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Potato Hill Fire

Unit Information

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

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Update Potato Hill Fire September 13, 2017

Potato Hill Fire Wildfire
News – 9/13/2017

Whitewater Fire

Including Little Devil, Scorpion, French and Potato Hill Fires

September 13, 2017 Daily Update

Fire Information Line: 541-719-8371 Location: Willamette National Willamette National Forest Closures: 541-225-6350, Inciweb Websites: Size: 13,704 acres (total for reported fires) Containment: 35% Resources Assigned: 373 personnel (total for reported fires)

General Information: The Clagett Fire and Fire # 293 located in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness are now under the management of incident commander Doug Johnson. Helicopters dropped buckets of water yesterday in an effort to check the movements of both fires. The Clagett Fire has grown to 77 acres and Fire #293 is estimated at .5 acres. The warmer temperatures and gusty winds also increased the fire behavior on the Little Devil Fire in the afternoon and evening. Additional firefighting resources are beginning to arrive to assist in suppression efforts.

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: 11,046 acres, 33% contained 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: 1,885 acres, 5% contained. The Little Devil Fire became active in the late afternoon burning to the northwest of the Devils Peak and developing a visible column. 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.

Scorpion Fire: 655 acres, 5% contained. Firefighters implementing a plan to reduce approximately 10,000 acres within the large, indirect containment box by constructing lines much closer to the fires edge. Masticators are working the west line preparing FR 4698 by removing brush and vegetation. Crews have completed constructing handline on the east side. Firefighters are working to continually improve indirect lines utilizing existing roads. A structure protection group is working in the Breitenbush residential and retreat area.

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.

Clagett Lake Fire: 77 acres. 0% contained. Located near Clagett Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. Helicopters worked to check the fire with water bucket drops.

Slideout Fire #293: .5 acres. 0% contained. Located near Slideout Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. Helicopters worked to check the fire with water bucket drops.

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 but were well interior from the fire’s edge. Firefighters were working to cool these spots. Equipment is working to repair suppression lines by installing water bars and smoothing dozer line berms.

The public is asked to drive defensively and slow down through this area when fire resources are near the highway. Smoke will continue to be seen within the perimeter until a season ending event.

Incident Management: Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 8, with Doug Johnson, Incident Commander, is managing and supporting the firefighters of the Whitewater Fires. The incident command post (ICP) is located at the Hoodoo Ski Area west of Sisters, Oregon.

Air Quality: Air quality reported from Air Now is in the “Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups” (UHSG) (orange) air quality range in Sisters. The “UHSG” range is defined as the air quality is unhealthy for people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged activity or heavy exertion. Information is also available at:

Weather: Cooler temperatures, relative increasing humidity, and gusty ridgetop winds are forecasted for today. Temperatures above 4,500 ft are forecasted at 65-70 degrees with relative humidity 35-40%. Winds will be west 6 - 10 mph with gusts to 16 mph after 12:00 pm.

Fire Behavior: Favorable weather conditions over the next few days will incrementally decrease fire behavior. Gusty winds will prevail over much of the fire area, however cooler temperatures, much better ridgetop relative humidity recovery and intermittent shading of fuels from passing clouds and smoke will aid in reducing chances of problem fire behavior. These changes will not occur overnight. Fuels have rebounded from the precipitation received last Thursday to near season lows.

Resources: Total personnel assigned to the 7 fires: 373 personnel, comprised of 1-type 1 crew, 6-type 2 crews, 2-camp crews, 13-engines, 1-heavy helicopter, 1-light helicopter, 2-dozers, 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: Evacuation levels remain unchanged.Levels will being evaluated daily based on weather and fire behavior. 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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