Potato Hill Fire News Release

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Potato Hill Fire News Release

Potato Hill Update Sept. 15, 2017

Incident: Potato Hill Fire Wildfire
Released: 9/15/2017

Whitewater Fire - including Little Devil, Scorpion, Clagett Lake, Slideout, French, Fire #196 and Potato Hill Fires
September 15, 2017 Daily Update
Fire Information Line: 541-719-8371, willamettewildfires2017@gmail.com
Location: Willamette National Forest
Willamette National Forest Closures: 541-225-6350, https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices
Inciweb Websites: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5420, https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5565
Size: 13,865 acres (total for reported fires) Containment: 35%
Resources Assigned: 334 personnel (total for reported fires)

Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 11 (NWIMT11), Nathan Rabe, Incident Commander, assumed command of the Whitewater Fires on September 15, 2017 at 7 a.m.

General Information:
Firefighters continue direct and indirect suppression activities on the Little Devil, Whitewater, and Scorpion Fires utilizing handline crews, hose lays and heavy equipment to maintain containment lines. Evacuation levels were updated yesterday by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office from a Level 2 (Set) to a Level 3 (Go) for the areas of Breitenbush Hot Springs and Breitenbush/Devil Creek summer homes. Mop-up operations, patrolling and monitoring activities continue on the smaller fire which include French, Clagett, Slideout and Fire #296.

McKenzie River Ranger District –visit Potato Hill on Inciweb for updates.
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 continue to patrol and mop-up as needed to ensure full containment. 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: The incident command post (ICP) is located at the Hoodoo Ski Area west of Sisters, Oregon and Base Camp at McCoy for firefighter support. This places the camp closer to the incident which reduces driving time to the fires and exposure on the roads.

Detroit Ranger Districtvisit Whitewater Fire on Inciweb for updates on the following fires.
The overall strategy is directed toward protecting Values at Risk which includes the high voltage power lines critical to Portland, private timberlands to the west, the communities of Breitenbush and Devil Creek with the highest priority being public and firefighter safety.

Whitewater Fire:
11,046 acres, 35% contained. The area near Triangulation Peak had less fire activity yesterday. The fire made short upslope runs with some torching. Most of the eastern edge of the fire is contained by the broken fuel patterns on Mt. Jefferson. Fire crews and aerial resources are focusing their efforts along the western portion of the fire perimeter to protect private lands.

Little Devil:
1,885 acres, 5% contained. The Little Devil Fire continues to make its way northwest backing downslope toward established handline between the Breitenbush area and the fire. Due to the proximity of the fire, the The Marion County Sheriff's Office, in coordination with fire managers, raised the evacuation level from Level 2 (Set) to Level 3 (Go) for the areas of Breitenbush Hot Springs and Breitenbush/Devil Creek summer homes. Level 3 means “Go” as danger to your area is imminent. The area has been at a level 2 evacuation level for several weeks and few residents remain in the area. The intent of the evacuation is to notify those few remaining residents and message to those planning to come to the area to seek other options until the area is safe for return. For the most up to date information on Marion County evacuations, go to ‘Alerts and Emergency’ tab on the Marion County web page: http://www.co.marion.or.us/alerts.

Scorpion Fire:
655 acres, 5% contained. The Scorpion Fire was kept between the established containment lines on the west and east sides and above Highway 46 away from the power lines.

French Fire:
2 acres. 95% contained. This fire is in patrol status.

Clagett Lake Fire:
77 acres. 0% contained. Located near Clagett Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. There is very little smoke visible from this fire and it continues to be checked by water drops from helicopters.

Slideout Fire #293:
½ acres. 0% contained. Located near Slideout Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. No smoke was visible from this fire and it continues to be monitored by air.

Fire #296:
.1 acres. 0% contained. Located near Slideout Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. No smoke has been visible from this fire and it continues to be monitored by air.

Air Quality:
Air quality reported from Air Now http://www.airnow.gov/ Air quality is acceptable, however for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. Information is also available at oregonsmoke.blogspot.com

Today, sunny skies with warm temperatures are anticipated with relative humidity dropping into the 20’s which could increase active fire spread. A cold front with rain showers is expected on Sunday. Lower temperatures and increased relative humidity could inhibit fire growth.

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.

Total personnel assigned to the fires: 295 personnel including 5-type 2 crews, 1-camp crews, 8-engines, 1-heavy helicopter, 1-light helicopter, 1-fixed wing air attack, 2-dozers, 6-masticators, 2-skidgens, 5-water tenders and 2-ambulances. Additional critical resources have been ordered. Available resources remain limited and are 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 that 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:
Yesterday, the Marion County Sheriff's Office moved the evacuation level from Level 2 (Set) to Level 3 (Go) for the areas of Breitenbush Hot Springs and Breitenbush/Devil Creek summer homes. For additional information regarding evacuation levels, please contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (503) 588-5108.

Highway Closures:
FS Road 46 (Breitenbush Rd.) remains closed between Humbug and FR 6350. For more information visit www.tripcheck.com. Access into the Level 2 area is restricted to residents with proper entry credentials.

Forest Closures
: For further information go to: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices. Campfires are prohibited on all public and private lands. One less spark is one less potential wildfire.

Unit Information

USFS Shield
Willamette National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Suite D
Springfield, OR 97477

Incident Contact

McKenzie River Ranger District
Phone: 541-822-3381
Hours: M-F 8:00AM-4:30PM

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