Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Update – Friday, Sept. 22, 2017

Oregon’s fire preparedness level is lowered from the highest level after a record 40-day run 
In recognition of decreasing fire activity and more fire resources being freed up, fire officials at the Northwest Interagency Coordinating Center in Portland have lowered the fire preparedness level for the Pacific Northwest to 4. Only one new fire was reported in Oregon yesterday with zero acres burned.
The move comes after a record-setting 40 days at the highest state of preparedness – Level 5.  The longest previous time at Level 5 was in 2015. The change now matches the national fire preparedness level, which has been at Level 4 since Monday. 

The regional preparedness level being lowered doesn’t mean any lessening in the readiness of firefighting agencies to fight wildfires. Rather, it reflects that available firefighting resources are more closely matching expected demand. The heavy demand this summer for firefighting resources made it necessary to have a high level of interagency and inter-regional coordination. A high preparedness level reflected that complexity in both the Pacific Northwest and nationally.                         
Preparedness levels could drop further after fire officials gauge the impact on firefighting resources from the return of warmer, drier weather over the weekend and into early next week.

For the latest information on restrictions on ODF-protected lands, go to
http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx  or check with your local ODF unit or forest protective association for details.
For photos and more information on wildfires and wildfire readiness, visit ODF’s wildfire blog at http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/.

Updates on existing Oregon wildfires
All but 30 of the 585-acre increase in existing fires in Oregon occurred on just one fire – Chetco Bar. Reduced fire behavior has allowed almost all of Oregon’s existing wildfires to release personnel. The focus on many fires has shifted to retrieving firefighting equipment that is no longer needed, such as hoses, and repairing the impacts of suppression efforts. 

For more information about any wildfires listed below,
please visit: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/Chetco Bar Fire – Curry and Josephine counties
Acres: 191,067             Containment: 94%
Personnel: 1,227           Cause: Lightning
The fire’s size is now reported as more than 191,000 acres, a gain of about 555 acres, making it more than twice as large as the next biggest wildfire this season. Containment remains at 94%. Firefighters are monitoring and patroling the fireline, adding waterbars and retrieving equipment that is no longer needed. Fire behavior is mainly limited to smoldering. For more information, please visit Inciweb: Chetco Bar Fire
Desolation Fire  – Ochoco National Forest
Acres: 4,512                 Containment: 25%
Personnel: 79               Cause: Under investigation
This size and containment of this fire about 20 miles northeast of Prineville in Crook County remains unchanged. For more information, visit Inciweb: Desolation Fire

Eagle Creek Fire – Columbia River Gorge
Acres: 48,668               Containment: 46%
Personnel: 158              Cause: Human
Rain – up to six inches at higher elevations – has helped check the fire’s growth and cool hot spots. Crews continue to haul away equipment and repair the impacts of suppression efforts. There is still live fire on Shellrock Mountain and elsewhere within the fire perimeter. With the arrival of warmer, drier weather over the weekend and into next week, expect to see smoke and some fire activity.  The Oregon Department of Transportation is working to mitigate safety concerns along  I-84 in an effort to open eastbound lanes as soon as possible.
For more information, please visit Inciweb: Eagle Creek Fire
High Cascades Complex – in and around Crater Lake National Park
Acres: 79,042                  Containment: 32%
Personnel: 990                   Cause: Lightning
No fire spread is expected in the next couple of days. Heat does remain in woody surface fuels, stump holes, and deeper litter layers. On the north end of the Broken Lookout Fire, crews will continue preparing roads to establish containment lines. On the southern and western ends, they will strengthen containment lines and do mop up. In the eastern zone, activities on the Blanket, North Pelican and Spruce fires will focus on repairing hand line, pulling unneeded equipment and collecting suppression repair data. As the area dries out, dozer lines will begin to be repaired and vegetation cut for fire suppression will be chipped.

For more information on the fire, please visit Inciweb: High Cascades Complex
Horse Creek Complex – Willamette National Forest
Acres: 32,567                Containment: N/A
Personnel: 330               Cause: Lightning
Active fire has been reduced greatly by sustained precipitation, and is now limited to smoldering and creeping of sheltered fuels. That has allowed the focus to shift to repairing and rehabilitating hand and dozer lines. Crews are also chipping slash that was cut and building water bars to prevent erosion due to runoff. In many areas, the ground is too wet to run heavy equipment and will have to dry out before it can be worked on. Firefighters have pulled approximately 15 miles of fire hose from the Avenue, Nash, Rebel and Separation fires. That work will continue today. For more information, please visit Inciweb: Horse Creek Complex


Jones Fire – Willamette National Forest
Acres: 10,017                  Containment: 75%
Personnel: 142                 Cause: Lightning
No change has been reported in the size or containment level of this fire 10 miles northeast of Lowell. Firefighters are continuing to patrol and mop up, as needed. Chipping woody debris along fire lines will also continue, as will the hauling away of firefighting equipment that is no longer needed. This will be the last report on this fire. For more information, please visit Inciweb: Jones Fire


Kelsey Fire – Willamette National Forest
Acres: 527                  Containment: 15%
Personnel: 158            Cause: Lightning
There has been minimal spread due to continuing cool and damp conditions. Fire behavior includes smoldering, with creeping under canopy. Heavy fuels continue to burn due to seasonal dryness. Fire size and containment levels have not changed. The fire is located 10 miles east of Oakridge. For more information, visit Inciweb Kelsey Fire 
Miller Complex – Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
Acres: 36,496                Containment: 70%
Personnel: 284               Cause: Lightning
Containment has increased to 70% on this fire 17 miles east of Cave Junction, with no increase in size. For more information, please visit Inciweb: Miller Complex

Rebel – Willamette National Forest
Acres: 8,653                Containment: 88%
Personnel: 73               Cause: Under investigation
Fire spread is still not anticipated to occur even with a return of warmer and dryer weather.  Chipping equipment will arrive beginning today and crews will be trained to operate it. Some slash piles built during firefighting efforts will be chipped, while others have been burned. Survey flights are planned for Friday if weather permits. This will be the last report for this fire. For more information, please visit Inciweb: Rebel Fire
Umpqua North Complex – Umpqua National Forest 
Acres: 43,139                Containment: 50%
Personnel: 599               Cause: Unknown
No change in the size of this complex of six fires located 50 miles east of Roseburg. For the first time since August 11, 2017 Oregon Highway 138 is open to unrestricted travel through the North Umpqua Complex burn area.
Crews are continuing to monitor fire activity but are now focused primarily on repair of the fire’s hand and dozer lines, and retrieving equipment and hoses from the fire line.
For more information, please visit Inciweb: Umpqua North Complex
Whitewater – Willamette National Forest
Acres: 14,416              Containment: 47%
Personnel: 389             Cause: Lightning

No change to the size of this group of fires. While the overall containment level remains at just under half, the Whitewater Fire itself is 64% contained at 11,493 acres and the French Fire is 95% contained at two acres. The Little Devil is 17% contained at 2,125 acres and containment is at 16% on the 695-acre Scorpion Fire. Minimal fire spread is expected due to fuels being wet by heavy rain and snow. Fire activity will be limited to smoldering in the needle litter and duff. This will be the last report on this fire. For more information, please visit Inciweb: Whitewater Fire

About this update

This update provides information chiefly about fires 10 acres or larger on land protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. ODF provides fire protection on 16.2 million acres of private and state-owned forestland, and Bureau of Land Management forestlands west of the Cascades. ODF works closely with federal and local firefighting agencies to prevent and suppress fires.