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Four homes, 18 other buildings lost to NE Oregon wildfire


A new tally shows the nearly 60,000-acre Grizzly Bear Complex Fire that spread south from Washington into northeast Oregon has destroyed at least four homes and 18 other outbuildings and structures, officials said Saturday.

Here’s the Saturday morning fire update:

Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 4 and the Oregon State Fire Marshal Green Team assumed a unified command of the Grizzly Bear Complex fire on Friday.

Firefighting resources including crews, equipment, and structural apparatus are now deployed to the complex, which is burning in both Oregon and Washington.

The complex now includes five lightning-caused fires after some of the original 17 burned together. The fire is currently burning on the Umatilla National Forest and private land protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Three structure protection task forces mobilized through the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office worked in the areas around the Troy and Flora communities during the daytime operational period yesterday and one task force worked during the night.

Crews were optimistic that fire conditions were less severe than yesterday and that fire was still a couple of miles away from Flora. Those task forces will be in the area again today, continuing with structure triage and have coordinated plans in place with wildland crews given the forecasted weather and fire behavior conditions.

An estimated 300-400 structures are scattered throughout the area threatened by the fire. The fire is currently active on all sides. The fire is generally still west of the Grand Ronde River, but moving northeast and down-canyon from Troy.

Weather conditions today appear more favorable than in recent days, with lighter winds, though conditions remain dry.

Current evacuation notices include:
Level 3: Troy, Eden Bench, Grouse Flat, and Bartlett. The area North of the Grande Ronde river at Eden Bench and Troy to the state line. East along the state line to Hwy 129, north through Boggan’s Oasis to Big Butte.
Level 2: An area east of Hwy 129 from the State line north through Boggan’s Oasis to Big Butte. An area within the boundary from the Clearwater Guard Station to Lick Creek Road; from Lick Creek Rd. to Asotin city limits; around Asotin to the Snake River; from the Snake River south to the state line; from the state line west to Highway 129. Flora, Lost Prairie, Redmond Grade northeast to Highway 3
Level 1: City of Asotin, WA

Additional updates will be provided on Facebook and Inciweb later today.

Quick Facts:

Fire Complex Size: 59,150 acres
Fire Start Date: August 13, 2015
Location: 20 miles SE of Dayton, WA, burning on Umatilla National Forest and private lands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry and Washington Dept. of Natural Resources.
Hazards: Rapid fire growth with crowning, spotting and wind-driven runs, unauthorized drone flights.
Values at Risk: Public safety, Communities of Troy, Grouse Flats, Eden Bench; Long Meadows Guard Station; Historic Hoodoo lookout, communications facilities.
Cause: Lightning
Containment: 0%
Personnel: 262
Resources: 5 Crews, 14 Engines, 1 Helicopter (Type 3)
Structures Lost: 22
Evacuation Levels:
Level 1: Be alert to situation.
Level 2: Be ready to evacuate.
Level 3: Leave immediately.

A Red Cross shelter is located at Enterprise High School, 201 SE 4th St in Enterprise, phone 541-519-2360


The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Region X Regional Administrator Kenneth D. Murphy determined that the fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. Murphy approved the state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant early Friday, shortly after midnight.

At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 150 homes in and around the communities of Troy and neighboring areas. Nearly all of the threatened homes are primary residences.

The fire was also threatening high value timberland, cultural resources, campgrounds, wildlife areas, power lines and community infrastructure in the area.

Mandatory and voluntary evacuations were issued for approximately 200 people.Additionally the communities of Grouse Flats, Eden Bench, and Bartlett Bench were also threatened.

The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state of Oregon’s eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires.

These grants provide reimbursement for firefighting and life-saving efforts. They do not provide assistance to individuals, homeowners or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.

The emergency grants are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible items can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.

Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act Thursday night in response to the Grizzly Bear Complex.

“Winds continue to fuel 13 lightning fires burning together, and they’ve now pushed across the Washington-Oregon border,” Brown said. “The Grizzly Bear Complex Fire threatens more than 100 homes and structures, so I ask residents to make safety a priority and heed all evacuation orders.”

In accordance with ORS 476.510-476.610 , Brown determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists due to the fire and that the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment.

The governor’s declaration authorizes the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to mobilize structural firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The emergency was declared for the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire only and is effective immediately..

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