News Release from Oregon Dept. of Forestry – Posted on FlashAlert: August 16th, 2015 2:07 PM
FIRES CURRENTLY BURNING ON ODF-PROTECTED LANDS
The Eldorado Fire reported Friday morning 8 miles southeast of Unity, Oregon is burning on Oregon Department of Forestry private lands, Vale BLM and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lands.
With an abundance of fire activity taking place in the northwest, firefighting resources are hard to come by. Firefighters are attacking the fire with what night Operations Section Chief Eric Perkins has coined as an “Engine Brigade.”
The night shift on this fire was composed of three division supervisors and six engine crews. Fire officials are hopeful in obtaining additional personnel and equipment in the next couple of days.
The fire currently stands at 18,600 acres with zero percent containment.
Firefighters on the Eldorado Fire hope to take advantage of moderate weather conditions forecasted over the next few days.
The fire started Friday morning and, pushed by high winds through the Eldorado Pass, grew to more than 10,000 acres in less than 24 hours. Lighter winds and cooler temperatures have allowed crews to gain a foothold in several areas.
The fire lies on the north and south side of Highway 26 between Unity and Ironside, two small communities south of Baker City in eastern Oregon. While fire activity is greatest south of Highway 26 near Ironside Mountain, firefighters are securing containment lines and mopping up on the north side of the highway. Today’s plan is to continue to work the fire to the south into areas with lighter fuels, like grass and sage brush, where containment objectives can be better achieved.
Resources: 161 personnel including 2 crews, 12 engines, 7 bulldozers, 3 helicopters, 0 air tankers
Smith’s Type 1 ODF IMT assumed command of the incident at 10:00 yesterday.
Highway 26, which is now open to motorists, splits the fire with much of the activity burning toward the south in the Ironside Mountain area. While the fire to the north and northeast of the highway is looking good, firefighters plan to work the south and southeast edges near Rose Creek Road, where suppression efforts will be more effective in lighter fuels such as grass and sage brush.
The following evacuation level notifications remain in effect.
Level 1 (Ready): Shirts Creek; Job Creek and south of Job Creek Road; East of Bull Run Road; and south of Campbell Lane.
Level 2 (Set): Dry Gulch area and Ripley Gulch area.
Level 3 (Go): Beam Creek area; Eldorado Ditch area; Long Creek area (Baker County); Long Creek Reservoir; and Camp Creek south of Highway 26.
Cooperating agencies on the fire include the Oregon Department of Forestry, Ironside Rangeland Protection Association, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Cause is under investigation.
ESTIMATED COST TO DATE: $134,000
BAKER CITY JOINT INFORMATION CENTER (JIC) (541) 523-2905
Ready Set Go: www.wildlandfirersg.org
> The Canyon Creek Complex started on August 12, 2015 due to lightning. The Canyon Creek Complex is comprised of the Berry Creek and Mason Springs Fires.
Yesterday, the fire grew rapidly, fueled by wind, terrain and drought conditions. Extreme fire behavior was observed, with spotting two to four miles in front of the main fire. The fire grew quickly from 500 acres to an estimated 37,119 acres, burning a number of structures in the process. “We are saddened by this huge loss to the community; our hearts go out to all the families and friends,” said Malheur National Forest Supervisor Steve Beverlin.
Firefighters are challenged to make a full assessment of the number of structures burned due to wooden bridges that have likely been compromised by the fire activity. In the meantime, firefighting efforts are focused on utilizing burnout operations when possible. On the north flank of the fire, dozer and retardant line is in place behind houses. “We are working through the night and staying engaged,” said Roy Walker, Malheur Forest Fire Management Officer. Planned helicopter burnout operations were put on hold today due to the smoke inversion. A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire area.
A community meeting is scheduled for today, August 16 at 4:00 p.m. at Grant Union High School old gym.
Local, state and federal firefighters continue to actively fight the fire, reinforced by structural fire engines to provide community and structure protection. Firefighting resources were provided an early morning briefing by the incoming state and federal firefighting teams in the sale barn at the Grant County Fairgrounds.
“As we work in this incredibly resilient community we recognize local responders and the public who worked to help friends and neighbors through this very difficult event with limited resources. We will be here for as long as it takes to ensure that you have the support you need moving forward,” said Oregon State Fire Marshal and Red Team Incident Commander Jim Walker.
Both of the Incident Commanders stressed the importance of working together with the local resources. Two incident management teams: a federal wildland firefighting team, and an Oregon State Fire Marshal’s team, are managing the Canyon Creek Complex under unified command as of 6 a.m. this morning.
“We are working with local leaders to support the community and responders. Today’s priority is for a safe and organized transition. We are assessing the fire situation and building on the long standing relationships in this community,” added Great Basin Team 1 Incident Commander Beth Lund.
Approximately 300 firefighters are currently assigned and more are anticipated to arrive to assist with the Canyon Creek Complex. Air tankers provided good support to the fire operations yesterday, and the lack of a smoke inversion this morning allowed helicopter operations to get an early start today providing support to ground operations.
Today, the fire is most active in the southeast corner in the Strawberry Wilderness. Fire managers cautioned firefighters that potential rapid growth of spot fires may occur with exposure to predicted gusty winds. Equipment operators have been requested to fill up tanks prior to leaving town to minimize impacts to water sources, and to notify local land managers of stray livestock in an effort to assist permittees.
A number of communities remain under Level 3 and Level 2 evacuations:
Level 3: Dog Creek-south of Marysville
Pine Creek – Gravel Pit, South
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
American Red Cross shelter has been staged at the Mt. Vernon Community Center at 640 Ingle Street.
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.
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.
The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) is increased the National Fire Preparedness Level (PL) to its highest point, PL-5, effective at 5:30 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Thursday, August 13. The last time that the National Preparedness Level was raised to 5 was on August 20, 2013. The National Preparedness Level remained at 5 for 7 days until it was dropped to 4 on August 26, 2013. This is the fifth time that PL-5 has been reached in the last ten years.
> The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) has increased the National Fire Preparedness Level (PL) to its highest point, PL-5, effective at 5:30 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Thursday, August 13.
> The last time that the National Preparedness Level was raised to 5 was on August 20, 2013. The National Preparedness Level remained at 5 for 7 days until it was dropped to 4 on August 26, 2013. This is the fifth time that PL-5 has been reached in the last ten years.
> Cornet-Windy Ridge Complex
The lightning-caused Windy Ridge Fire (ODF Northeast Oregon District – Baker Sub-Unit) located 4 miles west of Durkee first reported August 11 has merged with the lightning-caused Cornet Fire (ODF Northeast Oregon District – Baker Sub-unit) to form the Cornet-Windy Ridge Complex. The fire has been burning on ODF-protected lands, U.S.F.S. and B.L.M. in brush, grass and timber. The terrain on the fire is rugged and steep and ground crews have trouble accessing certain areas. This has necessitated aggressive air suppression including single engine air tankers (SEATs), helicopters and heavy air tankers, though increasingly scarce resources are straining air support.
Favorable night weather conditions allowed fire fighters to conduct burn out operations that were successful in the north portions of the fire. Crews continue to patrol and hold lines while mopping up around structures. Today’s weather conditions are mostly sunny with west to northwest winds up to 7 mph and afternoon gusts of 15 mph. These weather conditions will allow for another favorable day for fire fighting efforts.
Resources: A partial list of resources includes 14 crews, 4 helicopters, 19 fire engines as well as Southwest Incident Management Team-Mark Ruggiero and
Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office-Ted Kunze.
Area Fire Closures:
OR-245 remains closed. As of this morning, Highways- 7 and Interstate-84 are open
A forest closure order is in place for the area around the Cornet/Windy Ridge Fire.
Please see the link to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Website http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/wallowa-whitman/home
Public Safety: the public should be cautious when driving; crews and equipment are working near and along the roads, and smoke may hinder visibility.
Cornet-Windy Ridge Complex Fire Info
Joint Info Center: 541-523-2905
> The Eagle Creek Complex (Northeast Oregon District – Baker Sub-Unit) reported Tuesday afternoon burning approximately 16 miles northeast of Baker City and 10 miles east of Medical Springs, Oregon, is now approximately 1,700 acres. The fire is burning on U.S.F.S. lands and lands protected by O.D.F. Three fires comprise the complex and are burning on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest as well as private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry.
A level 2 evacuation notice has been sent to residents along Forest Service Road 77 near Tamarack Campground, Bennett Peak and Main Eagle areas associated with the Eagle Complex. A Level 2 evacuation notice means residents should be SET (Ready, Set, Go) to evacuate and continue to closely monitor local media and incident information. Questions regarding evacuation notices and the evacuation process can be directed to the Baker County Emergency Management at 541-523-8200.
An area closure has been implemented for public and firefighter safety. Firefighter and public safety remains the highest priorities.
Structure protection and continued safe fireline operations are planned for Friday. No structures have been burned.
A Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered and will transition over the next couple of days with the current Type 3 team currently working on the Complex.
The fire danger rating has increased to EXTREME and Public Use Restrictions involving campfires and chainsaw use are in effect. For more information about the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s Public Use Restrictions, please contact any forest office, or visit our website at www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/ or on the Blue Mountain Fire Information BlogSpot at http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/.
Eagle Complex Fire Information
> The Stouts Creek Fire (Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) approximately16 miles east of Canyonville near Milo on forestlands protected by DFPA, is currently estimated at approximately 24,471 acres and now estimated at 69 percent containment.
About 35 residents from Azalea and surrounding communities spent part of their Saturday night listening to fire officials and hearing about ongoing burn out operations. Operations Section Chief John Pellisier explained the ongoing burnout operations on the southern end of the fire.
“We have been working for the better part of a week preparing this area for fire. We plan to take a cautious approach, burning out small chunks at a time.” This incremental approach will keep the fire close to the ground and avoid putting large amounts of smoke and ash in the air.
Today’s fire tactics call for continuing the burn out operations on the fire’s southern perimeter and deepening mop up lines on the northern reaches of the fire lines. The next few days should bring higher temperatures and lower humidities which could provide favorable conditions for the burn out operations.
Residents near the communities of Drew and Tiller might see increased smoke over the next few days. Motorists are urged to use caution when driving through smoke, treat it like they would fog and turn on their low-beam headlights. Those with smoke sensitivities should avoid extended exposure to smoky air.
The Stouts Creek Fire has been managed under unified command by Oregon Department of Forestry Team 2 Incident Commander Chris Cline and Forest Service Incident Commander Mike Wilde, since August 13.
Resources:There are 1,441 personnel assigned to the fire with 28 crews, 23 engines, 21 water tenders, 17 bulldozers and 10 helicopters. Numbers of personnel and equipment will continue to shrink as objectives are met and these resources move on to assist with many of the other fires in the state and geographic area.
To date the Stout Creek Fire has cost $29 million. The Incident Management Team is protecting lands that are about 48% on state protected lands, which include BLM and private lands and 52% on the Umpqua National Forest.
Stouts Fire Information
> The Cable Crossing Fire, (Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) burning on DFPA-protected private and public forestlands six miles east of Glide, is currently estimated at 1,857 acres and 85 percent containment. The cause of this fire remains under investigation.
Cable Creek Fire information:
> The Phillips Creek Fire (Northeast Oregon District – LaGrande Unit) located 7 miles northwest of Elgin in northeast Oregon in brush, grass, slash, and heavy timber predominantly on the Umatilla National Forest, has burned 2,601 acres including approximately 435 acres of ODF-protected private forestlands. It is now approximately 94 percent contained and crews continue to do mop up. Unless things change, this will be the last report on this fire.
Phillips Creek Fire Information:
Oregonians are reminded to continue to treat fire season with respect. Everyone is encouraged to follow current fire season restrictions to prevent human caused fires.
> The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) has increased the National Fire Preparedness Level (PL) to its highest point, PL-5, effective at 5:30 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Thursday, August 13. The last time that the National Preparedness Level was raised to 5 was on August 20, 2013. The National Preparedness Level remained at 5 for 7 days until it was dropped to 4 on August 26, 2013. This is the fifth time that PL-5 has been reached in the last ten years.
Residents who live in the wildland urban interface, where communities border forests and grazing lands, should always be prepared before fire threatens. Have a plan that includes making arrangements for persons with special needs, livestock, and pets. Learn more about the Ready Set Go Program at www.wildlandfirersg.org/.
Smoke may persist where wildfires are burning in in Oregon, including times when burn-out firefighting operations are taking place. Stay up-to-date on smoke density and public health advisories, orview and monitor Oregon’s air quality index. Wildfires and severe smoke can create dangerous conditions for people, especially those with chronic health conditions. Learn what you can do to reduce the risk of health effects of wildfire smoke.
News media may call the Fire Information Duty Officer, who is currently Cynthia Orlando, 503-510-7972 (Cell) & 503-945-7421 (office) or any time for fire information. If the duty officer is unable to take your call, you can expect a prompt return call. Media may also call the Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters office, 503-945-7200, weekdays during business hours.
OTHER FIRE INFORMATION
For information on wildfires on all jurisdictions in Oregon, view:
the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, or
the national Incident Information System site.
ODF Social Media sources for information on fires on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands:
the department’s Wildfire blog for news on wildfires statewide and provides current fire statistics
the ODF’s Southwest Oregon District blog with district-specific wildfire information and Twitter feed
the Douglas Forest Protective Association Facebook page and Twitter feed
the Blue Mountain Interagency Wildfire blog for news on wildfires in the Blue Mountains (northeast Oregon)
the ODF Forest Grove District’s Fire blog with district-specific wildfire information
the ODF Central Oregon District’s Twitter feed
ABOUT THIS UPDATE
This update provides information primarily about fires on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands involving fires 10 acres or larger. ODF provides fire protection primarily on private and state-owned forestland. The department also provides fire protection on some other lands, including U.S. Bureau of Land Management land in western Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Forestry works closely with neighbors and partner agencies to support the firefighting efforts on major fires outside its authority because sharing firefighting resources can help better protect all of Oregon’s forests.
Cynthia Orlando, 503-510-7972 (cell) or 503-945-7421 (office)