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Oregon has ‘turned the corner’ on stopping massive wildfires, Gov. Brown says

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Three of the 10 remaining major wildfires that have ravaged a million acres across Oregon have been contained to a point where they can be turned over to local fire officials, Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday in a briefing updating the situation.

That status for the South Obenchain, Brattain and Two Four Two fires is “really good news,” Brown said, leaving incident management teams on the Riverside, Beachie Creek, Lionshead, Holiday Farm, Archie Creek, Thielsen and Slater blazes.

The fires range in containment from 13 to 38 percent, she said, “and that’s giving our fire teams a lot of confidence that we’ve turned the corner.”

So far, more than 4,250 individuals and families have applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, and more than $7 million in aid has been approved for help with immediate needs, the governor added.

As in past briefings, Brown praised not only firefighters but the many volunteers and citizens who, for example, checked on their neighbors and helped them evacuate as the fires raced toward them.

There have been, tragically, nine confirmed deaths and five people still missing, along with 1,000s of homes and businesses destroyed. But Brown said “fortunately the loss of live has been much less than we expected,” a “testament” to the many first responders’ and citizens’ courageous actions.

Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection for the Oregon Department of Forestry, said an inch or two of rain due in the next 72 hours west of the Cascades will be of great help, but that several of the “mega-fires” over 100,000 acres expect to be fought until the heavy rains fall, typically in mid-October.

On other topics, Brown called on Oregonians to “double down” on COVID-19 safety precautions amid a rise in cases, said “Hallelujah!” to a surprisingly favorable state revenue forecast and said odds are slim for any special session to deal with wildfires, COVID-19 or other issues until after the Nov. 3 election.


ODF fire update and fire map for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 09/23/20 11:08 AM

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Forestry is closely monitoring 10 major fires in Oregon, down from 17 originally (see table below for details). Fires are removed from the list when they are 100% lined and fire managers are confident in their progress toward containment.

There have been more than 7,500 personnel assigned to these fires, not including many of the government employees, landowners, forestland operators, and members of the community who are contributing every day. There have been resources from 39 states and multiple Canadian provinces in this fight alongside Oregonians.

About 1 million acres have burned in Oregon since the start of this year, which is nearly double the 10-year average of approximately 557,811.

Fire nameAcres burned (est.)ContainmentLocation
Lionshead203,68515%20 miles W of Warm Springs
Beachie Creek192,82846%15 miles N of Detroit
Holiday Farm173,09427%3 miles W of McKenzie Bridge
Riverside138,02731%2 miles SE of Estacada
Archie Creek131,59852%20 miles E of Glide
Brattain50,75187%8 miles S of Paisley
Slater42,215 in Oregon24%6 SE of Cave Junction (also in No. California)
S. Obenchain32,67180%5 miles E of Eagle Point
Two Four Two14,47395%N/NW of Chiloquin
Thielsen9,91626%E of Diamond Lake

More information


Lionshead Fire Update

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 – 10 a.m.

Special Notice: There will be a virtual community fire information meeting tonight, September 23, 2020 at 6:00 p.m., PDT. An update on the status of the fire will be provided by fire managers and cooperating agencies. The meeting can be viewed via Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/LionsheadFire/ or Zoom at https://usfs.zoomgov.com/j/1606494587.

Current Situation:

Approximately 400 additional firefighters and support personnel arrived at the incident yesterday. The fire gained some acreage, but containment increased to 15%. Low fire behavior is expected today even with stronger winds leading up to a predicted rain event. Southwest winds will build over the ridges prior to rain in early evening.  

The increased winds pose a hazard along road corridors and the fireline due to the possibility of falling fire-weakened trees. Hazard tree removal work along roads and constructed fireline will be affected by increasing winds. Wind can also reveal smokes that need more attention along the fire edge.

Air quality has improved. Good to excellent overnight humidity recovery has also been helpful. Shorter days will slow fire spread as the burning period narrows. Predicted rain (as much as 1 inch in some areas) will have a positive impact on firefighting efforts.

Firefighting Efforts by Division: (Refer to the map for division breakdown.)

More progress was made in Division A yesterday connecting existing roads with dozer and hand line. Previous burnouts look secure. Progress was made in the Badger Butte area, although several days of hard work will be required to close a gap in constructed line. The east side of Division A is in patrol status with mop up operations still identifying some heat. 

In Division E, patrol and chipping operations continue.

Divisions G, I, K, and N have been quiet for several days and continue to be secure. Firefighters are monitoring and patrolling this area. Most of the road system has been prepped and is now being reinforced as a control line.

On the southeast perimeter, working west from the Division N/R break (north of Jefferson Lake), the fireline has been secured west to the lava rock area. There was some fire activity on an unburned island of fuel inside the fire perimeter near the lava flow. All line on the 12 Road is complete just short of 20 Road. Firefighters have significant work to do removing logs and slash after this operation.

Much of the perimeter in Division S has checked along the road system. There hasn’t been any significant fire movement or spread in this division for several days.

The fire in Division T has mostly been checked on existing roads. Crew work is primarily patrol and cold trailing along the fire’s edge. Cold trailing is a method of controlling a partly dead fire edge by carefully inspecting and feeling with the hands to detect and extinguish any remaining heat. Firefighters are looking for any spread across roadways. Known spot fires in this division have been contained. This work will continue today. More crews are moving into the area.

The structure group continues their work in Detroit, Idanha, New Idanha, and Breitenbush securing line and mopping up.

Crews are working in Division W, Y and Z to secure spot fires found near Road 46. The 46 Road remains closed due to the large amount of heavy equipment required for this effort. This road may remain closed until snags and hazards are cleared and the road is deemed safe for public travel.

The Contingency Groups are improving indirect fireline. The south contingency group is working along County Road 12 to County Road 20, improving fuel breaks along the road. The north contingency group is working in close coordination with Riverside Fire managers to identify opportunities to connect existing roads that both fires could use in the event these indirect lines are needed.

Air operations flew 14 hours yesterday and will continue similar efforts today as weather and flight conditions allow.

Weather & Fuel Conditions: Today, expect mostly cloudy conditions with increasing winds as a low-pressure system and cold front move inland. Southwest winds will increase to 12-18 mph with gusts of 30-35 mph. Rain is expected to develop over the fire late Wednesday afternoon and increase through the night. Rainfall accumulations will be higher west of the crest and lower inland.

Closures and Evacuations: Evacuation Notices remain in place for the Lionshead Fire. Level 3 “Go!” evacuation notices are still in place for the communities of Detroit, Idanha, New Idanha, and Breitenbush. There are no longer any evacuation notices for the Sidwalter/Miller flats area.

Roads and trails near the fire remain closed for public safety. The 12 Road will remain closed to the public for the near future. This includes roads and trails on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Spring lands adjacent to the fire and a 40-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail between Santiam Pass and Olallie Lake. Forest closures are in place for Deschutes, Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forests: Deschutes NF Alerts Willamette NF Alerts Mt. Hood NF Alerts.

Temporary Flight Restrictions: A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the Lionshead Fire and surrounding fires. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Whenever a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information, visit knowbeforeyoufly.org.

Reminder: Schools have reopened. Be aware of increased traffic.

  Lionshead Fire Statistics: Size: 203,685 acres Containment: 15% Total Personnel: 1,425 Location: 14 miles west of Warm Springs Reported: 8/16/20, approximately 8:44 p.m. Cause: Lightning  For More Information: Information Office: 971-277-5075, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Media Inquiries: 541-904-0542 Email: 2020.lionshead@firenet.gov InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7049/ You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHSR6_yJRQkHyGjvvqX99gw Facebook: facebook.com/LionsheadFire  

OR 22E to remain closed indefinitely between Gates and Santiam Junction
ODOT: Valley, No. Coast - 09/23/20 2:05 PM

SALEM--OR 22E remains closed indefinitely from Gates Hill Road (milepost 33) in Gates to the OR 22/U.S. 20 intersection (Santiam Junction). Marion County still has the North Fork Road and Pioneer Road closed at OR 22E.

The wildfires damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of trees along OR 22E. These hazard trees are a threat to the road and to the travelers that use it.  Crews have been working hard to remove them so we can open up other sections of the highway.  Also, miles of guardrail and hundreds of signs have been damaged or destroyed and will eventually need to be repaired or replaced.

ODOT’s immediate goal is to get the hazard trees cleared, and then use pilot cars from the east and west to open these communities while we work on the other repairs. ODOT continues to work closely with the Oregon State Police, and the Marion and Linn County Sheriff’s departments on a daily basis and will continue to coordinate our efforts with them to open up the communities of Detroit and Idanha.

Other highways in the state are closed because of wildfire damage to the roads.  ODOT is working to open these highways as quickly and safely as possible to all access to allow for property owners and the communities that were impacted.

On those roads that are open near wildfires, travelers should make sure to drive the posted speeds, exercise caution and be aware of firefighting equipment and emergency vehicles that are still operating in the area.

https://www.tripcheck.com/


State issues insurance emergency order for wildfire victims
Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services - 09/23/20 9:25 AM

(Salem) – The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Division of Financial Regulation has issued an insurance emergency order for people affected by the state’s wildfires. 

Insurance companies must immediately take steps to do the following until the order is no longer in effect: 

  • Extend all deadlines for policyholders to report claims or submit other communications related to claims
  • Take all practicable steps to provide opportunities for policyholders to report claims
  • Establish a grace period for premium payments for all insurance policies issued, delivered, or covering a risk in the affected areas
  • Suspend cancellations and nonrenewals

The order applies to several ZIP codes across the state. The division’s bulletin No. DFR 2020-16 provides a list of ZIP codes that are subject to the order. 

“We issued this order to make sure evacuees and other Oregonians affected by these wildfires are able to access the insurance resources they need, especially while they are displaced,” said DCBS Director and Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi. “We appreciate all the work our state’s insurance representatives are doing to help their customers right now, and we encourage everyone to be patient and work together throughout the recovery process.”

If your home or property was damaged by the wildfires, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to discuss your situation and learn next steps. If you still have concerns, the division’s consumer advocates are here to help. Call 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or email .dfr.insurancehelp@oregon.gov.

Visit the division's wildfire insurance resource page to view the order, bulletin, and more insurance information.

###

About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov. 

About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx.


Plan Ahead Before Going Home
Oregon Office of Emergency Management - 09/23/20 12:20 PM

As evacuation levels change, people affected by the fires are eager to know when it is safe to go home. As conditions may be unknown in an area, it is important that residents follow the advice of local authorities to learn when it is safe to return. Residents should also check road closures and conditions to know the safest way to travel. Check roads by visiting Oregon Dept. of Transportation’s TripCheck.com.

Once local authorities have given the all-clear to re-enter properties, homeowners should take steps to protect themselves and others, when cleaning up after a wildfire. Many dangers may remain, such as ash and fire debris, which can be toxic. 

Staying safe around ashes:

  • If you see ash or a layer of dust, keep children away until it has been cleaned.
  • Cloth face coverings, paper masks or bandanas are not effective at filtering out fine airborne ash, dust or asbestos fibers. N95 or KN95 respirators, if properly fit, tested and worn, can offer protection from airborne particles.
  • Avoid activities that could stir up ash and make it airborne again, like using a leaf blower, dry sweeping, or vacuuming without a HEPA filter.
  • Use rubber gloves when cleaning up ash. Wash any ash off of your body or clothing right away.
  • To clean up ash outdoors: Gently dampen the ash – do not use a pressure washer, which will generate dust before it wets things down. Then use a vacuum with a high efficiency HEPA filter if you have one. If you don't have a HEPA-equipped vacuum, gently sweep or scoop up the ash.
  • To clean up ash indoors: Use a damp cloth to clean surfaces, a wet mop on floors. Do not use a vacuum to clean up ash unless it has a high efficiency HEPA filter.
  • Turn on an air purifier or ventilation system with a HEPA filter, if you have one, to help remove particles from indoor air.
  • Find more safety tips on the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Qualitywebsite.

Making your yard safe:

  • Extinguish hot embers. Check for them in yard debris, rain gutters or crawl spaces, on the roof, and under overhangs and decks.
  • Clear away debris. Move it away from the house to the edge of your home.
  • Check the electric meter. If there is visible damage, don’t turn the breaker on. Call your utility company.
  • Stay clear of electrical wires on the ground. Report them to your utility company.
  • Check the gas meter, gas lines or propane tank. If there is visible damage or if you smell gas, call your local utility or propane company.

Before entering structures: If you have safety concerns, have a qualified building inspector or structural engineer inspect your structures. Don’t enter if you smell gas. Turn off the power before you inspect your structure. Use a flashlight, but turn it on outside because the flashlight battery may produce a spark that can cause a fire.

Entering your structures safely:

  • Check for immediate dangers. This includes remaining fire and fire damage, and wild or domestic animals that may have taken refuge.
  • Check the attic. Embers may have entered through vents.
  • Keep appliances turned off until you have determined the electric meter and electrical lines are undamaged.
  • Discard food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Don’t drink or use water from the faucet until emergency officials say it’s okay. Water systems may become polluted if there is post-fire flooding.
  • Take safety precautions for utilities:
    • Electric – If you turn on the breaker and still have no power, contact your utility company.
    • Propane tank or  system – Turn off the valves and call your propane supplier to inspect the system.
    • Heating oil tank system – Call your supplier to inspect it before you use it.
    • Solar electrical system – Have it inspected by a licensed technician to verify the solar panels and wiring are safe.

Documenting Damage and contacting your insurance company: Call your insurance agent. Make a list of the damage and document it with photos and videos. Keep all receipts for repair and cleaning costs.

###

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362)  711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.


Civil Air Patrol Aircrews Bring Home More Wildfire Photos
Oregon Civil Air Patrol - 09/23/20 4:03 PM

SALEM, Ore. (Sep. 23, 2020) – Civil Air Patrol crews gathered more than 100 photos Tuesday of key infrastructure in Oregon wildfire zones to help determine damage caused by the worst fires in the state in decades. 

This was CAP’s sixth day of missions in the wildfire zones. Some planned trips for CAP crews were canceled because other aircraft were in the areas helping fight the wildfires.  

More flights are planned for the near future as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) requests have come in for CAP’s high-resolution photography. That depends on weather, as CAP aerial photography depends on good visibility. Low clouds and smoke inhibit that. Weather forecasts also show the possibility of rain. 

CAP has flown 30 sorties so far in response to the wildfires. More than 20 CAP volunteers have worked organizing, flying and recording activities. In addition, CAP has highly trained emergency services personnel imbedded with the OEM in Salem, responding to requests for air support and advising on other interagency cooperation. 

Acting as a Total Force partner and the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, CAP is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to nonmilitary threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance. 

At last count, CAP’s Oregon Wing has 290 adult volunteers who train vigorously to FEMA standards each year to be ready to help in emergencies like the unprecedented onslaught of wildfires that have burned more than 1 million acres this year and thousands of structures and displaced huge numbers of Oregonians. The wing also has 247 young cadet members, who train in leadership, character development, physical fitness and citizenship. Many also train in emergency services to ground search and rescue and detecting emergency signals emitted by aircraft in distress.

About Civil Air Patrol
Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and 1,944 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Members also serve as mentors to nearly 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. One of the premier public service organizations in America, CAP benefits the nation with an estimated economic impact of $209 million annually.

Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 129 lives so far in fiscal 2020. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

Visit www.orwg.cap.govwww.CAP.News or www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.


Plan Ahead Before Going Home
Oregon Office of Emergency Management - 09/23/20 12:20 PM

As evacuation levels change, people affected by the fires are eager to know when it is safe to go home. As conditions may be unknown in an area, it is important that residents follow the advice of local authorities to learn when it is safe to return. Residents should also check road closures and conditions to know the safest way to travel. Check roads by visiting Oregon Dept. of Transportation’s TripCheck.com.

Once local authorities have given the all-clear to re-enter properties, homeowners should take steps to protect themselves and others, when cleaning up after a wildfire. Many dangers may remain, such as ash and fire debris, which can be toxic. 

Staying safe around ashes:

  • If you see ash or a layer of dust, keep children away until it has been cleaned.
  • Cloth face coverings, paper masks or bandanas are not effective at filtering out fine airborne ash, dust or asbestos fibers. N95 or KN95 respirators, if properly fit, tested and worn, can offer protection from airborne particles.
  • Avoid activities that could stir up ash and make it airborne again, like using a leaf blower, dry sweeping, or vacuuming without a HEPA filter.
  • Use rubber gloves when cleaning up ash. Wash any ash off of your body or clothing right away.
  • To clean up ash outdoors: Gently dampen the ash – do not use a pressure washer, which will generate dust before it wets things down. Then use a vacuum with a high efficiency HEPA filter if you have one. If you don't have a HEPA-equipped vacuum, gently sweep or scoop up the ash.
  • To clean up ash indoors: Use a damp cloth to clean surfaces, a wet mop on floors. Do not use a vacuum to clean up ash unless it has a high efficiency HEPA filter.
  • Turn on an air purifier or ventilation system with a HEPA filter, if you have one, to help remove particles from indoor air.
  • Find more safety tips on the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Qualitywebsite.

Making your yard safe:

  • Extinguish hot embers. Check for them in yard debris, rain gutters or crawl spaces, on the roof, and under overhangs and decks.
  • Clear away debris. Move it away from the house to the edge of your home.
  • Check the electric meter. If there is visible damage, don’t turn the breaker on. Call your utility company.
  • Stay clear of electrical wires on the ground. Report them to your utility company.
  • Check the gas meter, gas lines or propane tank. If there is visible damage or if you smell gas, call your local utility or propane company.

Before entering structures: If you have safety concerns, have a qualified building inspector or structural engineer inspect your structures. Don’t enter if you smell gas. Turn off the power before you inspect your structure. Use a flashlight, but turn it on outside because the flashlight battery may produce a spark that can cause a fire.

Entering your structures safely:

  • Check for immediate dangers. This includes remaining fire and fire damage, and wild or domestic animals that may have taken refuge.
  • Check the attic. Embers may have entered through vents.
  • Keep appliances turned off until you have determined the electric meter and electrical lines are undamaged.
  • Discard food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Don’t drink or use water from the faucet until emergency officials say it’s okay. Water systems may become polluted if there is post-fire flooding.
  • Take safety precautions for utilities:
    • Electric – If you turn on the breaker and still have no power, contact your utility company.
    • Propane tank or  system – Turn off the valves and call your propane supplier to inspect the system.
    • Heating oil tank system – Call your supplier to inspect it before you use it.
    • Solar electrical system – Have it inspected by a licensed technician to verify the solar panels and wiring are safe.

Documenting Damage and contacting your insurance company: Call your insurance agent. Make a list of the damage and document it with photos and videos. Keep all receipts for repair and cleaning costs.

###

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362)  711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.

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Comments

8 Comments

  1. ‘Turned the corner’… Riiiiiiight, I’m sure there will never be another one. Thanks for protecting the forests, Kate! Now I’m gonna eat a turkey pot pie to celebrate!

  2. Fathead Brown must think all Oregonians are as numb to her stupidity as the likes of Martha-Fester-DB-Fatherlesschild… the usual cast of dumb-bunnies who believe everything the old hater dishes out… well guess what… hot off the presses from Wallethubs annual survey of “America’s Happiest States”- and guess where Oregon landed- yup right on it’s singed tail at #41 !

    So what dragged Oregon to the bottom rungs ? Here ya go… a solid #49 ranking in…

    “Highest Share of Adult Depression” ! Yup- all them brew pubs and legalized marijuana shops still can’t get Oregonians out of their funk… and “Hate Brown’s” quadruple dose of negativity (Covid-Riots-wild-fires-and All things Trump) have severely worn on the state’s citizens- like many of us predicted.

    There is only one real solution- remove “Hate Brown” and her supporters like “Ted Weasler” and start over !

    Enjoy the read- it truly is depressing !

    https://wallethub.com/edu/happiest-states/6959/

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