WILLAMINA CREEK FIRE UPDATE – 08-23-15

News Release from Oregon Dept. of Forestry – Posted on FlashAlert: August 23rd, 2015 11:03 AM
Oregon Department of Forestry
West Oregon District – Dallas Unit

Fire Information number: (503) 934-8153

9 a.m.

Special message:
Smoke drifting into the Willamette Valley from the fires in the intermountain west continues today. The Willamina Creek Fire is producing minimal smoke compared to the large influx of smoke from the east side of the Cascades. The smoke from the large wildfires of the west serves as a vivid reminder of the intensity of this fire season. While the smoke is a nuisance and a health risk to residents here, it pales in comparison to the homes, livelihoods and lives lost to those immense wildfires. We remain aware of the harsh reality of this incredible fire season. Our thoughts are with those affected by fire here at home, and across the west.

Current Situation:
Winds over the fire yesterday were minimal which helped firefighters make good progress on containment. During the day, crews focused on reinforcing the lines by hand and with bulldozers and running hose around the entire fire perimeter. Tree felers worked in the fire area removing hazard trees and snags in order to help keep firefighters safe. Hand-held infrared cameras were used last night to locate and mark hot spots along the fire perimeter that need to be mopped up. Nearly 30,000 feet of hose has been installed in the fire area which fire crews will be using to continue mopping up 100 percent of the fire.

Please remember that the fire area remains closed to public access. Roads are very narrow with few turnouts. Rolling debris and downed trees add to the traffic hazard. One road block is in place on Willamina Creek Road north of the junction with Coast Creek Road. Another road block is in place at the northern junction of Willamina Creek and East Creek Road near Peavine Road. Fire managers would, again, like to thank the Yamhill County CERT program for generously volunteering their time to staff the road block. Ensuring non-fire traffic is held out of the fire area helps to keep everyone safe.

The Willamina Creek Fire is currently estimated to be 230 acres and is 20 percent contained. GPS data have been collected from the entire fire perimeter, which helped to refine and improve the map and gain more accuracy on the acreage measurement. The fire is burning in heavy fuels on high-value timberland owned by the BLM and private industrial forestland owners.

Weather and Fire Behavior:
The weather forecast for today calls again for hot and dry conditions in the fire area with the potential for gusty winds in the afternoon. Cooler temperatures are expected to return on Monday. Temperatures today should be between 86 and 89 degrees with 28-33 percent relative humidity.

Fire Statistics

Location: approx. 9 miles north of Willamina, OR

Percent contained: 20%

Size: 230 acres

Cause: under investigation
Start Date: 8/19/15, approximately 5 p.m.

Wildland resources assigned to the fire include (day and night shifts): 16 hand crews, 11 engines, 4 dozers, 12 water tenders, and overhead personnel.

Air resources: 1 Type 2 helicopter

Total personnel: 266

Cost estimate to date: $650,000

Evacuations and closures:
Four cabins along East Creek Road remain under a Level 3 evacuation. Willamina Creek Road and East Creek Road are closed north of the junction with Coast Creek Road.

Places to get information:

ODF Fire Blog – wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/

Facebook – www.facebook.com/oregondepartmentofforestry

Twitter – twitter.com/ORDeptForestry