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Potato Hill Fire

Unit Information

Willamette National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Springfield, OR 97477

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Potato Hill Fire Update September 12, 2017

Potato Hill Fire Wildfire
News – 9/12/2017

Whitewater Fire

Including Little Devil, Scorpion, French and Potato Hill Fires

September 12, 2017 Daily Update

Fire Information Line: 541-719-8371
Location: Willamette National
Willamette National Forest Closures: 541-225-6350,
Size: 13,339 acres (total for reported fires) Containment: 33%
Resources Assigned: 299 personnel (total for reported fires)
Inciweb Websites:

General Information: Air resources from the Whitewater Fire responded to a new start yesterday near Big Meadows Horse Camp. A helicopter provided initial attacked with water bucket drops. The new start from two days ago, near Clagett Lake, displayed only two hotspots. The public is reminded one less spark means one less wildfire.

Detroit Ranger Districtsee Whitewater Fire on Inciweb for updates on the following fires.

The overall strategy is directed at protecting Values at Risk which includes High voltage powerlines critical to Portland, private timberlands to the west, and preventing fire from impacting the Breitenbush Hot Springs area. Actions will be continually evaluated based on resource availability, weather, and fuel conditions on the ground.

Whitewater Fire: 10,981 acres, 33% contained. A helicopter with infra-red heat detection capabilities flew yesterday and showed little heat in the area. Firefighters are gathering pumps and equipment on the southern perimeter preparing it for back haul. Hose and equipment will be left in place where needed to ensure the fire remains within control lines.

Little Devil: 1,777 acres, 5% contained. The Little Devil Fire became active in the late afternoon burning to the north and developing a visible column. Firefighters were on site and monitored its movement throughout the night. Firefighters are completing mastication on the west side of the fire along Forest Road (FR) 883 and working to reduce the piles of vegetative materials from prepping roads. Firefighters are poised to burnout constructed handline on the north end of the fire between Breitenbush and Little Devil Creeks. Conditions are approaching the prescribed burn threshold and firefighters are preparing to begin burnout operations when condition warrant. The appropriate resources must arrive to implement this plan.

Scorpion Fire: 644 acres, 5% contained. Firefighters have scouted and developed a plan to reduce approximately 10,000 acres within the large, indirect containment box by constructing indirect lines much closer to the fire edge. Masticators were pulled from preparing FR 6350 and moved to begin working the west line preparing FR 4698 by removing brush and vegetation. Fallers have been clearing snags on the east side of the fire’s edge in preparation of handline construction. Crews began constructing handline on the east edge along the Forest Trail 3363 starting on the south end and working north. Fire look-outs have been posted to watch the fire’s movement as the work proceeds. Firefighters are working to continually improve indirect lines utilizing existing roads. A structure protection group is working in the Breitenbush residential and retreat area testing pumps and hose lays.

French Fire: 2 acres. 95% contained. This fire is in patrol status. Crews are gathering hose from the fire lines and prepare it for back hauling to the incident command post.

McKenzie River Ranger Districtsee Potato Hill on Inciweb.

Potato Hill: 199 acres 95% contained. This fire is in patrol status. Flames were visible from the Hwy 20 yesterday morning but were well interior from the fire’s edge.

Air Quality: Air quality reported from Air Now The current and forecasted levels is good with very little density of smoke in the air. For local smoke and air quality information check:

Weather: A warm and drying pattern will remain through today with a general westerly flow. Smoke will be trapped in canyons. Temperatures above 4,500 ft are forecasted at 75-80 degrees with relative humidity 25-30%. Winds will be west 8 - 12 mph with gusts to 16 mph after 12:00 pm.

Fire Behavior: Potential fire behavior in dense canopies will consist of smoldering and creeping, cigar-like spread through large diameter fuels, consumption of stumps and open flame in jackpots of thee inches and above woody fuels. Low to moderate intensity surface fire will back and flanking spread, with short fingering runs are possible on slopes that are exosed or with favorable aspects. .

Resources: Total personnel assigned to the 5 fires: 304 personnel, comprised of 4-type 2 crews, 2-camp crews, 9-engines, 1-heavy helicopter, 2-light helicopters, 4-dozer, 8-masticators, 2-skidgens, 5-water tenders and 2-ambulances. Additional critical resources have been reordered. Available resources remain limited and are being prioritized within the region and nationally. Resources continue to be shared among nearby fires. Air Operations: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 all air operations are grounded any time a drone is sighted within the TFR, delaying fire suppression efforts. Flying within the TFR is prohibited and against the law. Evacuation Levels: The evacuation levels remain unchanged.The levels will be re-evaluated mid-week after the predicted warming and drying period ends. For additional information of the evacuation levels, pleasecontact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (503) 588-5108. Current evacuation levels: Level 2 – Breitenbush Hot Springs area Highway Closures: OR Hwy 46 remains closed between Humbug and FR 6350. For more information Access into the Level 2 area is restricted to residents with proper entry credentials. Forest Closures- For further information go to: Campfires are prohibited on all public and private lands. One less spark is one less potential wildfire. ####

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