Whitewater Fire News Release

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Whitewater Fire News Release

Whitewater Fire Update September 10, 2017

Incident: Whitewater Fire Wildfire
Released: 9/10/2017

Whitewater Fire

Including Little Devil, Scorpion, French and Potato Hill Fires

September 10, 2017 Daily Update

Fire Information Line: 541-719-8371
Location: Willamette National Forest willamettewildfires2017@gmail.com
Willamette National Forest Closures: 541-225-6350, https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices
Size: 13,339 acres (total for reported fires) Containment: 33%
Resources Assigned: 299 personnel (total for reported fires)

Inciweb Websites:

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5420

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5565/

Helicopters assigned to the Whitewater Fire were again loaned to assist with initial attack on new starts in Central Oregon and on the Detroit Ranger District yesterday afternoon. The public is reminded that not all areas received rainfall over the past few days and the fire danger remains very high. Please use caution when enjoying the outdoors.

Evacuation Levels: The evacuation levels remain unchanged. For additional information of the evacuation levels, please contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (503) 588-5108. Current evacuation levels:

Level 2 – Breitenbush Hot Springs area

General Information: Conditions are favorable for fighting fire with cooler weather and higher relative humidity. Firefighters are taking advantage of these conditions and scouting for opportunities to construct direct containment lines. Indirect containment lines utilizing handline, dozers, and existing roads have been constructed with the firefighter’s safety in mind. Any suppression actions including direct tactics, the safety and wellbeing of the firefighters is always top priority.

Preparing roads to use as containment lines by cutting and disposing of brush and vegetation for potential burnout has created piles of material needing to be moved and treated. Crews and equipment will work to sort out merchantable logs from the piles and grind the remainder of the material into smaller chips for disposal.

Detroit Ranger Districtsee Whitewater Fire on Inciweb for updates on the following fires.

The overall strategy is directed at protecting Values at Risk which includes High voltage powerlines critical to Portland, private timberlands to the west, and preventing fire from impacting the Breitenbush Hot Springs area. Actions will be continually evaluated based on resource availability, weather, and fuel conditions on the ground.

Whitewater Fire: 10,934 acres. There was no movement of the fire perimeter. Firefighters will work to complete containment lines to keep the fire south of Forest Road (FR) 4220 in protection of Olallie Lake recreation area; patrol and mop-up; and clear vegetation along roads for potential burnout operations. Sprinkler systems have been installed to wet areas to suppress a hot area in Cheat Creek, outside of the wilderness, to protect private timber lands. Firefighters are gathering pumps and equipment on the southeast perimeter preparing it for back haul by helicopter. The main trunk lines will remain as a precaution.

Little Devil: 1,598 acres. Very quiet day of fire activity. Crews will continue to monitor and patrol, and prep indirect fire lines. Firefighters are poised to burnout constructed handline on the north end of the fire between Breitenbush and Little Devil Creeks when conditions are right.

Scorpion Fire: 606 acres. There was no movement of the fire perimeter. Firefighters have scouted and developed a plan to reduce approximately 10,000 acres within the large, indirect containment box by constructing a direct containment line on the west fire edge. The appropriately trained resources and correct weather conditions need to be in alignment to implement the plan. Firefighters are working to continually improve indirect lines utilizing existing roads.

French Fire: 2 acres. 100% contained. This fire is in patrol status. Crews are gathering hose from the fire lines and prepare it for back hauling to the incident command post.

McKenzie River Ranger Districtsee Potato Hill on Inciweb.

Potato Hill: 199 acres. 100% Contained. This fire will be in patrol status.

Air Quality: Air quality reported from Air Now http://www.airnow.gov/ is in the “Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups” (UHSG) (orange) range in Sisters. The “UHSG” range is defined as the air quality is unhealthy for people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged activity or heavy exertion. Information is also available at: oregonsmoke.blogspot.com

Weather: High pressure will begin to build this afternoon to clear the clouds and begin a warming and drying trend for the next few days. Temperatures above 4,500 ft are forecasted at 68-74degrees with relative humidity 35-43%. Winds will be variable 0 - 4 mph becoming upslope/up canyon 3-6 mph with gusts to 12 mph.

Behavior: Potential fire behavior remains moderated with low rates of spread and intensity throughout much of the fire area. Primary fire behavior consists of smoldering and creeping, “cigar-like” spread through large diameter fuels, consumption of stumps and open flame in piles of 3 inches and above woody fuels Low intensity backing and flanking spread, as well as short fingering runs are possible on exposed ridges. Firefighters will remain vigilant in areas outside of areas where rain was not received. Fires in those locations could become much more active than those that received rain.

Resources: The changes in personnel reflect the split of the Whitewater, Scorpion, Little Devil, French, and Potato Hill Fires from the Horse Creek Complex. Total personnel assigned to the 5 fires: 299 personnel, comprised of 1-type 2 initial attack crew, 4-type 2 crews, 2-camp crews, 10-engines, 1-heavy helicopter, 1-medium helicopter, 2-light helicopters, 2-dozers, 6-masticators, 3-skidgens, 13-water tenders and 2-ambulances. Available resources remain limited and are being prioritized within the region and nationally. Resources continue to be shared amongst nearby fires. Additional critical resources have been reordered.

Highway Closures: OR Hwy 46 remains closed between Humbug and FR 6350. For more information visit www.tripcheck.com. Access into the Level 2 area is restricted to residents with proper entry credentials.

Forest Closures- For further information go to: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices

Campfires are prohibited on all public and private lands. One less spark is one less potential wildfire.

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Willamette National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
3106 Pierce Parkway
Suite D
Springfield, OR 97477
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