fire effects to residential structures, private property, industrial timber lands, and natural and cultural resources. Public and firefighter safety is the number one priority.
 
The lightning-caused Watershed Fire (9 acres), Bull Gap Fire (3.5 acres), and 288 Fire (a tenth of an acre) remain in patrol status.
 
Evacuations and closures 
Level 2 and Level 3 evacuations remain in place for residents near Hells Peak, southeast of Ruch. Details are available at http://jacksoncountyor.org/sheriff/. More info about evacuation levels and preparedness can be found at http://www.rvem.org. Video from last night's Hendrix Community Meeting at the Ruch Branch Library is available online at https://tinyurl.com/yczf47z9 . Additional community meetings will be held periodically.
 
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Hendrix Fire Area Closure for the southern portion of the Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District remains in effect.  Detailed info and a map of the area closure are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou. The closure has been revised to show Forest Road 20 as being OPEN from the Upper Applegate Road to Jackson Gap.  Forest Road 20 is closed from Jackson Gap East to Ashland  Watershed including access to Dutchman Lookout.
 
The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from where it meets National Forest Road No.40S01 (Observation Gap) to the Grouse Gap Shelter. Re-route information is available at https://www.pcta.org/discover-the-trail/closures/oregon/hendrix-fire-southern-oregon/.
 
Smoke is expected to linger in the area . Today’s smoke forecast, including information about where the nearest clear air is located are available at https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks.
 
High smoke levels can have hazardous impact on health. People with respiratory or heart disease, children, and the elderly should stay inside and contact their healthcare providers if they become ill. Visit http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/ for more information.
 
Maps of the Hendrix Fire can be found at https://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/information/fire_info.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 about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.


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.

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About Me

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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.