Fire Report - 9/24
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Significant fires with high activity levels in Oregon and Northern California from Redding on up will be reported on and updated daily. Significant fires are those of 100 acres or more in timber, or 300 acres or more in grass.
HIGH CASCADES COMPLEX - INCLUDES THE BLANKET CREEK, SPRUCE LAKE, NORTH PELICAN, BROKEN LOOKOUT, AND PUP FIRES - 79,870 acres, 32 percent containment for complex. The complex is on the High Cascades Ranger District of the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest and Crater Lake National Park. Lightning storms in late July and early August ignited the fires in the complex. The fires are burning in timber, high alpine meadows, and burn scars from past fires. These have brush fields and standing snags in them. The High Cascades Complex is now being managed as two Zones. The West Zone consists of the Broken Lookout and Pup Fires under the command of a Northwest type 2 IMT with Shawn Sheldon the IC. The East Zone is comprised of the Spruce Lake, Blanket Creek and North Pelican Fires and will be managed by a Great Basin Region type 2 IMT led by Tim Roide as the IC. Fire behavior was minimal with creeping and smoldering.
The High Cascades Complex consists of 20 fires located within Crater Lake National Park, the Rogue River/Siskiyou National Forest on the High Cascades Ranger District, the Umpqua National Forest, Tiller Ranger District, and the Fremont/Winema National Forest in the Sky Lakes wilderness. Thirteen of these fires have been contained and are in patrol status. The remaining 7 are being managed with a full suppression strategy.
The North Entrance Road of Crater Lake National Park is now closed for the season due to winter weather conditions
The West Rim Drive is open. Please watch out for fire fighters and fire fighting equipment. All concession operations remain operational for visitors to the Park.
WEST ZONE: Firefighters continue to make progress securing the edges of the Broken Lookout and Pup Fires today. Chippers are being utilized to remove slash on many of the major road systems along the fire perimeter including the 700, 800 and 2925 roads. Work also includes masticating with large machinery and pruning trees by hand to reduce ladder fuels. Additionally, firefighters are knocking out lingering hot spots on the Pup Fire; there is still remnant heat from burn-out operations pushing directly against the fire line on the east side.This morning, fire managers thanked firefighters for their efforts. “The firefighters have done a great job with suppression working in tough conditions, “said Deputy Incident Commander Ken Paul. “I toured the fire area yesterday and I am really proud of the hard work.”In addition to wrapping up suppression tasks and chipping, firefighters have started rehabilitation work along some roads and fire lines. This involves cleaning out ditches and reinforcing hand line and dozer line with erosion control measures. It is important work to accomplish before wet winter weather arrives.
Weather: A warming and drying trend begins today that could continue for the next week. Temperatures will rebound into the 70s and 80s by next Wednesday. Light winds from the North-Northeast will gradually bring the relative humidity down to 35-40% in the fire area.
Closures: New closure orders were issued on Friday by both the Umpqua and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests.
The closure order that had closed the entirety of the RRSNF administered portion of the Sky Lakes Wilderness has been rescinded, and the closure area has been greatly reduced to allow for access into the southern portion of the wilderness.
The northern portion of the RRSNF-administered side of the Sky Lakes Wilderness, closest to the boundary with Crater Lake National Park, remains closed, as does the entirety of the Prospect OHV Trail System.
The area closure on the Tiller RD will remain the same with an additional closure of Forest Road 2823 (Castle Rock Road) due to active fire suppression efforts in the northern portion of the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness. All Forest Service closures are still in effect until further notice. Many other road, trail, and area closures remain in place for the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness and surrounding lands on both the Umpqua and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests. Also, with changing weather, various restrictions have been removed or relaxed. Forest visitors should familiarize themselves with these changes before venturing into the area. For information about closures and restrictions visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/5503/ or your local Forest office.
EAST ZONE: The High Cascades Complex East Zone includes the Spruce Lake, Blanket Creek, and North Pelican fires.
Firewood: Beginning today, the public will be able to cut firewood from the log pile located at the Junction of Cold Springs Rd. and Hwy 140. The Klamath Ranger District wants to remind the public to be careful in the area as fire repair operations still continue and heavy equipment will be using the road. A firewood permit is required.
North Pelican (3,589 acres, 73% contained) Crews finished grading Cold Springs Road and started chipping efforts along NF Road 350. Excavators began working on Rock Creek Lookout Road today and will continue to repair areas damaged in firefighting operations.
Blanket Creek (33,322 acres, 23% contained) Crews removed the protective covering surrounding Bessie’s Cabin and repaired handline around the structure. Chipping occurred on NF Road 547. Crews will continue chipping and pulling hose for the next few days along the northwest perimeter of the fire.
Spruce Lake (15,826 acres and 22% contained) Two hand crews continued to remove snags and other vegetation from the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to access and rehab the southern handline from the Forest Service boundary to Copeland Creek.
Closures: Weather conditions and limited fire behavior has allowed the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest’s High Cascades Ranger District to modify its fire closure areas. The new closure information is available online at:https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5503. The National Park Service has also lifted the level 1 evacuation notice for Mazama Village.
If you are a resource manager, logistics, operations, or command on this incident, there is something you are going to want to check out to aid you in fighting this fire. And, it is fully MIST protocol compliant. Click here to learn more. Resources assigned include; 24 hand crews, 20 engines, 16 water tenders, and 5 bulldozers. 5 helicopters are assigned.
Level 1 Evacuation for Breitenbush Hot Springs area
On Tues. Sept 19, in cooperation with fire officials, the Marion County Sheriff's Office and Marion County Emergency Management, the decision was made to move the Breitenbush Hot Springs and the Breitenbush summer homes to a level 1 or a ready evacuation state. Recent rainfall has reduced the fire danger, however residents should be cautious when returning home. The continued forecast has called for additional rains and the potential for mudslides in the area. The Breitenbush area will remain in a level 1 or ready state until the fire danger is no longer of concern which will most likely be sometime this fall or winter. The Marion County Sheriff's Office would like to thank all of the personnel involved in the firefighting efforts during the Whitewater, Little Devil and Scorpion fires in Marion County.
For the most up to date information on Marion County evacuations please go to the Alerts and Emergency tab on the Marion County web page or call the Marion County Sheriff's Office T (503) 588-5108.
General Information: Saturday, crews continued to make progress on suppression repairs, including cutting stumps low to the ground along Forest Service Road 46, removing timber slash, chipping branches and clearing debris from roads. The drier weather is allowing dirt roads and constructed fire lines to dry out, which then permits crews to access areas for suppression repair. This includes adding water bars into roadways and hillsides to minimize water runoff and erosion. Crews continue to stage and remove equipment from the fire line. As progress on the Whitewater Fires increases, suppression personnel will begin to demobilize.
There has been a noticeable increase in local traffic since Friday. Please drive cautiously as road surfaces and shoulders may be soft, and firefighters, equipment, logging trucks and debris will be on roadways. Hunters should be aware that fire crews may be working in the area.
The strategy for managing this fire is focused on protecting the communities of Breitenbush/ Devil Creek, the high voltage power lines critical to the northwest power grid, private timberlands to the west, with the highest priority being firefighter and public safety. As field conditions improve, firefighters will move to areas away from paved and dirt roads. Crews will continue to focus on repairing suppression efforts until air operations and field observers are able to identify active fire areas that require attention.
Whitewater Fire: 11,493 acres, 64% contained. Fire crews completed work tying in hand line along the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition, firefighters worked on suppression repairs throughout the day clearing debris from roadways and ditches. Chipping small trees and branches continues as part of the repair process.
Little Devil Fire: 2,162 acres, 17% contained. Crews continue repair work along roads, on turnouts and improvements essential for repair of the primary lines. Despite the heavy rains and snow over the last few days, smoke and some heat was detected on the Little Devil Fire within the northwest perimeter where it remains in check.
Scorpion Fire: 695 acres, 16% contained. Firefighters are working to finalize the repair work on the Scorpion Fire which includes chipping operations. The goal is to complete repair work by Monday. At that point, the Scorpion Fire will then go into patrol status. The fire continues to hold between the east and west flanks, above Forest Service Road 46 and away from the power lines.
The Wilderness Fires including Claggett Lake, Slideout and Section Line Fires. Air operations flew the Wilderness Fires, located in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area yesterday. No smoke was observed on the Slideout and Section Line Fires. There was some smoke along the southwest quadrant of the Claggett Fire. The Claggett Fire poses no threat in movement. All three fires are heavily surrounded by snow.
Air Quality: Air quality reported from Air Now http://www.airnow.gov/
Weather: A warming and drying trend gained momentum Saturday with the help of a few sun breaks and building high pressure. This was the first day since last weekend with no precipitation of any amount. Sunny skies, warmer days, gentle breezes and no rain are predicted for today and through next Thursday with temperatures in the mid-40s to lower 60s. Today and through early next week, cloud cover and relative humidity will decrease while temperatures increase.
Fire Behavior: Minimal fire spread is expected due to recent rain and snow. Fire activity will be limited to smoldering in the needle litter and duff. As forest debris dries out over the week, fires will creep and spread a little in some areas. Ridgetops and higher slopes will dry first.
Resources on the Willamette Fires include: 8hand crews, 8 engines, 6 water tenders, and 14 bulldozers. 1 air attack aircraft is assigned to the fire, but there are no helicopters assigned at this time.
HORSE CREEK COMPLEX - Olallie Lookout Fire, 1,572 acres; Roney Fire, 3,548 acres; Avenue Fire, 3,398 acres; Separation Fire, 17,914 acres; Nash Fire, 6,738 acres, Rebel Fire: 8,703 acres . The complex is under the command of an Alaska type IMT I with Tom Kurth the IC. The cause of the fires is believed to be lightning. The fires are burning in timber. There has been minimal fire behavior with creeping and smoldering.
Highway 242 is closed between McKenzie Bridge and Sisters.
Today’s forecast, unlike the past six days, promises to be rain and snow free with sunny skies and temperatures rising into the low 50s; light and variable winds will dominate the valleys and ridges. This trend in temperature rise will continue into next week with daytime highs in the mid to upper 60s. Relative humidity levels will fall into the 20 to 40 percent range as a drier air mass moves into the region. This warming and drying trend will do little to markedly increase fire behavior given forest fuel moisture levels have substantially increased from this week’s rain and snow events.
Next Steps: The weather continues to accommodate suppression repair on the Horse Creek Complex and Rebel Fire. Partly cloudy to sunny skies with temperatures climbing into the 60s are forecast for today, accompanied by lower humidity levels. The warming and drying trend will continue through the week. The remaining fires may smolder and smoke a bit more with improving weather; however, fires are not expected to move as all fuel types have sufficiently moistened.
Next Steps: Suppression repair continues with chipping, hazardous tree falling, and removal of salvageable timber. As chipping progresses to a third day, crews use the experience gained to improve efficiency and speed up the process. Continued drying of soils will allow repair work on dozer and hand lines to be completed on a similar schedule. With suppression repair in high gear, firefighting personnel and their equipment are being demobilized and made available for other wildfires still burning in the Pacific Northwest or to get some needed rest.
Current Situation: On the Rebel Fire, salvage logging is nearly complete. The dozer and hand lines installed on the Avenue Fire will continue to dry out this weekend, and repair work will commence early next week. Hand lines are being stabilized on the northwest side of the Separation Fire. North of the fire, crews are using trails to retrieve pumps and hoses at Camp Melakwa. Northeast of the Separation Fire, chipping operations bordering Highway 242 will be completed this weekend.
Fire monitoring and suppression actions continue. Firefighters are monitoring the Olallie Lookout Fire and Roney Fire located in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. The remaining fires that threatened critical values such as homes, roads and utilities are being patrolled by hand crews and are being mopped up as needed. A recent infrared flight was used to detect heat that is checked on the ground to ensure it is no longer a threat. The IR flight was also used to update fire acreage. Any increase in fire size noted in today’s update likely happened before the start of this week’s precipitation, given the last IR flight occurred September 15.
National Forest Closure Orders: Closures are still in place on both National Forests. Current information about closures on the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests is available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/willamette/fire/?cid=fseprd552029
http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/Deschutes/alerts-notices. Fire restrictions have been lifted in Willamette and Deschutes National Forests, and campfires are now allowed.
Flight Restrictions: A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) remains in place over the fires to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft operations. It is not legal to operate any aircraft (including drones) within a TFR. More information on the TFR is available at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html.
Resources assigned to the complex include; 5 hand crews, 15 engines, 1 skidgine, and 3 water tenders are working. 1 helicopter is assigned.
KELSEY CREEK FIRE and JONES FIRE. The Kelsey Creek Fire is441 acres, 15 percent contained. The fire is burning on the Willamette National Forest 11 miles east of Oakridge in Lane County. The Jones Fire is 10,220 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning on the Willamette National Forest 10 miles northeast of Lowell in Lane County. The fires are under the command of a Northwest type 2 IMT with Eric Knerr the IC. The cause of the fires is lightning. The fires are burning in timber. Fire behavior was minimal with creeping and smoldering. Rain was reported.
The rain continued to fall in the Jones and Kelsey Fire areas yesterday creating hazardous conditions for firefighters. Since Monday some areas have received as much as 2-3 inches of precipitation. This has made for slippery, impassible roads, difficulty in hiking steep rocky terrain, and increased danger from fire weakened trees.
Yesterday’s Activity - On the Jones Fire, mop up, equipment removal and chipping operations continued around the fire. On the Kelsey Fire, rapellers created a helispot at the southern edge of the fire and began building fireline to the northwest along the ridge. Simultaneously, hotshot crews worked along the soutwest edge of the fire south towards the rapellers. Another group of rapellers worked the northwestern edge of the fire toward Kelsey Creek.
Today’s Operations - Firefighters on the Jones Fire will continue to brush and chip the western edge of the fire prior to commencing fireline repair work mid-week. Crews will continue to search for hotspots near the fire’s edge and remove any unnecessary equipment. On the Kelsey Fire, firefighters will continue to build fireline on the south and western edges of the fire. Helicopters will support firefighters with bucket work as needed.
Weather and Fire Behavior – Progressive warming and drying will continue under a high pressure pattern. Winds will be light, with fog in the morning and temperatures in the upper 60’s to low 70’s during the day. Minimal spread of fire is expected due to continuing cool and damp conditions. The fires will continue to smolder and creep under the timber canopy. Isolated heavy forest fuels (logs, stumps, deep duff) will continue to burn and hold heat until late into the Fall/Winter.
Closures: Forest visitors should familiarize themselves with the area closure orders before venturing into the vicinity. See below for detailed maps at:
Jones Fire - https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/5494/
Kelsey Fire - https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/5619/
Forest Closure Information (Roads, Campgrounds, Trails): https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - Humboldt, Del Norte, Shasta, Trinity, Lassen, Modoc, and Siskiyou Counties -
BUCK FIRE - 4,850 acres, 10 percent contained. The fire is burning on the Shasta Trinity National Forest 12 miles southwest of Plantina in Shasta County. The fire is under the command of the Shasta Trinity National Forest. The cause of the fire is lightning. The fire is burning in grass and timber. Fire behavior was moderate with isolated torching, flanking, and backing
Current Fire Situation: Yesterday’s northeast winds resulted in more active fire behavior. The fire is advancing downslope with single tree torching. Large diameter dead and down trees are being fully consumed. Higher elevations of the fire are still under cloud cover with light precipitation, however, lower elevations are drying out and beginning to readily consume. To the north, the fire has reached the Forest Service Road 28N10 in two locations with a majority of the fire being downslope of the road and continuing to close in along the road edge. Fire crews have begun and will continue to improve lines and implement tactics to keep the fire south of the road. On the southeast flank, crews are spiking out, or staying in the field overnight, to minimize drive times and increase productivity. The time saved is being used to build a direct hand line on the southeast edge of the fire. The fire is contained on the southern edge east of Hermit Rock. Fire resources continue to monitor the area for heat signatures, or spots using a helicopter equipped with an infrared camera. On the western flank, crews have completed preparations of confinement operations. Firefighters will continue to monitor all primary confinement lines and further develop plans to attack and establish control of fire activity wherever possible.
Containment vs. Confinement: Containment is a direct action where crews remove vegetation next to the fires edge, creating a fireline. With no additional fuel to consume, the fire remains within the established fireline. Confinement is the process of keeping the fire within a predetermined and safe location by creating and or improving man-made, such as roads and trails, or natural features to stop the growth of a wildland fire. The fire meets the line and given the right conditions, the line will then stop the spread of the fire.
Weather and Smoke: A warming and drying trend is expected to continue to build and remain in the area through the early week. Temperatures will be 63 to 67 with relative humidity values at 26 to 29%. Northeast winds will increase to 8-13 miles per hour with gusts to 19 miles per hour. Trinity and Humboldt County air quality information can be found on the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District at http://www.ncuaqmd.org/.
For Tehama County air quality information, visit the Tehama County Air Pollution Control District at http://www.tehcoapcd.net/.
Forest Road/Trail/Area Closure Order: A Forest order for the area of the Buck Fire goes into effect on September 16. Please see the "maps" tab for a closure map and "closures" tab for the full text of the closure order. We advise visitors and hunters to remain vigilant and aware of fire activity in the forest.
Fire Restrictions: Despite cooler temperatures, fire restrictions remain in effect on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Please check https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/stnf/alerts-notices for more information.
Resources assigned include; 11 hand crews, 19 engines, 5 water tenders, and 16 bulldozers. 3 helicopters are assigned to the fire.
ECLIPSE COMPLEX - INCLUDES THE CEDAR, OAK, FOUR MILE, AND YOUNG FIRES - Last report unless signifcant activity occurs - 100,065 acres, 51 percent contained at last report. The complex is burning on the Klamath National Forest east of Happy Camp and in the north side of the Seiad Valley in Siskyou County. The complex is under the command of a type 2 IMT with Chris Fogle as IC. The cause of the fires is lightning. The fires are burning in grass and timber. Fire behavior was minimal with creeping, smoldering, and slow rate backing.
The Eclipse Complex fires were minimally active across the complex yesterday. Containment lines along Horse Creek, the east side of the Abney fire, will continue to be strengthened and patrolled. All other fire areas are being monitored as firefighters back-haul equipment and trash and identify dozer-lines and hand-lines requiring suppression repair. A suppression repair plan has been developed, with the assistance of cultural and resource advisors, for each area. Half of the suppression repair work in the Complex will be completed by 6PM today.
The Klamath National Forest will be managing the portion of the Complex area that burned within its boundaries. A local Type 3 Team is in place and will take over management of the fire at 6PM today. On the west side of the Oak fire, the Six Rivers National Forest has a similar Type 3 Team taking over at 6PM today to complete suppression repair of its land. Both Forests will continue to monitor the Complex until the fires are out.SoCal Team 1, a Type 2 Team, has been in place for 2 weeks and is rotating out. We have enjoyed the serving the local communities and have appreciated your support and interest. Please have safe and quiet fall and winter seasons.
Fire Area Closure Orders: Emergency closures have been implemented for roads and trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail, near many of the wildfires, closing them to public entry to provide for safety. Additional information about the closures and fires is available on Inciweb at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/5511 and at key locations in Happy Camp, Seiad Valley and Gasquet.
Fire Restrictions Lifted: Fire restrictions have been lifted on the Klamath National Forest. Forest visitors may now have campfires, use camp stoves and smoke. A California Campfire Permit is required in order to have a campfire. Contractors and others may now use welding equipment and generators.
Wildfires are a “No Drone Zone.” If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of this area. For more information, visit knowbeforeyoufly.org.
Resources assigned to the fire include; 8 hand crews, 10 engines, water tenders, and bulldozers. 4 helicopters will be working as well when conditions allow.
ORLEANS COMPLEX - Last report unless significant activity occurs - 27,276 acres, with 66 percent containment for the complex total. The complex is on the Six Rivers National Forest. A type II IMT has command of the Complex with Deron Mills the IC. The Orleans Complex is a group of fires started by lightning nearest to Orleans. The fires are burning in timber. Some of which are in difficult to access terrain. Fire activity has been minimal with backing, creeping, and smoldering. Rain has been reported.
The Orleans Complex acreage is unchanged at 27,276 acres. The Haypress Fire, the largest in the complex, is 85% complete.The other fires within the complex are 100% complete. Fire crews continue to take advantage of favorable weather conditions to finish direct lines and continue suppression repair. Resources that are excess to the incident and not needed for suppression repair are being demobilized.
Safety:Fire personnel would like to remind the public that hunting season has started. Contact your local ranger station for current hunting information. Motorists traveling on State Highway 96 are cautioned that there will still be numerous firefighting vehicles on the roadway. Please drive with care.
Weather: Temperatures will rise approximately 5 degrees per day and humidity will drop into early next week. Winds are predicted to be terrain driven and light. No critical fire weather is expected.
Closures: Effective September 23, all forest closure orders around the Ukonom and Haypress Fires on the #OrleansComplex of the Ukonom District are terminated.Firefighters and equipment are still working on mop up and fire suppression repair operations in many areas of the fires.
Fire Restrictions: The Six Rivers National Forest remains under fire restrictions to provide for public and resource safety (http://bit.ly/2wfQ7Ed).
Resources assigned include; 11 hand crew, 17 engines, water tenders, and bulldozers have been assigned. 3 helicopters are working the complex.