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Welcome rain helps crews tackling Lionshead, other fires; much work remains

Lionshead Fire scorched pine trees Kevin Benedict USFS 1007
Kevin Benedict/U.S. Forest Service
Hundreds of acres of scorched young pine trees along the road to Lookout Butte on the northeast side of the Lionshead Fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Over an inch of rain in places late Friday and early Saturday were of great benefit for hundreds of firefighters still working to contain and douse Oregon's remaining major wildfires.

Here's Saturday's update on the Lionshead Fire:

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Lionshead Fire Update

Saturday, Oct. 10

Start date: Aug. 16, 2020Containment: 46%facebook.com/LionsheadFire
Fire size: 204,469 acresPublic information: 971-277-5075https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7049/

REDMOND, Ore. – Rain or shine, firefighters will be hard at work again today, performing suppression repair, hazard removal, chipping, patrol, and many other chores.

“We’re engaged in suppression repair across almost all divisions now,” Operations Chief Trainee John Spencer said. “We’ve achieved our objectives in some areas, but some areas have still got quite a few days to go.”

On the reservation, suppression repair objectives have been met in and around the northeast corner of the fire, with the exception of road repair. Grading work will continue throughout the fire footprint, as will suppression repair in the east and southeast containment zones.

Although Hwy. 46 is not open to the public and roadblocks remain in place, Breitenbush Retreat staff will be allowed to enter the area in groups today, during limited time frames, to retrieve belongings.

Conditions Friday were somewhat warmer and drier than expected, with more active interior burning in the afternoon. Water drops helped cool these areas to keep the fire’s intensity at a level that is not harmful to the landscape.  Today’s rain is expected to knock down many hot spots and virtually extinguish the fire on the west side of the Cascade Crest.

““The big question is – will this be a season-ending event?” Fire Behavior Analyst Dean Warner said. “It is likely to be on the west side. The east side will probably continue smoldering until snow flies, although activity will be significantly reduced.”

Rain showers will be at their heaviest today, with wind gusts of 35 to 50 miles per hour in some areas. Firefighters may stop work at times and seek shelter if rainfall becomes so heavy it obscures visibility, debris flows develop, roads become impassable or large numbers of hazard trees begin to fall.

While there are many hazards in a fire zone, driving or riding in a vehicle is by far the most dangerous thing firefighters and all Americans do every day. In wet weather, paved roads become slick as water and oil make contact. Unpaved road conditions can range from slick to a soupy mess. Slowing and stopping times are longer, especially for large vehicles and heavy equipment.

Closures: The Willamette, Mt. Hood and Deschutes National Forests have all updated their fire closure maps, opening additional areas to hunting and other recreation. The most current closure orders and maps can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7049/


Here's Saturday's update on the Holiday Farm Fire, which has burned 173,393 acres and is now 87% contained, with 475 personnel still on the lines. The cause of the Sept. 7 fire is still listed as unknown; it destroyed 431 homes and 24 other structures.

Springfield, Ore.  The rain that has been in the forecast for this weekend has arrived.  The Incident Meteorologist has shared that many of the Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS) were showing approximately 1.25” of rain as of 8:00 a.m.

With the rain falling over the fire, crews will continue patrolling for smokes near the fire lines.  The safety message for today was to stay safe and not to become complacent with the weather overhead.  Crews will continue back hauling equipment that is no longer needed on the fire line.  This equipment will be refurbished and sent back to the fire caches.

Crews are also prepared to provide help if the rainy conditions cause any complications.  They have been preparing for this weather by clearing culverts and installing water diversion features, however, there is a lot of debris that could cause the culverts to become blocked.  Crews will monitor these areas and act quickly if any issues arise.

Fire camp assets such as the kitchen, showers, and laundry have been broken down and demobilized from the incident.  As many have noticed, fire camp is like a small city.  The camp is “built” to provide most of the services needed for firefighters.

There are many sources of information to continue to monitor throughout the recovery and rehabilitation phases of this incident.  Lane County Government will continue to be the source of information for residents and landowners who have been affected by the fire.  Information can be found at:

www.lanecounty.org/mckenziefire/

For information regarding Willamette National Forest, please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/willamette/

Information on Bureau of Land Management closures can be found at: https://www.blm.gov/alert/fire-closures-and-fire-restrictions

For fire information inquiries, call (541) 357-9729 or visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7170/.


Riverside & Beachie Creek Fires Update – Saturday, October 10, 2020

Riverside Fire Quick Facts
Approx. Size: 138,054 ac.
Beachie Creek Fire Quick Facts
Approx. Size: 193,556 ac.
Containment: 61% Containment: 71%
Total Personnel: 217 Total Personnel: 236
Start Date: Sept. 8, 2020
Cause: Human
Start Date: August 16, 2020
Cause: Under Investigation

General Information: Rain and breezy conditions are expected through the weekend which could produce up to 1.5 inches of rain by Saturday evening, with an additional inch anticipated by early Monday morning. An inch of
rain has already been recorded in the Willamette Valley. Ridgetops and drainages within the fire area could see wind gusts of up to 25 mph. This active system may even produce snow for elevations as low as 5,000 ft.

With high amounts of rain expected in conjunction with gusty winds, firefighters continue to be diligent around fire-weakened trees. Slick roads and soil erosion could also present additional hazards for fire personnel and the public. The incoming weather system will likely keep aircraft grounded over the weekend, as helicopters are unable to fly in cloudy and windy conditions.

Riverside Fire: Firefighters are completing fire suppression repair work within the fire area while still patrolling the line for hot spots. Portland General Electric continued working to repair destroyed power lines.

Beachie Creek Fire: Firefighters responded to four more 911 calls for smoke yesterday. Aircraft flew over the area of concentrated heat within the Bull of the Woods Wilderness and reported no significant fire growth.

Repair and Rehabilitation Teams: The Bureau of Land Management Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) teams and the US Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams are evaluating the fire areas and preparing a repair plan. These programs are designed to address emergency stabilization issues related to wildland fire.

Central Oregon / Fire / News / Oregon-Northwest

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