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Oregon Department of Forestry fire update
September 24, 2012
Fire Prevention Reminder:
The fire danger level on many forestlands in Oregon is still extreme. A few fire prevention tips for private forest landowners and operators: 1) monitor weather conditions - such as humidity and wind - and consider earlier close-downs if the weather warrants it; 2) keep equipment in good working order and free from flammable debris, as well as parking it away from flammable material when shutting down for the day; 3) Fire Watches - stay on high alert; and 4) be prepared by performing daily checks of suppression and communications equipment.
For the public, campfires are still an issue in many areas. Open fires, including campfires, are prohibited on forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. On forestlands or in areas when campfires are allowed, they should be put completely out before leaving the campsite. To do so, drown the fire with an abundance of water, stir and separate the hot coals, and drown again until all of the heat has been removed.
Fires On ODF-Protected Lands:
Southwest Oregon District: The Rancheria Fire, burning on BLM and private forestlands east of Butte Falls, was reported late Sunday afternoon. Initial attack efforts on this fire included crews, engines, air-tankers, and helicopters, and by early Sunday evening the fire was fully lined. Night shift crews working on the fire made good progress on extinguishing flames and mopping up hot spots around the 32-acre blaze. Today, two 20-person crews, four wildland fire engines, and three water tenders will continue pouring water onto flames. Smoke haze will be visible in the fire area throughout the day, and occasionally a tree may erupt in a fireball (a phenomenon firefighters call "torching," which is normal inside a forest which has recently burned) and send up a plume of smoke. Helicopters and an air tanker are available should firefighters need them. The cause remains under investigation.
Southwest Oregon District: The Grave Creek Fire broke out late Sunday in the Rogue River Wild & Scenic Area near Grave Creek, approximately 20 miles north of Grants Pass, and grew overnight to 10-15 acres. Fire crews made good progress during the night, and this morning their firelines are holding on the north, south and west flanks, but the east side of the fire is actively burning. Helicopters lifted off around 7:30 a.m. to join the firefight. The Rogue River Trail is closed in the fire area, 1.5-to-2 miles downstream from the Grave Creek boat landing, which is also closed, as are Marial and Reuben Roads in the area nearest the fire. A major concern today is boaters on the Rogue River today encountering helicopters, which will be dipping buckets of water from the river as part of the fire suppression effort. Cause of this fire is under investigation.
More information on both of these fires on the Southwest Oregon District is available on the Southwest Oregon Fire Blog at http://swofire.blogspot.com/, as well as the district's fire twitter feed about fires at http://twitter.com/swofire.
Fires On Other Lands in Oregon:
The lightning-caused Bald Mountain Fire, which started on September 18 and is burning 12 miles southwest of Enterprise in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, is approximately 1200 acres and uncontained. Trail closures are in place and visitors are advised to contact the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, who is managing this fire, prior to entering the area.
The lightning-caused Trail 2 Fire, burning in the Metolius Bench Area, is 139 acres and 90 percent contained. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is leading the suppression effort. Unless the situation changes, this will be the last report on this fire.
The Pole Creek Fire, burning six miles southwest of Sisters, is 26,200 acres and 65 percent contained. More information on this fire is available on Inciweb at: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3244/.
Other Fire Information:
For information on wildfires in all jurisdictions within Oregon, go to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, www.nwccweb.us/, or to the national Incident Information System website, www.inciweb.org/state/38.