Whitewater Fire News Release

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Whitewater Fire News Release

Update Whitewater Fires Sept. 24, 2017

Incident: Whitewater Fire Wildfire
Released: 9/24/2017

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

September 24, 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: 14,652 acres (total for reported fires) Containment: 47%

Resources Assigned: 403 personnel (total for reported fires)

Saturday, crews continued to make progress on suppression repairs, including cutting stumps low to the ground along Forest Service Road 46, removing timber slash, chipping branches and clearing debris from roads. The drier weather is allowing dirt roads and constructed fire lines to dry out, which then permits crews to access areas for suppression repair. This includes adding water bars into roadways and hillsides to minimize water runoff and erosion. Crews continue to stage and remove equipment from the fire line. As progress on the Whitewater Fires increases, suppression personnel will begin to demobilize.

There has been a noticeable increase in local traffic since Friday. Please drive cautiously as road surfaces and shoulders may be soft, and firefighters, equipment, logging trucks and debris will be on roadways. Hunters should be aware that fire crews may be 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, 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. Fire crews completed work tying in hand line along the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition, firefighters worked on suppression repairs throughout the day clearing debris from roadways and ditches. Chipping small trees and branches continues as part of the repair process.

Little Devil Fire: 2,162 acres, 17% contained. Crews continue repair work along roads, on turnouts and improvements essential for repair of the primary lines. Despite the heavy rains and snow over the last few days, smoke and some heat was detected on the Little Devil Fire within the northwest perimeter where it remains in check.

Scorpion Fire: 695 acres, 16% contained. Firefighters are working to finalize the repair work on the Scorpion Fire which includes chipping operations. The goal is to complete repair work by Monday. At that point, the Scorpion Fire will then go into patrol status. The fire continues to hold between the east and west flanks, above Forest Service Road 46 and away from the power lines.

The Wilderness Fires including Claggett Lake, Slideout and Section Line Fires. Air operations flew the Wilderness Fires, located in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area yesterday. No smoke was observed on the Slideout and Section Line Fires. There was some smoke along the southwest quadrant of the Claggett Fire. The Claggett Fire poses no threat in movement. All three fires are heavily surrounded by snow.

Potato Hill Fire: 199 acres, 100% contained. Management of this fire has been turned over to the Detroit Ranger District.

French Fire: 2 acres, 95% contained. Management of this fire has been turned over to the Detroit Ranger District.

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

Weather: A warming and drying trend gained momentum Saturday with the help of a few sun breaks and building high pressure. This was the first day since last weekend with no precipitation of any amount. 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, 8 engines, 1 fixed wing air attack, 14 dozers, 6 water tenders and 4 ambulances. Total personnel is 403.

Air Operations: Air support for the Whitewater Fire is assigned out of the Redmond Air Center.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire area restricting aerial public access, including drones. 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 on Sept. 20.

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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