Whitewater Fire News Release

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Whitewater Fire News Release

Update Whitewater Fires Sept. 23, 2017

Incident: Whitewater Fire Wildfire
Released: 9/23/2017

Whitewater Fire - including Little Devil, Scorpion, Clagett Lake, Slideout, Section Line, French and Potato Hill Fires

September 23, 2017 Daily Update

Fire Information Line: 541-719-8371, willamettewildfires2017@gmail.com

Location: Willamette National Forest

Willamette National Forest Closures: 541-225-6350, https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices

Size: 14,416 acres (total for reported fires) Containment: 47%

Resources Assigned: 380 personnel (total for reported fires)


Crews made excellent progress on suppression repairs yesterday, including cutting stumps low to the ground along Forest Service Road 46, removing timber slash, chipping branches and clearing debris from roads. Crews continue to collect and stage equipment and hose from the fire line. Processing timber for loading and hauling was initiated yesterday. As the weather improves and dirt roads and constructed fire lines dry out, crews will return to repairing suppression lines, adding water bars into roadways and hillsides to help redirect water flow to slow runoff water and minimize erosion. Until the moisture soaks in and dries, work in some areas is being postponed because efforts could cause more damage than good.

Safety is the top priority for firefighters and the public. It is the weekend, so there will be more people on the roads. While the weather has improved, driving hazards still exist along roadways. Please drive cautiously as road surfaces and shoulders may be soft, and firefighters, equipment, logging trucks and debris will be on roadways. It is important for hunters to be extra cautious of crews working in the area.

Detroit Ranger District
– visit Whitewater Fire on Inciweb for updates on the following fires: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 over the week, 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. Crews were able to safely work on the western perimeter of the Whitewater Fire. Firefighters worked on suppression repair, clearing debris from roadways and ditches. Chipping small trees and branches continues as part of the repair process.

Little Devil Fire:
2,125 acres, 17% contained. Crews continue repair work along roads, 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. Fire crews continue with 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 fires to observe them. It is highly likely air operations will be able to fly today. Claggett Lake Fire: 100 acres, 0% contained. Slideout Fire: ½ acres, 0% contained. Section Line Fire: .1 acres, 0% contained.

Air Quality:
Air quality reported from Air Now http://www.airnow.gov/

Weather:
Friday started off with mostly clear skies above valley bottom fog. Clouds built up in the afternoon and provided a few scattered light showers. There’ll be some low level clouds this morning, but the afternoon should be sunny. 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:
8 crews, 3 camp crew, 7 engines, 1 fixed wing air attack, 14 dozers, 6 water tenders and 3 ambulances. Total personnel is 380.

Air Operations:
Air support for the Whitewater Fire is assigned out of the Redmond Air Center. The low cloud ceiling limited operations yesterday. With favorable weather predictions, air operations are expected today and will focus on assessing all fires and then retrieving equipment from 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

Unit Information

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Willamette National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Oregon
Suite D
Springfield, OR 97477
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Detroit Ranger District
Phone: 503-854-3366
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