Canyon Creek Complex Update – Monday, August 17, 2015

Joint Information Center Hotlines:   541-575-3040 or 541-575-3480                       

A community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Grant Union High School’s old gym.

JOHN DAY, Ore. –This fire continues to challenge firefighters due to the extremely dry conditions, rugged terrain and afternoon winds. The Canyon Creek Complex has now burned 40,100 acres. Additional firefighting resources continue to arrive from around the state and country. More than 300 firefighters are currently assigned and more are anticipated to arrive to assist with the Canyon Creek Complex.  

Yesterday air tankers and helicopters supported hand crews as they worked digging fireline in terrain too rugged for bulldozers. Late in the afternoon air tankers were diverted to a new fire that was burning nearby, however helicopters continued fight the fire. Structural firefighters worked to protect homes and to determine the number of houses lost to the fire during the extreme wind event that occurred on Aug. 14..  Fire activity increased on the southern portion of the fire, near Dry Soda Lookout. Firefighters worked through the night to protect houses and to reinforce fireline.  

Sunday afternoon two community meetings were held at the high school.  Community members who have lost homes and property to this fire attended the first meeting and the second meeting provided fire information to the general public. More than 50 people attended the first meeting, and over 220 people attended the second. Available information included the current and expected fire behavior, available resources for relief and recovery and a brief history of the situation. Speakers included local officials and firefighting personnel.

Today, the fire managers expect weather similar to yesterday, however the possibility of unpredictable winds exists. Firefighters continue working to improve total fire containment and line strengthening in the North. Today we will have a special focus with new resources on the South flank where activity is increasing.  Firefighting aircraft will be used aggressively to keep this fire in check, however those resources can be diverted to new fires at a moments notice.

Communities under Level 3 and Level 2 evacuations:

Level 3: Dog Creek-south of Marysville
              Marysville South
              Pine Creek – Gravel Pit, South
              Canyon Creek
              Edgewood Drive    Level 2: Laycock Creek                 Adams Drive
              Nans Rock Rd                   West Bench Rd
              Luce Creek                        Marysville North
              Pine Creek – Gravel Pit, North
              Dog Creek-north of Marysville

An American Red Cross shelter has been established at the Mt. Vernon Community Center at 640 Ingle Street. Donations can be brought to the fairgrounds pavilion between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

The Red Cross is transitioning to providing financial and relief services for displaced residents. Those wishing to make monetary donations on behalf of displaced residents can contact the American Red Cross Mountain River Chapter at redcross.org/cascades or in person at the shelter located on Ingle Street in Mt. Vernon. Other donations are being accepted at the pavilion at the fairgrounds in John Day.

Closures
An emergency fire closure is in effect in the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness area.  A copy of the closure order and map is available at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4495/    Forest Service personnel have assisted with escorting campers and other recreationalists out high-use areas, coordinating with Grant County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies to facilitate the closure.

Additional information on the Canyon Creek Complex can be found on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4495/.

Please be advised of increased fire traffic and smoky conditions throughout the area. Forest officials ask that the public stay clear of all fire activities. Power lines have been damaged by fire and some residents may be using generators. Without an automatic cutoff switch, generators can pose an extreme hazard to power company employees due to back-feeding, please don’t plug generators into the electrical system without an approved cutoff device.

Firefighting resources remain scarce due to the high number of fires burning regionally, however this fire is a very high priority both within the state and nationally. As other incidents wind down fire crews and equipment become available and if requested by commanders they are assigned to the Canyon Creek Complex. Firefighters will continue to work hard until this situation is brought to an end.

Additional fire information can be found at JDIDC – BICC sites online at: http://bicc-jdidc.org/index.shtml.

For more information on the Malheur National Forest, please visit us at www.fs.usda.gov/malheur, follow U.S. Forest Service- Malheur National Forest on Facebook, and follow @MalheurNF on Twitter for all the latest forest news.
To report a fire, contact the John Day Interagency Dispatch Center at 541-575-1321 or the Burns Interagency Communication Center at 541-573-1000.    

Email Address:    canyoncreekcomplex@gmail.com
Facebook:        Great Basin National Incident Management Team 1
Inciweb:        http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4495/