Making significant headway connecting the Stouts Creek Fire’s control lines Sunday night, firefighters finished burning out an area along the fire’s north and east sides along Hatchet Creek. Other crews along the Tiller-Trail Highway from milepost 30 to 35 crews walked the fire down to the control lines. They now will begin strengthening those lines. Heavy equipment operators maneuvered a half-dozen pieces of equipment along Forest Road 2301 to strengthen that contingency line overnight.
Type 2 Initial Attack (T2IA) crews from Oregon, Massachusetts, Ohio and West Virginia with expertise conducting burnout operations and falling large trees arrived last night. These crews are heading to the fire line today for operations the south and east sides of the fire. The Santa Fe Hot Shots will attempt a burnout operation about one mile north of Cow Creek Road near Beaver Creek.
The Incident Meteorologist reported a Red Flag Warning because of lightning potential which might be accompanied by rain, wind gusts and hail during the next 24 hours. He called for wind shifts from the south and southeast this morning to the west and northwest this afternoon. As crews continue conducting burns over the next few days and weeks to contain the fire residents, will see more smoke.
Today’s work will focus on strengthening lines along the southern part of the fire to prepare for a large burn. Forest Roads 32, 3201 and 3230 would be used to hold a fairly large burnout planned for next week.
Those with health concerns should talk to their doctor or go to www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com where there is information on wildfires and health as well as access to AQI monitors. Motorists are urged to be careful driving through smoke on the roads, and turn on their low beam headlights. Residents and travelers also are asked to not stop along Tiller-Trail Highway to view fire or helicopter activity as traffic is heavy with response vehicles.
Evacuation levels remain unchanged. Drew is the only area on evacuation Level II from milepost 28 through milepost 39. The Douglas County Sheriff’s office is monitoring that designation.
The Stouts Creek Fire costs to date are $17 million. The state and national teams leading the effort under unified command are protecting lands that are about 50 percent on state protected lands, which include BLM and private lands, and 50 percent on the Umpqua National Forest. The fire is being managed cooperatively by the Oregon Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service. The Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team 1 develops and leads the wildland fire suppression strategy.