Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
3040 Biddle Rd.
Medford, OR 97504
The entire Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness is now closed to public entry. The Umpqua National Forest closed their remaining portion of the wilderness yesterday joining with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in providing for public safety due to the threat of wildfires.
Yesterday’s Activity: The unstable atmosphere, coupled with unseasonably hot and dry conditions gain created a convection column and associated extreme fire behavior on Spruce Lake Fire (13,601 ac). The fire spread at about 2,000 feet/hour to the NW initially until a wind shift late in the afternoon caused the smoke column to collapse. The fire moved about ¾ of the way up Red Cone and has spread north to Bald Crater. Engine crews patrolled along Hwy 230 and 138 looking for any spots as a result of the fire’s rapid progression. Firefighters made good progress prepping and chipping along the west side of the North Entrance Road, the primary containment line on the NE flank. The burnout from Monday on the Blanket Creek Fire (29,154 ac) along FR 3282 on the east perimeter held very well. A 40 acre spot on the SE corner was tied back into the main fire with a dozer line. Helicopter bucket drops supported fire crews in holding the containment lines in place. An indirect line has been completed from FR 3282 to Hwy 62 north of Annie Creek Snopark and is ready for burnout if necessary. The fire has destroyed the Solus backcountry cabin. The southern edge of the Blanket Fire remains in the 2008 Middle Fork burn scar. All helicopters assigned to the Complex were relocated to the fueling station near Fort Klamath to take advantage of the clearer air and enhance air support.
Crews on the Broken Lookout Fire (7,000 ac) again made good progress to strengthen the established containment lines on FR 6510, 6510-700, and 6520 to the east. A 40 acre spot of the SE corner was tied back in to the main fire with a dozer line. Firefighters used tactical burning along FR 68 to enhance containment in the mid-west flank of the fire. Firefighters continued prepping and tying FR 2947 and 2947-300 to the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness to secure the N-NE flank. Firefighters also began prepping FR 2925 on the W perimeter of the fire on the Umpqua N.F. side of the divide and on FR 2947 on the NW perimeter along Jackson Creek. This fire has shown little movement to the east towards Union Creek. Fire crews continued prep work on FR 6540 in Foster Creek for containment of the Pup Fire (2,500 ac).
Today’s Planned Activity: Firefighters will continue building handline on the SE corner of the Blanket Creek Fire to the wilderness boundary and scout/further evaluate containment options along the south. Engine crews will patrol the E and W flanks of the fire. Crews will continue prepping the west side of the North Entrance Road on the Spruce Lake Fire. Engine crews will patrol along Hwy 230 looking for any spots as a result of the fire’s spread on Tuesday. Crews on the Broken Lookout Fire will perform firing operations on the SE corner of the fire and continue to strengthen the established containment lines to the E. Crews will continue prep work on the W perimeter along FR 2925 and FR 2947 on the NW. Fire mangers are also evaluating FRs 64 and 6620 for containment on the W perimeter. Firefighters may begin tactical firing on the E flank of Pup Fire for containment.
Weather and Fire Behavior: An upper disturbance will bring cooler and moister conditions today and Thursday with scattered thunderstorms. Storms will be drier today as the lower air mass will take time to absorb moisture. As a result, the higher based thunderstorms may generate 25-40 mph outflow winds. These conditions may contribute to periods of very active fire behavior especially on ridge tops and exposed areas and where continuous forest fuels line up with slope and winds. A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued due to the thunderstorms and erratic wind.
A Level 1 Evacuation Notification remains in effect for the Union Creek area in Jackson County Oregon, due to the Broken Lookout Fire. In addition, a Level 1 Evacuation Notification remains in effect for Mazama Village in Crater Lake National Park. Level 1 is the first step in the “Be Ready, Be Set, Go!” system. The North Entrance Road to Crater Lake National Park remains closed due to a potential threat from the Spruce Lake Fire. West Rim Drive also remains closed for road construction and visitor safety until 4 p.m. on Friday. Motorists and visitors to the area also need to be aware of delays on Hwy 230 between Union Creek and the junction with Hwy 138 due to road construction.