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Whitewater Fire

Unit Information

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

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Update Whitewater Fires for September 22, 2017

Whitewater Fire Wildfire
News – 9/22/2017

Fire Information Line: 541-719-8371
Location: Willamette National Forest willamettewildfires2017@gmail.com
Willamette National Forest Closures: 541-225-6350
Inciweb Websites: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5420 https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5565
Size: 14,416 acres (total for reported fires) Containment: 47%
Resources: 389 personnel (total for reported fires) Yesterday, crews made progress on suppression repairs including removing timber slash, chipping branches, adding water bars into roadways and hillsides to help redirect water flow to protect hillsides from erosion and placing logs and other debris strategically to slow runoff water. Crews also collected equipment and hose from the fire line. Crews will continue this work for the next few days. As the weather begins to improve, the public may see smoke coming from the fire areas and will likely be visible into the month of October. Even though we have received a significant amount of rain, less than a half inch down in the dirt is still dry.

Safety is the top priority for firefighters and the public. While inclement weather continues to improve, driving hazards still exist for the public and firefighters. Please drive cautiously and watch out for firefighters, equipment, logging trucks and debris on the roadways. We ask hunters to be extra cautious of crews working in the area. During rainy conditions, firefighters may not be easily seen. Detroit Ranger Districtvisit Whitewater Fire on Inciweb for updates on the following fires. The strategy for managing this fire is focused on protecting the communities of Breitenbush and/ 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. With the recent precipitation, firefighters focused more on repairing suppression efforts until weather conditions improve for crews to safely access the fire areas and see where fires are active and require attention. Whitewater Fire: 11,493 acres, 64% contained. Crews were able to safely work on the perimeter of the Whitewater Fire. Firefighters worked on suppression repair by clearing the roadways and ditches with debris. Chipping continues as part of the repair process. All equipment from the Cheat Creek drainage will be removed. Little Devil Fire: 2,125 acres, 17% contained. Although Breitenbush Hot Springs and communities of Breitenbush/Devil Creek summer homes remain at a Level 1 evacuation, owners have begun returning to their properties. Crews will continue repair work on turnouts and improvements essential for repair of the primary lines. Scorpion Fire: 695 acres, 16% contained. The Scorpion Fire continues to hold between the east and west flanks, above Forest Service Road 46 and away from the power lines. As the weather improves, fire crews will complete repair work on all non-primary containment lines and on portions of the fire that are secure. The Wilderness Fires including Claggett Lake, Slideout and Section Line Fires. The Wilderness Fires, located in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area, have stayed in check due to wet weather conditions. However, due to the weather, air operations has been unable to fly over the fire to check on recent conditions. Claggett Lake Fire: 100 acres, 0% contained. Slideout Fire: ½ acres, 0% contained. Section Line Fire: .1 acres, 0% contained. French Fire: 2 acres, 95% contained. The French Fire was turned back over to the forest district, effective yesterday at noon. McKenzie River Ranger Districtvisit Potato Hill on Inciweb for updates. Potato Hill: 199 acres, 100% contained. The Potato Hill Fire was turned back over to the forest district, effective yesterday at noon. Air Quality: Air quality reported from Air Now http://www.airnow.gov/ . Weather: Friday morning will start off mostly sunny, with a few light showers occurring over the mountains in the afternoon. Continuing Saturday and trending on into the early part of next week, cloud cover will decrease and temperatures are expected to increase with relative humidity decreasing. Fire Behavior: Minimal fire spread is expected due to the heavy rain and snow. Fire activity will be limited to smoldering in the needle litter and duff. Resources: 9 crews, 3 camp crew, 9 engines, 1 fixed wing air attack, 15 dozers, 7 water tenders and 4 ambulances. Total personnel is 389. Resourontinue to be shared among nearby fires. Air Operations: The low cloud ceiling and breezy conditions have eliminated air operations temporarily suspending their abilities to fly. Due to decreased fire behavior, most air resources are being released from this fire. However, when the weather starts to clear up for crews to fly, air operations will likely focus on checking on fires in the wilderness and retrieving equipment remote areas. A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire area restricting aerial public access. Please check the NOTAMs prior to flying. The public is reminded that all air operations are grounded any time a drone is sighted within the TFR, which inhibits their ability to do critical fire suppression efforts. Flying within the TFR is prohibited and against the law. Evacuation Levels: Forest Service Road 46 is open to all through traffic. Breitenbush Hot Springs and Breitenbush/Devil Creek summer homes remain at a Level 1 evacuation level. For additional information, contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, (503) 588-5108, or visit the ‘Alerts and Emergency’ tab on http://www.co.marion.or.us/alerts. Highway Closures: No Highway road closures reported. Forest Service Road 46 was reopened Wednesday. Forest Closures: For further information, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices.