JOHN DAY, Ore. –A Type I Incident Management Team (Beth Lund) and a State Fire Marshall Red Team (Jim Walker) arrived today and will assume management of the Canyon Creek Complex under unified command tomorrow at 6:00 a.m.
“We appreciate the efforts that the local Fire Departments, Grant County, Deschutes County and Oregon State Troopers have made to help the local communities during a very challenging time. We look forward to working with the federal and state teams who have arrived to help,” said Malheur National Forest Supervisor Steve Beverlin.
The Canyon Creek Complex started on August 12, 2015 due to lightning. 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 34,000 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,” added 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 providing point protection in areas where structures and fuels are present, 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 Sunday, August 16 at 4:00 p.m. at Grant Union High School old gym.
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
Nans Rock Rd
Pine Creek – Gravel Pit, North
Dog Creek-north of Marysville
West Bench Rd
American Red Cross shelter has been staged at the Mt. Vernon Community Center.
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.
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.