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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 Fire September 14, 2017

Potato Hill Fire Wildfire
News – 9/14/2017

Whitewater Fire

Including Little Devil, Scorpion, Clagett Lake, Slideout, French and Potato Hill Fires

September 14, 2017 Daily Update

Fire Information Line: 541-719-8371 Location: Willamette National Willamette National Forest Closures: 541-225-6350, Inciweb Websites: Size: 13,865 acres (total for reported fires) Containment: 35% Resources Assigned: 334 personnel (total for reported fires)

This will be the last update from the Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 8 (NWIIMT8). NWIIMT8 would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to the community, cooperators, agency staff, and firefighters for the unwavering support during our management of the Whitewater Fires. Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 11, Nathan Rabe, Incident Commander, will assume command on September 15, 2017 at 7am.


General Information: The Little Devil, Whitewater, and Scorpion Fires became active yesterday afternoon and evening. Visible columns could be seen from both Central Oregon on the east and Detroit on the west. Helicopters used water drops to check the fires. Two new fires were identified in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness by the infra-red heat detecting flight. One fire was located and had grown to .1 acres. Helicopters dropped water to cool. The second fire was not producing enough smoke for aerial resources to locate.

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. An area near Triangulation Peak became active and created a visible column yesterday. The fire is holding on the ridge. A request for retardant has been made to reinforce and check the fire from moving any further north. Firefighters are gathering 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 Devils Peak and developing a visible column. Helicopters worked dropping water to check the forward movement. Equipment is 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. Firefighters are preparing to begin burnout operations when conditions warrant.

Scorpion Fire: 655 acres, 5% contained. The Scorpion Fire became active this afternoon moving east towards the established dozer line. The fire remained within the confines of the smaller box recently completed around the fire perimeter. The east line is prepared with charged hoses to assist firefighters hold that line and cool hot spots. Firefighters are working to continually improve indirect lines utilizing existing roads. A structure protection group is working in the Breitenbush resort area and Little Devil recreation residences.

French Fire: 2 acres. 95% contained. This fire is in patrol status. Crews are working repairing suppression lines.

Clagett Lake Fire: 77 acres. 0% contained. Located near Clagett Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. There was very little smoke visible from this fire.

Slideout Fire #293: .5 acres. 0% contained. Located near Slideout Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. No smoke was visible from this fire.

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 there is a season ending event such as a large amount of rain or ground covering snow.

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 Air quality is acceptable, however for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusally sensitive to air pollution. Information is also available at:

Weather: A chance of light shower are for casted for this morning with lower cloud base accompanying the showers. Skies will clear somewhat in the afternoon with decreasing relative humidity expected. Temperatures above 4,500 ft are forecasted at 58 – 62 degrees with relative humidity 35-40%. Winds will be north/northeast 6 - 8 mph with gusts to 15 mph after 2:00 pm.

Fire Behavior: Favorable weather conditions over the next few days will incrementally decrease fire behavior potential. 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: 334 personnel, comprised of, 5-type 2 crews, 1-camp crews, 10-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: 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 Devils Creek summer home tract Highway Closures: FS Road 46 (Breitenbush Rd.) 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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