South Obenchain Fire Update
Northwest Incident Management Team 8, Incident Commander, Doug Johnson
September 25, 2020
This will be the last update from the Northwest Incident Management Team 8 (NWIMT8), Incident Commander Doug Johnson. NE Washington Team 2, Incident Commander Dean Kiefer, will assume management of the fire Saturday at 7:00 am. NWIMT8 would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to the communities, cooperators, agency staff, and firefighters for the unwavering support during our management of the South Obenchain Fire.
The life and safety of the public and all wildland fire responders is always the number one priority for all fire agencies. To keep firefighters and communities healthy and safe, all firefighters are asked to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the spread of illness. This also includes limited entry into the incident command post and base camp.
The small amount of precipitation received has not significantly reduced the fire danger. All fuels remain at critically dry levels.Please stay diligent to keep new starts from occurring. Hunters are also reminded to be cautious and watch for falling fire weakened trees.
Wildfire Information Center: (458) 206-3043
Jackson County Emergency Management: (541) 776-7338
Wildfire Information Center: https://southwestoregonwildfireinformation.blogspot.com/
Air Quality: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/
Cause: Under investigation
Current situation: Visible flames and smoke will persist within the fire perimeter until a season-ending rain or snow event. Only call 911 if flames are actively spreading and life or property are threatened. Please provide a specific address or location for firefighters to respond.
Over 91 miles of containment line has been constructed to contain the South Obenchain Fire. Firefighting resources have been using the infrared technologies along these lines to find and mop-up any heat signatures. Due to safety risk concerns of working too far interior, a mop-up standard of 300 ft was determined by the local agencies. The 300 ft distance reduces the possibility that any live embers existing in the fire will not escape. Crews are continuing to patrol containment lines while looking for smokes in the interior. Along with that they will be mopping up, mitigating and rehabbing fire suppression actions. Many of these crews will be winding down their assignment here and demobilizing to leave for other incidents or headed home for well-earned rest.
There will still be firefighters present and working throughout the area and near roadways which should elicit caution from the public.
Resource Advisors are working with the repair group and continue to make good progress cleaning up dozer lines, repairing fencing, installing water bars, or ways to impede the flow of water down trails. and completing other suppression repairs. These measures will be important as the fall rains come.
The Northwest Incident Management Team 8 will be transitioning to the Northeast Washington Team 2 Saturday September 26, 2020 at 7 am.
Evacuations: Please view the following web pages for the most current evacuation maps:
Jackson County Emergency Management:
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office:
Shelter Location: The evacuation shelter remains located at the Jackson County Expo Center, 1 Penninger Rd. in Central Point, Oregon where care and services are available such as food, medical care, bathrooms and showers.
Weather: It was 98 days of dry weather before Thursday’s rain. Another chance of rain is forecasted for late afternoon into the night. Temperatures will be near the mid-70’s with relative humidity of 45%. Winds will be southwest to west at 7 mph with gusts to 15 mph.
Resources-783: 2-type 2 initial attack crews, 25-type 2 crews, 1- light helicopter, 2-medium helicopters, 36-engines, 10-dozers, 13-water tenders and 4-skidgens.
Temporary Flight Restrictions: The footprint of the TFR has reduced in size and height. It remains in place for the safety of the firefighters and aircraft fighting the South Obenchain fire. Please consult the Notice to Airman for specifics.
Closure: Thanks to recent rains and an increase in availability of initial attack resources to respond to new starts, the Bureau of Land Management Medford District is rescinding public lands closure notices across much of the District. Public lands closures remain in effect near the Slater Fire and the South Obenchain Fire.
Maps of the closure areas are available on the Bureau of Land Management’s website: http://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions