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John Day-area fire tops 73,000 acres amid new evacuations


Cooler temperatures and calmer winds made for good progress Saturday on the more than 73,000-acre Canyon Creek Complex Fire south of John Day and Canyon City, but new growth on the fire Sunday night prompted new evacuation orders.

Late Sunday, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office was evacuating the Upper Pine Creek and Upper Dog Creek areas, moving them from a Level 2 to a Level 3 evacuation status.

The raised evacuation levels came because the fire was being pushed by southwest winds and advancing into the Norton Fork of the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Sunday evening.

Crews had been working over the past few days to secure the line between the northeast corner of the fire to the wilderness boundary, working south from developed areas.

Firefighters had progressed as far as a half-mile south of Mud Springs. However, the renewed push by the main fire occurred two to three miles south of their improved line, officials said.

Earlier Sunday, a force of over 800 firefighters had pushed the blaze to 23 percent containment — and by Monday morning, that figure rose to 27 percent.

Here’s the Monday morning fact sheet update on the fire:

Type of Incident: Wildfire

Cause: Lightning

Date of Origin: August 12, 2015

Location: One mile south of the towns of John Day and Canyon City, Oregon.

Types of Fuel: Timber with brush/grass understory; areas of medium density logging slash.

Structures Threatened: 300

Structures Damaged: 50

Residences Destroyed: 39

Current Size: 73,210 acres Percent Containment: 29%

Number of Personnel: 665

Types of resources: 2 Type 1 crews, 13 Type 2 crews, 4 helicopters, 53 engines, 16 dozers, 21 water tenders, 10 skidgines

Canyon Creek Complex Recent Activities:

Canyon Creek

• A previously inactive section of the fire, located in the wilderness on a rocky ridge above the Norton Fork area, was fanned by southwest wind and made a significant run into the drainage. This produced a large visible plume of smoke and prompted officials to elevate the evacuation levels in the Upper Pine Creek and Upper Dog Creek areas from Level 2 to Level 3 as a precaution. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office notified the public around 9:30 p.m. Firefighters had built contingency lines and put structure protection in place in the Pine Creek area days ago in anticipation of the wind shift that occurred yesterday. Today, this will be our priority area. Firefighters and equipment are being shifted from other parts of the complex where fire lines are secure in order to support suppression actions.

• Crews took advantage of favorable conditions to conduct burn out operations near Mud Springs yesterday. They were removing unburned fuel inside the perimeter and strengthening existing fire lines.

• The fire perimeter to the southeast was improved and mop-up operations are underway. The southeast corner of the fire had successful burn-out operations which helped tie the fire into the wilderness.

• Night operations continued maintaining firelines on the northeast and southeast flanks of the fire.

Jerry’s Draw

• Firefighters continued to mop up and remove hazard trees near the fire line. The fire is completely lined at 165 acres and no hotspots were found outside the line. Burn piles located in the interior of the fire continued to smolder and produce visible smoke.

Planned Actions Include:

Canyon Creek

• The main focus of suppression actions will be in the NE flank of the fire to secure the Upper Pine Creek and Upper Dog Creek areas. Operations shifted additional resources from other areas of the fire to support suppression actions.

• The fire will be tested again today due to Red Flag Warning conditions for low relative humidity, warmer temperatures and southwest wind gusts up to 30 mph on the ridgetops. The public should expect continued smoky conditions.

• Crews will continue to improve the northeast fire perimeter around the Mud Springs area, and provide protection to community infrastructure.

• Firefighters will be scouting and constructing indirect contingency lines in the Indian Springs to Strawberry Mountain area in order to address containment options for eastern flank of the fire within the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness.

• Mop up continues along the entire western flank from John Day to Vance Creek and from Vance Creek to Parish Cabin.

• Fire managers continue strategic planning to assess suppression action into the wilderness.

• Air resources are on standby until visibility improves.

• Oregon Trails Electric Coop is continuing its efforts to restore power to residences along Hwy 395.

Jerry’s Draw

• Continue mop up operations.

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)
Highway 395 is open for unrestricted two-way travel beginning this morning, August 24, at 8:00 am. Travelers on the roadway should remember there will continue to be firefighters and equipment on the road and use caution. Expect 10 to to 20-minute delays.

Grant County Sheriff
The Sheriff’s Office reminds people to be respectful of private property and to remain on the road unless otherwise invited. Trespassing is punishable by law, and violators will be prosectured.

Oregon National Guard
A contingency of Oregon National Guard ground personnel are slated to arrive on Wednesday, August 26 and will be used in the fire suppression effort.

Burned Area Emergency Rehab (BAER)
A BAER team has been ordered and will begin to conduct a watershed assessment of the area in order to plan rehabilitation of fire lines and mitigate soil erosion.

Temperatures will begin to increase, creating warmer and drier conditions with light winds from the southwest by Sunday afternoon. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for today because of high temperatures, low relative humidity, and potential southwest winds.

Air Quality Index
Smoke levels are predicted to in the unhealthful range. For more specific information visit Oregon Smoke Information at

Evacuation Update on Canyon Creek Complex:

Level 3 Evacuations: Canyon Creek Complex

Upper Pine Creek from Berry Ranch Lane

Upper Dog Creek, south of Little Dog Creek

The area west of County Road 62, south of the forest boundary (MP 12) and north of the 16 to the junction of FR 15/16 is in a level 3 evacuation. CR 62 and the 16 are open for through travel, at this time.

Forest Closures remain in effect. Current Forest Orders are available at:

Level 3 Evacuations: Jerry’s Draw Fire

There are no level 3 evacuations in place at this time for the Jerry’s Draw fire.

Decreased to Level 2: Canyon Creek Complex

South on Dog Creek Road to Little Dog Creek

Upper end of Pine Creek Road from Berry Ranch Lane

From J – L south to the end of County Road 65.

Level 1 Evacuations: Canyon Creek Complex

Adams Road and Adams Drive Marysville

Eagle Peak Gardner Ranch

Pineview Buckhorn

Edgewood Little Pine

Rebel Hill Lower Pine Creek from Berry Ranch Lane

Canyon Creek along Hwy. 395, from the fire perimeter north at Canyon City to the J-L Ranch

Izee-Paulina Road from Hwy 395


Nan’s Rock Road, Laycock Creek Road, Luce Creek, West Bench Road

All areas around the Jerry’s Draw Fire, including Ricco Ranch Road, Standard Creek, Dean Creek Road and Dixie Creek and Dixie View.

Roads Reopened

Marysville from Hwy. 395 to Dog Creek and the junction of Hwy. 26

Hwy. 395 opened to through traffic this morning.

Road Closures

Homeowners on the lower Little Canyon Mountain Trail area can also access their homes.

South from Dog Creek to Little Dog Creek is closed.

The 15 Road remains closed.

For maps and the latest updates:

Article Topic Follows: News

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