Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - July 23, 2014

FIRES
Large fires currently burning within ODF’s protection jurisdiction include:

Waterman Complex – Consists of multiple fires totaling 12,520 acres burning near the community of Mitchell in the John Day Unit of the Central Oregon District. Reported July 14, the lightning-caused complex is currently 80 percent contained and in full mop-up. Firefighters are using handheld infrared detection devices to aid in locating hot spots. More lightning is predicted today, and an operations section chief advised firefighters, “Don’t mess around with it. If you get the word, move to a safe area.” Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 3 is managing the firefighting operation.

Pine Creek Fire – Includes 1,954 acres of ODF-protected lands. It is currently 80 percent contained. The Northern Rockies Incident Management Team is leading the firefighting effort. Mop-up is proceeding, and the team is releasing resources rapidly.

Sunflower Fire – The fire is 7,146 acres and 65 percent contained. It is burning on Umatilla National Forest, and on Bureau of Land Management-Prineville lands protected by ODF. The fire has also burned 250 acres of private land.

Fires on other jurisdictions in Oregon
(More information on the following fires can be found at: http://nwccweb.us/index.aspx and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.)

 
Black Rock Fire35,731 acres, 85 percent contained.

Donnybrook Fire – 22,763 acres, 70 percent contained.

Bridge 99 Complex - 5,917 acres, 50 percent contained.

Ochoco Complex – 6,506 acres, 22 percent contained.

Bingham Complex – 452 acres, 45 percent contained.

Pittsburg Fire – 8,082 acres, 95 percent contained.

Hurricane Creek Fire – 645 acres, 20 percent contained.

Buzzard Complex – 395,747 acres, 90 percent contained.

Center Fire – 2,515 acres, 41 percent contained.

Logging Unit Fire – 10,350 acres, 20 percent contained.

Shaniko Butte Fire – 40,575 acres, 75 percent contained.


FIRE STATISTICS
Due to heavy firefighting activity our fire statistics have not been updated. They will return when the database has been made current.

Statewide air quality index readings are available at http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx.

 
 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire update - July 22, 2014

FIRES
Currently 19 uncontained large wildfires are burning across Oregon and Washington, with 12 of the fires in Oregon. Large fires within ODF’s protection jurisdiction include:

Waterman Complex – Consists of multiple fires totaling 12,520 acres burning near the community of Mitchell in the John Day Unit of the Central Oregon District. Reported July 14, the lightning-caused complex is currently 75 percent contained. Highway 26 has reopened to travel with a pilot car escort. Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 3 is managing the firefighting operation.

Fires on other jurisdictions in Oregon
More information on the following fires can be found at: http://nwccweb.us/index.aspx and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.

Donnybrook – Deschutes National Forest, 22,763 acres, 70 percent contained.
Pine Creek – Deschutes National Forest, 30, 245 acres, 65 percent contained.
Bridge 99 Complex - Deschutes National Forest, 5,915 acres, 31 percent contained.
Black Rock Fire – Deschutes National Forest, 35,731 acres, 85 percent contained.
Sunflower Fire – Umatilla National Forest, 7,146 acres, 50 percent contained.
Ochoco Complex – Ochoco National Forest, 6,333 acres, 22 percent contained.
Bingham Complex – Willamette National Forest, 452 acres, 30 percent contained.
Pittsburg Fire – Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, 8,000 acres, 85 percent contained.
Hurricane Creek Fire – Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, 645 acres, 10 percent contained.
Buzzard Complex – BLM Burns District, 395,747 acres, 85 percent contained.
Gumboot Fire – BLM Burns District, 4,420 acres, 90 percent contained.
Logging Unit Fire – Confederated Tribes o/t Warm Springs, 10,302 acres, 5 percent contained.
Shaniko Butte Fire – Confederated Tribes o/t Warm Springs, 42,500 acres, 75 percent contained.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wash., Ore. wildfires update: 1 dead, 150 homes destroyed

By Eric Zerkel, Weather.com, Jul 21, 2014
 
Washington and Oregon are currently under siege from at least 20 major wildfires across the two states, fueled by dry, windy conditions. Both states, particularly Oregon, have been hit hard by drought, leading to dry foliage that's easily ignited by lightning strikes.

Temperatures have cooled down in the region on the heels of triple digit heat, providing much-needed relief for the thousands of firefighters trying to keep the flames at bay, but unfortunately changing weather conditions in the coming days won't provide much certainty for containment efforts, according to weather.com meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

"The good news is that the cool down will last for several more days," said Wiltgen. "And by Wednesday, thunderstorms may develop in the area, bringing welcome rainfall."

"However, the bad news is that those thunderstorms will also bring severe weather and lightning strikes that could spark additional fires. Not only that, but by next weekend the Northwest should see temperatures soar back into the 90s to near 100."
 

Waterman Complex update - July 21, 2014, morning

Waterman Complex – Mitchell, Oregon
Information Center – 541-787-4321
Incident Commander Doug Johnson

Fire at a glance
Start date: July 12, 2014
Cause: Lightning
Size: 11,989 acres
Containment: 60 percent
Resources:
     Hand crews: 23
     Fire engines: 37
     Water tenders: 24
     Helicopters: 8
     Bulldozers: 11
     Personnel: 872

Adverse winds yesterday prevented completion of the planned burnout operations to secure the existing fire lines along the Forest Road 2630 to Highway (Hwy) 26.  The limited opening of the highway will not occur on today as scheduled.

Evacuation Notices

Wheeler County Sheriff and fire officials have lowered the Level 3 evacuation order for the West Branch area.  West Branch and Marks Creek residents will remain at the Level 2 preparedness.  Residents need to remain ready to evacuate should fire conditions warrant.  The Red Cross Shelter remains open at the Crook County High School in Prineville.

Current Situation

The Complex consists of four fires (Bailey Butte, Toney Butte, Junction Springs and Incident #376.)  The Bailey Butte fire is being actively managed.  The others are 100% contained and will continued to be monitored by air.

Bailey Butte Fire – 9,745 acres, 50% contained.  Due to an increase in relative humidity, firefighters were unable to complete the scheduled burnout operation early this morning. Crews worked all night into the early morning hours continuing the burnout operation from Corral Flats to the Hwy 26 corridor to provide a secure fire line along the highway.  When the burnout and hazard tree falling is complete, Hwy 26 will partially open as soon as it is deemed safe for travel.  Fire fighters are also mopping up hot spots, chipping debris removed from fire line preparation, using helicopters to drop water to cool hotspots, and holding established fire lines.

Toney Butte Fire – 2,229 acres, 100% contained.  The fire will be monitored by the air.  Smoke may be visible from interior burning.

Junction Springs Fire – 15 acres, 100% contained. This fire remains in patrol status and monitored by air.

Incident #376 - .25 acres, 100% contained. 

Ochoco National Forest Closure Area:

A Forest Closure Order 06-07-01-14-001-01 is in effect on Ochoco National Forest System lands.  The closure prohibits the public from entering the Closure Area except under special exemption.  The closure is due to firefighting activities and the safety of the public within the Closure Area.  The public is encouraged to check with the Forest before they travel.  To view the entire Forest Closure Order please see the following link:


Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR):  The TFR over the Toney Butte fire was removed.  One TFR remains in place over the Bailey Butte fire. Please check the NOTAM for current information.

For more information on the Waterman Complex visit:

Inciweb at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3961/                         
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Oregon Trip Check at http://www.tripcheck.com

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunflower Fire Update for July 20, 2014

On Monday, July 14, 2014 a thunderstorm ignited the Sunflower Fire 10 miles northwest of Monument, OR. The fire is now estimated at 5,900 acres.

Summary: Crews continue to make excellent progress on the fire perimeter. The fire is well established on the south side of Wall Creek drainage between Happy and Wilson Creeks and has moved into the Little Wilson and Big Wilson Creek drainage's. Short duration crown runs, torching and spotting have been observed due to afternoon localized winds. The fire has grown to 5,900 acres.
 
Current Situation: Localized afternoon winds continued to push the fire south and southeast into Little and Big Wilson Creek drainage's. Crews continue to monitor both the northeast and northwest flanks of the fire while it smolders and creeps back into fire area.
 
Overnight crews conducted a burnout operation along FS Road 24 to eliminate grass and brush between the road and fire front. Evening winds assisted the burnout operations which strengthened the containment line.
 
Early this morning, a spot fire was identified on the east side of FS Rd. 24. It is approximately of 15 acres. The spot fire was assessed and is the priority for day shift crews, using both ground and air resources to contain.
 
Today, crews in the northeast and northwest sections of the fire will continue mopping up hot spots. In the southern perimeter, crews will continue constructing hand and dozer line along the southwest corner of the fire. Arial resources will be supporting ground crews with water and retardant drops, as soon as the inversion layer lifts in the late morning.
 
Smoke will increase across eastern Oregon due to increased fire activity and duration.  Localized smoke will hinder visibility through midday, but will improve in the late afternoon.
 
Weather:    A cooling trend is expected to begin setting up Monday. A chances of showers is forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Decreased temperatures and higher relative humidity will calm fire behavior and assist firefighters with suppression efforts. 
 
Area Fire Closures:  An area closure was again expanded on July 19 around the fire for firefighter and public safety. Information and map can be found @ http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3964/

Friday, July 18, 2014

Waterman Complex update - July 18, 2014, a.m.

Waterman Complex – Mitchell, Oregon

Information Center – 541-787-4321(new number)
Incident Commander: Doug Johnson

Start date: July 11-12, 2014
Cause: Lightning
Size: 7,865 acres
Containment: 35 percent
Resources
     Hand crews: 23
     Fire engines: 24
     Water tenders: 10
     Helicopters: 5
     Bulldozers: 6
     Total personnel: 723

Location:  Four fires near Mitchell, Service Creek, and Kimberly, Oregon.

Evacuation Notices
A Level III Evacuation Notice for the West Branch area was issued by the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office this morning at 7:30 am. A Red Cross Shelter is located at the 108 S. Nelson St (City Hall) in Mitchell.

The Marks Creek area remains under a Level III Evacuation.   Residents have been asked to leave their homes due to the fire threat.  A Red Cross Shelter is located at the Crook County High School in Prineville.

Heavy equipment will be making improvements on the Forest Road 22 starting today.  This is an alternate route between Mitchell to Prineville, expect slight delays.

Current Situation
The Complex consists of four fires: Bailey Butte, Toney Butte, Junction Springs and Incident #376. Firefighting resources continue to arrive to assist in suppression efforts. Suppression actions of the day include: providing structure protection on the West Branch Road and Marks Creek area; constructing and holding fire line, mopping-up hot spots, patrolling, scouting new fire line locations, and prepping existing roads. Aviation assets will be utilized to assist in containment efforts. Firefighters are challenged with steep terrain, and a Red Flag Warning for low relative humidity and gusty winds

Bailey Butte Fire – 5,625 acres, 5% contained. Additional crews have been assigned to work the southern portion where the fire had been most active.  The northern portion showed no growth.  Crews are mopping hot spots and are mopping up 50 feet from the fire perimeter.  The Crystal Springs Organizational Camp is being prepped for burn-out operations.  Crews are continuing to prep Forest Service Road 2630 for indirect line and preparing it for burn-out operations. The fire has burned into the Resource Natural Area (RNA). Working in cooperation with private land owners, firefighters have been constructing dozer lines in the West Branch Road area. A spike camp has been established in Spears Meadow to reduce travel time for firefighters.

Toney Butte Fire – 2,220 acres, 60% contained.  Crews will continue to cold trail, mop up any hot spots, and patrol the fire perimeter.  This fire showed no growth and will go into monitor status end of shift.

Junction Springs Fire– 20 acres, 100% contained. This fire remains in patrol status and monitored by air.

Incident #376 - .25 acres, 80% contained.  Four rapellers are assigned to this fire.  It is located in the Mount Pisgah area.

Ochoco National Forest Closure Area:

This closure has been enacted due to firefighting activities taking place within the closure area and for the protection of public and employee safety. The Bailey Butte Fire Closure Area is established within boundary lines on its north side by the Forest boundary and its south side following a system of closed Forest roads which include:

Forest Roads 450, 2630, 150, 2200, 2210, 300, 2610, Buck Creek Road to its intersection with the east edge of the Mill Creek Wilderness and Forest Roads 650, 27, 2745, 010 and the 2750.  All roads and trails within the bounds of the Forest Closure are closed.  All campgrounds within the Forest Closure area including Walton Lake, Round Mountain, Crystal Springs, Wildwood, Ochoco Divide, and Whistler are closed.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): Two TFRs are in place over the Complex. One is located over the Bailey Butte Fire and the other over the Toney Butte Fire. Please check the NOTAM for current information.

For more information on the Waterman Complex visit:
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White River Fire - final update

July 18, 2014, 9 a.m.

WHITE RIVER FIRE

OREGON DEPT OF FORESTRY
INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM 1

WHITE RIVER FIRE FULLY CONTAINED

Most of the firefighters who have been mopping up the 652-acre White River Fire this week are hitting the road this morning. The fire was declared 100 percent contained today by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry incident management team, which took supervisory control of the fire's suppression on Sunday, July 13.

The direction of further mop-up operations on the White River Fire has been returned to The Dalles Unit of the Oregon Department of Forestry's Central Oregon District. Several crews, engines and other equipment remain to ensure the fire stays inside its containment line.

But one hundred percent contained does not mean the fire is 100 percent out.

The incident management team's objectives were to complete a fire line around the blaze's perimeter, then mop-up (fully extinguish) all hot spots within 500 feet of the fire line (300 feet inside the White River Canyon, a wilderness area).

The cost of containing the White River Fire is $2 million. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Some of the incident management team's members have already been assigned to other wildfires, as have many of the crews that helped to contain the White River Fire. Dozens of blazes east of the Cascade Range in Oregon are scrambling for fire suppression resources - crews, engines, bulldozers, helicopters - and an unwritten objective of the incident management team on the White River Fire was to complete its tasks quickly and completely so much-needed help could be sent to fire managers in other parts of the state.

For further information about the White River Fire, please contact:
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
The Dalles Unit, (541) 296-4626

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

A rainy September ended fire season in all ODF districts. Oregonians are urged always to exercise fire safety in the forest and the wildland-urban interface.

While lightning often ignites the largest wildfires, human carelessness accounts for 69 percent of all fire starts on the 16 million acres of forestland protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

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. There are about 30.4 million total 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. Suppression of large fires can run into millions of dollars.

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About Me

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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.