Firefighting costs

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry has expended a net of $45 million for large fires through Sept. 18, 2014. With more wildfire activity possible in the weeks ahead, large-fire costs could grow before season's end.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

36Pit Fire Update, 9-27-14

Several roads remain closed to the general public but open to residents.  Please call the Sheriff’s Office at 503-655-8224 or go to their web site at www.clackamas.us for more information.

ODOT has opened Highway 224 to residents and workers escorted by pilot cars.  For updates related to the status of Highway 224, please contact Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) at 503-539-8454 or go to tripcheck.com.

The Mt. Hood National Forest also has fire closure areas in affect (Closure Order: MH-2014-13), for more information please visit their website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/mthood/.

The Type 3 team assumed command at 8:00 p.m. Friday, 9/26, and will release periodic updates as significant information becomes available.  503-630-1711 will remain as the fire information phone number.  Facebook and Inciweb pages may only be updated once per day.

The 36 pit fire is now estimated to be 5,520 acres in size and at 65 percent containment. At the northwest, northern, and southern perimeters of the fire, firefighters continue to patrol and complete fire suppression repair activities.  At the western flank of the fire near the 45 Road/Hillockburn Road, crews are prepping roads that will be used to reinforce the fire lines. Stopping the progression of the fire toward the west continues to be the priority.

Hazards to crews include: extremely steep terrain presenting crews with footing difficulties; rolling debris; and fire weakened trees, and muddy roads.  Heavy fuels within the fire perimeter will continue to smolder and may create visible smoke. 

The public is urged to be aware of increased fire related traffic on local roads and to drive defensively.

Information related to smoke can be found at:  www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.

For more info. on 36Pit Fire:
FIRE INFORMATION WEBSITE:   http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4106/
ON FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/mthoodnf?ref=hl
           
INFO PHONE:  503-630-1711  Office Hours:  8:00 am - 6:00 pm
EMAIL: 36pitfire@gmail.com 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Public wildfire restrictions eased in Douglas County


Douglas Forest Protective Association
Sept. 26, 2014
Contact: Kyle Reed, 541-672-6507 x136, kreed@odf.state.or.us

While fire season remains in effect, the recent rain showers and cooler temperatures have allowed fire officials with the Douglas Forest Protective Association to ease fire restrictions for the general public.  Campfires and fireworks are now the only restrictions under DFPA’s Regulated Use Closure.  Campfires are only allowed in DFPA Designated Campgrounds (see list below) and fireworks are prohibited.  Under state law, the use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition remains prohibited until fire season is terminated.

“We appreciate the help from all the public and landowners throughout the last several months of high and extreme fire conditions” says DFPA District Manager Melvin Thornton.  “Keep in mind though, fire season is still here! Fires will still burn in the fuels as they dry over the next few days, so caution and common sense is still needed while living and visiting the area.”

Burn permits for outdoor debris burning are now being issued by DFPA following an onsite inspection by a Forest Officer.  Before a burn permit can be issued, a fire trail down to mineral soil must surround the burn pile.  While burning is taking place, at least one adult with fire tools and water must remain on site until the burning is completed and the fire is put out.  Permits are only being issued for debris piles consisting of woody materials.  Garbage, plastic, rubber, and other materials cannot be burned.  DFPA burn permits are free of charge and can be obtained by calling DFPA at 672-6507 to schedule an onsite inspection.

For additional information about industrial or public use restrictions currently in effect, visit www.dfpa.net or call DFPA’s information line at (541) 672-0379.

DFPA designated campgrounds:
Cavitt Creek Falls Recreation Site
Eagleview Campground
Lone Pine Campground
Millpond Recreation Site
Rock Creek Recreation Site
Susan Creek Recreation Site
Tyee Recreation Site
Amacher Park Campground
Douglas County Fairgrounds Campground
Pass Creek Campground
Stanton Park Campground
Chief Miwaleta Campground
Whistler's Bend Campground

FireWise communities spreading across SW Oregon

September 26, 2014
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
Southwest Oregon District

Contacts:
Kaitlyn Webb, Medford Oregon Department of Forestry, (541) 620-1572
John O’Connor, Medford Oregon Department of Forestry, (541) 621-1168                

An active fire season in southwest Oregon comes as no surprise. Both smoky skies accompanied by frequent firefighter traffic are common sights. Damage of personal property and livelihood due to forest fires are also a concern—a concern that has recently been attracting more attention and the prompting of local action. Individuals are understanding the importance of defensible space around their homes as well as their neighborhoods. Firewise, a nationwide program is aiding in the promotion of this awareness and in taking steps to empower local communities to take action. There are currently 55 recognized Firewise Communities in Oregon, 6 of which have been established in 2014.

John O’Connor, a Firewise Specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry describes this program as, “Neighbors working with neighbors to help make their communities safer from wildfire.” The goal is to create communities that can survive fires through fuels reduction. Since wildfires threaten entire communities, not just a single home, it is crucial for all members to be aware of elements that increase fire potential so that these can be eliminated in order to create defensible space around homes and properties. In urban areas, fire can jump from home to home. In more rural areas, fire can feed off the flammable vegetation between properties, which means that it must be a communal effort to create safer communities.

Flames do not have to be surrounding a neighborhood for the structures and properties to be at risk. Fire-spreading embers can drift miles from the actual fire presenting a danger to surrounding residents. Wisely selecting less flammable building materials for the roof and keeping gutters and roofs clear of leaves or needles can minimize the risk of ignition from drifting embers. Elements such as untreated decks or woodpiles near a home increase vulnerability to ignition and should be mitigated.

Firewise offers a wealth of information, property assessments, possible funding for fuel reduction assistance, as well as continual support and guidance regarding the plans a community sets in place for future sustainability and improvement of defensible space.

The rewards of a proactive and fire aware community far outweigh the efforts required. Being a Firewise Community enhances the safety of your home, builds community, and provides a framework for future action. Being fire ready reduces the risk of damaged structures and property in the event of a fire.

Contact one of these Firewise Communities specialists to learn how your neighborhood can become more resilient to wildfire by becoming a Firewise Community or visit www.firewise.org

John O’Connor, Josephine County Firewise, (541) 621-1168 Bob Schumacher, Grants Pass Fire and Rescue, (541) 450-6205 Ashley Lara, Ashland Fire and Rescue, (541) 552-2231

 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

36 Pit Fire - Final update, Sept. 25, 2014

The Clackamas County Sheriff has lifted all evacuation notices.  Several roads remain closed to the general public, but open to residents.  Please call the Sheriff’s Office at 503-655-8224 or go to their web site at www.clackamas.us for more information. 

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has opened Highway 224 to residents and workers escorted by pilot cars.  For updates related to the status of Highway 224, please contact ODOT at 503-539-8454 or go to tripcheck.com

This will be the last fire update produced by the Washington Incident Management Team 2.  The Type 3 Team will assume command at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 26.   Periodic updates will be released as significant information becomes available.  The public phone line for the 36 Pit Fire will remain the same.  For information on the current fire situation you can continue to call 503-630-1711.  The Mt. Hood Facebook and Inciweb pages may only be update once per day as information is gathered.
 
At the northwest, northern, and southern perimeters of the fire, firefighters continue to mop up hot spots, remove water hoses, and complete fire suppression repair activities.  At the western flank of the fire near the 45 Road/Hillockburn Road, crews are improving fire lines and mopping up hot spots 200-300 feet in from the fire perimeter.  Four and a half miles of “prepping” on the 45 Road/Hillockburn Road as well as roads at the head waters of the South Fork of the Clackamas River are expected to be completed by end of today’s shift.  Small trees and brush are being removed and chipped to reinforce fire lines.  Stopping the progression of the fire toward the west continues to be the priority.  Demobilization of fire crews has begun with twelve crews and two dozen engines completing their assignments today.
 
The 36 Pit Fire is now estimated to be 5,520 acres in size and at 55 percent containment. Hazards to crews continue which include extremely steep terrain presenting crews with footing difficulties, rolling debris, fire weakened trees, and muddy roads. 
 
Members of the public have been inquiring about the effects of the fire.  The intensity of the fire has varied within the fire area.  Some areas of the fire have intensely burned consuming all vegetation while other areas have burned moderately or lightly where the effects of the fire can be characterized as a mosaic burn.

Last night, a public meeting was held at the First Baptist Church in Estacada. Community members attending the meeting gave fire officials a positive response to the fire suppression effort and to future suppression plans.

P.A.C.E.
 
There are many factors that contribute to a safe and effective operation, but one of the most important is planning.  Washington Incident Management Team 2 advocates the use of a P.A.C.E. operation model as one tool to optimize performance.  P.A.C.E. is an acronym that stands for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency plans.  Many understand the value of a “Plan B”, but frequently an alternate plan is never developed.  P.A.C.E. advocates developing second, third, and fourth options in advance.  The military has used the P.A.C.E. model for some time to manage the risks of combat operations.  While the specific risk factors and consequences may be different in the civilian world, the value of thorough planning and preparation applies to virtually all endeavors, particularly complex ones.  Washington Incident Management Team 2 uses P.A.C.E. to continually remind managers, supervisors, and firefighters to be alert to changes in their situation and be prepared with appropriate responses.

The Lazy Bend Camp and Work Center is closed.
Promontory Park is closed.
The La Dee OHV area is closed.

Members of the Washington Incident Management Team 2 would like to thank the public for their continued patience and support during the 36 Pit Fire. 

For more information on the 36 Pit Fire call (503) 630-1711.  For information related to smoke go to:  www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.  

 

###

Central Ore. hunter info booths open next week

September 25, 2014                                       

Contact:
Chris Dayton
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
541-549-2731, cdayton@odf.state.or.us  

Hunter information booths will be open across central Oregon in early October to provide the public with current fire restriction information on open fires, driving off road, chainsaw use, smoking in the forest, and more. Road closure information as well as map sales and coffee will also be available at most locations. 

Early fall is the most dynamic time of year for wildfire danger. Hot afternoons continue to dry out vegetation and colder nights alone do not provide adequate moisture recovery. Central Oregon has experienced an active wildfire season this summer. The message to hunters and recreationists is: Call ahead for the area you are visiting to find out the current fire use restrictions. They can quickly change and vary from place to place. Some restrictions may be lifted due to rain received. But many areas may still prohibit open fires and driving off of improved roads.

Fire restriction/fire use information can be found at the following locations:

 The Dalles:

                Memaloose Rest Area
                                Thursday, Oct. 2 – 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
                                Friday, Oct. 3 - 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

                Dodson Road
                                Thursday, Oct. 2 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
                                Friday, Oct. 3 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

La Pine:

                La Pine at “Rays”
                                Thursday, Oct. 2 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
                                Friday, Oct. 3 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Prineville:

                Prineville at “Rays”
                                Wednesday, Oct. 1 – 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
                                Thursday, Oct. 2 - 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
                                Friday, Oct. 3 - 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Highway 58:

                Milepost 71
Thursday, Oct. 2 – 10 a.m. to dark
Friday, Oct. 3 – 9 a.m. to dark      

The hunter booths are brought to you by the Central Oregon Fire Prevention Cooperative, the Klamath County Fire Prevention Cooperative and the Mid-Columbia Fire Prevention Cooperative.


 

 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scoggins Valley Park at Hagg Lake to Re-open Wednesday

Washington County issued the following news release on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 @ 2 p.m. PDT

********************

With the Scoggins Creek Fire approaching full containment, Washington County officials plan to re-open Scoggins Valley Park at Hagg Lake at dawn Wednesday, September 24. The park had been closed since September 19 due to the Scoggins Creek Fire that had engulfed just over 200 acres of privately owned forest land.

State officials plan to monitor conditions frequently throughout the remainder of fire season.

“We are thankful to our neighbors throughout the Hagg Lake area who were affected by this fire and to the patrons of Scoggins Valley Park for their patience throughout this ordeal,” said Todd Winter, park superintendent. “We owe a deep debt of gratitude to all the first-responders and their home and supporting agencies. The bravery, professionalism and commitment demonstrated throughout this incident has been tremendous.”

The Scoggins Creek Fire drew an immediate response from the Gaston Rural Fire District, Cornelius Fire, Forest Grove Fire and Rescue, Hillsboro Fire and Rescue, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, MetroWest Ambulance and the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency. Support also came from the American Red Cross, Clean Water Services, Gaston School District, Hillsboro Water Department, the Joint Water Commission, Stimson Lumber, Tualatin Valley Irrigation District, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Washington County Fire Defense Board, Washington County Animal Services, Washington County Emergency Management, Land Use and Transportation and Public Health.

With help from the Oregon State Fire Marshal, Oregon Department of Forestry and the Governor’s Office, command of the incident transitioned to state incident management teams directing fire suppression operations by state wildland fire fighters from throughout Oregon.

Coordination of this multi-agency effort came from the emergency operations centers that activated at Washington County and at the cities of Cornelius, Forest Grove and Gaston. The federal and state agencies supporting the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center also contributed to the effort.

Created by Scoggins Dam in 1975, Hagg Lake was designed as a reservoir for drinking, agricultural and commercial uses. Through a cooperative agreement with the lake’s owner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Washington County operates Scoggins Valley Park as a site for boating, fishing and other recreational uses.

Contact:
Todd Winter, Scoggins Valley Park Superintendent, 503-357-5732,
Todd_Winter@co.washington.or.us
Philip Bransford, Communications Officer, Washington County Administrative Office, 503-846-8685, Philip_Bransford@co.washington.or.us

Oregon Dept of Forestry Fire Update for Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

New fires
The Jewel Road Fire was reported yesterday burning 7 miles west of Dufur in grass, brush and oak.  6 engines, 2 crews, 2 helicopters and 2 bulldozers responded to this fire, which grew to 33 acres.  The fire is now contained and in mop-up by local unit resources this morning.

Current large fires:

Scoggins Creek Fire
The 211-acre Scoggins Creek Fire burning 2 miles northwest of Hagg Lake near Forest Grove is now 83 percent contained. The Washington County Sheriff’s office will lift all evacuation orders today at 6:00 p.m. The Scoggins  Valley Park at Hagg Lake will reopen to the public on Wednesday (dawn-dusk) except for Boat Ramp C, which will remain closed to support firefighting efforts.

Last night was the final night shift for this incident. The resources assigned to today’s day shift will continue working after the team leaves. The in-coming team will shadow the Team 2 members today for a smooth transition.

Resources assigned:
15 crews, 5 helicopters, 8 engines, 1 bulldozer, 8 water tenders and 467 personnel are assigned to this fire.
Estimated Costs to Date: $1.87 M

Team 2 will transfer the command of the ODF Scoggins Creek fire to ODF Type 3 Team (IC Ennenga) working out of the Oregon Department of Forestry Forest Grove District Office. Official transition will occur Tuesday Sept. 23 at 6:00 p.m. The Transition Team will work to extinguish any remaining hot spots and recover equipment from the fireline. 

The local ODF fire staff will patrol the fire and monitor conditions frequently throughout the remainder of fire season. 100% containment is expected at 6:00 p.m. today.

Fire Information Phone: After today, all media and public inquiries should call 503-846-2999 until Sept. 26th or call the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s Forest Grove office at 503-357-2191.
             
Cooperating Partners:
•           Washington Co. Emergency Operation Center
•           Washington Co. Sheriff
•           American Red Cross
•           Stimson Lumber Co. 
•           Gaston RFPD
•           Forest Grove FD
•           Washington Co. Fire Defense Board Chief

For More Information:


Twitter: @scogginsfire 
#ScogginsCreekFire

InciWeb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4119/
Evacuations:  Washington County Sheriff’s office at:  503-846-2999 or Twitter: @forestgrovefire

ABOUT THIS UPDATE

ODF is responsible for fire protection on about 16 million acres of private and state-owned forest and grazing land, and certain other public forestlands including those owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in western Oregon. Fires may cross ownerships, and because of the need to share firefighting resources, agencies work closely together.

This update focuses primarily on firefighting activity on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands involving fires 10 acres or larger in size or of other significance. It also reports on ODF’s major actions as a partner with other agencies.

FIRES ON OTHER JURISDICTIONS IN OREGON
More information on these fires can be found at: http://nwccweb.us/index.aspx and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/

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

OTHER FIRE INFORMATION & LINKS

ODF maintains a blog at http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/. It includes breaking news on wildfires that occur on ODF’s fire protection jurisdiction and also fires on other lands that potentially threaten , along with current fire statistics, and a frequently updated Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/ORDeptForestry.

 
For information on wildfires in other jurisdictions within Oregon, go to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, http://www.nwccweb.us/ and to the national Incident Information System website at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/. Statewide air quality index readings are available at http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx.

NEWS MEDIA
News media may call the Fire Information Duty Officer, (see below), 24/7 for fire information. The duty officer will call back promptly. Media may also call the Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters office, 503-945-7200, weekdays during business hours.
Cynthia Orlando (through 9/28) (503)945-7421 / (503) 510-7972
 

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

Extremely dry conditions exist across most forestlands in Oregon currently. Large wildfires to date this season have been both lightning- and human-caused.

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.

Followers

About Me

My Photo
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.