Willamette National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Springfield, OR 97477
Update for Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, 9 a.m.
Fire Information: (541) 719-8371
Rebel Fire: 8,653 acres
Horse Creek Complex: Olallie Lookout Fire, 1,572 acres; Roney Fire, 3,548 acres; Avenue Fire, 2,962 acres; Separation Fire, 17,747 acres; Nash Fire, 6,738 acres.
Total all fires: 41,220 acres (The last infrared flight was conducted on 9/15. No change in acreage has been measured since 9/15.)
Resources: Personnel, 449; Crews, 8; Helicopters, 2; Engines, 21; Dozers, 2; Water Tenders, 6.
Weather: Widespread rain and snow continued to fall on Wednesday, bringing the total amount of precipitation over the fire area to 4-5 inches in the past four days. Scattered rain and snow showers were expected to continue into Wednesday night, with skies beginning to clear after midnight. Temperatures were forecast to drop into the upper 20s overnight. Scattered rain and snow showers will continue Thursday before skies begin to clear in the afternoon and evening.
The precipitation and cold weather the last few days has severely dampened fire activity and presented a new set of challenges for firefighters and fire managers. The biggest concerns now are the increased potential for falling trees, hazardous driving conditions and rock fall caused by the snow and rain. The Oregon Department of Transportation has assisted firefighting efforts by clearing snow and rocks off roads, providing access for firefighters in several areas. As always, firefighter and public safety remains the primary concern.
Current Situation: Despite the severe weather, it was a productive day for firefighters on Wednesday. Crews spent much of the day pulling fire hose and retrieving pumps that had been strategically placed along firelines in the event they were needed. Firefighters have pulled approximately 15 miles of fire hose from the Avenue, Nash, Rebel and Separation fires and that work will continue today. Crews are also removing other equipment that is no longer needed and hauling it back to fire camps.
With the change in the weather, the emphasis is now on suppression repair and rehabilitation. Agency Administrators, Resource Advisors and fire managers are collaborating on a plan that will guide those efforts over the next week. The main focus is repairing and rehabilitating hand and dozer lines that were constructed to contain and confine fires in the Horse Creek Complex. In other areas, crews are chipping slash that was cut and building water bars to prevent erosion due to runoff. In many areas the ground is too wet to run heavy equipment and will have to dry out before it can be worked on. In the meantime, fire managers are assessing work that needs to be done and placing orders for the equipment to do it. “The weather and availability of equipment are the limiting factors right now,” Operations Planning Chief Karen Scholl said.
Evacuations: All evacuation orders in Lane County (Zones 1-10 and Camp Malakwa) and in Deschutes County have been lifted. All U.S. Forest Service closures remain in effect.
National Forest Closure Orders: Fire restrictions have been lifted in Willamette and Deschutes National Forests, and campfires are now allowed. Current information about closures on the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests is available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/willamette/fire/?cid=fseprd552029
Flight Restrictions: A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) remains in place over the fires to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft operations. It is not legal to operate any aircraft (including drones) within a TFR. More information on the TFR is available at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html