Skip to main content

Milepost 97 Fire

Unit Information

Douglas Forest Protective Association
1758 NE Airport Road
Roseburg, OR 97470

Milepost 97 Fire Update - 8-6-19

Milepost 97 Fire Wildfire
News – 8/6/2019

Media advisory: This will be the final formal fire update for the Milepost 97 Fire unless significant change occurs. We will continue to post information at www.facebook.com/milepost97fire and https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6461.

The fire remains 13,119 acres and is now 65 percent con-tained, a 10 percent increase in the last 24 hours.

The Milepost 97 Fire started the evening of July 24 at 10:00 p.m. as the result of an abandoned, and illegal, campfire. While firefighters from the Douglas Forest Protective Association and local rural fire districts con-verged on the fire within 15 to 30 minutes, the fire had established itself in an unmanaged forested area covered with overgrown brush and snags; leftovers from the 1987 Canyon Mountain fire that was part of the first Douglas Complex.

The fire would bring with it many complexities: multiple land ownerships including private, state, federal and tribal trust lands; a major power line and natural gas pipeline dissecting the middle of the fire area; a major interstate freeway (I-5) lining the eastern edge of the fire; and three communities directly in the path of the fire.

This was the first large fire of Oregon’s young fire season. It attracted attention from major media markets from Los Angeles to Portland. Three homes within the fire area were evacuated, but survived. More than 550 structures and homes were threatened and within level 1 and 2 evacutiation notifications. After 10 days of intense firefighting with crews, aircraft and equipment, fire officials declared that the fire was completely sur-rounded by hand and equipment constructed line. A few minor burnout operations followed, leaving us where we are today; securing lines, falling hazard trees and mopping up to prevent any further spread. Fires like Milepost 97, that push firefighting resources to their limit early in the summer, are known for burning for months. Not so in this case. Operations tactics, where firefighters took advantage of opportunities, like breaks in the weather, made for a great stop and the savings of thousands of acres of timberland, millions in fire suppression costs, and hundreds of homes and lives.

ODF’s incident management team and its partner, BLM, wish to thank the Canyonville, Azalea and Glendale communities for their support during the fire suppression effort. We would also like to thank the many cooperators that, without their support, the mission would not have been successful.

Finally, the nation will join in unison this week to wish a very special bear happy birthday. To honor Smokey Bear on his 75th, August 9th, let’s all do our part to prevent the next Milepost 97 fire from starting. Fire danger is currently high to extreme across the state. Many activities that could potentially start a fire are either prohibited entirely or restricted. One less spark, whether it be from a campfire, debris burn pile, lawn mower striking a rock, power saw, cigarette, or vehicle idling over dry grass, will make all the difference when protecting forestlands and communities.