With cooler temperatures and the return of autumn rains, no significant growth is expected on the Middle Fork Complex. Heavy fuels including downed trees and stumps in interior portions of the fire still remain active though, and may still be available to burn when periods of warm, drier weather return. Ensuring the safety of firefighters and the public as suppression repair and road clearing continue remains the highest priority.
Firefighters are continuing patrol and mop up on the Gales Fire, with suppression repair ongoing with the Kwis and Gales Fires to mitigate damage to the surrounding area and protecting exposed soil from autumn rains. This work includes chipping branches, building water bars across hand and dozer lines, spreading slash on bare soils, and seeding to prevent encroaching noxious weeds.
A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has begun work on the Complex. The team is assessing the severity of fire effects and will plan mitigation measures for exposed soils with increased risk of erosion. Learn more about BAER here: https://www.fs.fed.us/naturalresources/watershed/burnedareas.shtml.
Agency managers are evaluating closures surrounding the fires, with the intent to restore public access to more areas as soon as safely possible. Please respect the closures while they are in effect. Disregarding a closure could not only result in a fine, but also exposes individuals to post wildfire area dangers such as fire weakened and down trees, unstable roads and slopes, hot smoldering materials, compromised culverts, heavy equipment operations, and continues firefighter traffic.
With hunting season underway, hunters are reminded to “Know before you go” and check for access before heading out due to the closure areas. Hunters who cannot access a certain area should hunt somewhere else in their unit or hunt area instead. For additional information please contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or visit https://myodfw.com/articles/hunting-and-fire-danger-oregon.Future updates will be provided if significant changes or activity occur.
Check the Willamette National Forest’s alerts page for the latest information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices.
Smoke: With moderated fire behavior and precipitation, smoke impacts are expected to be minimal in the vicinity of the fires.
Safety: Campfires are once again allowed on the Willamette National Forest. Human-caused fires are still a threat, so always practice fire safety and never leave a campfire unattended until it is completely out. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
Closures: Some National Forest System lands near the Middle Fork Complex fires are temporarily closed to provide for public and firefighter safety. Please be sure to check current conditions before planning a trip to the Willamette National Forest.
A PDF of the complete update is linked below.