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Good progress on Lionshead Fire, but containment figure poses a challenge

Lionshead Fire burned trees Kevin Benedict USFS 1008
Kevin Benedict/U.S. Forest Service
A stand of scorched trees testifies to the intensity of the Lionshead Fire along the B210 road on Thursday, October 8, a month after a historic wind event drove the fire across the Cascade Crest.

Much of the 'indirect' fire lines are in inaccessible areas

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Firefighters aided by weekend rain continue to make steady progress on the more than 204,000-acre Lionshead Fire, but the containment figure hasn't changed in recent days, with that number challenged by large inaccessible areas that burned, an official said Monday.

The official containment figure held at 46% for much of last week, and was dropped from Monday's daily update entirely.

"On this fire, there's a lot of inaccessible fire perimeter we can't directly build line" on, Fire Information Officer Scott Owen explained to NewsChannel 21.

Such areas include lava flows, rocky terrain, rivers and scars from previous burns, Owen said. Often, fire managers instead rely on what's known as "indirect" fire line, which doesn't easily translate to figuring a fire's containment level, he explained.

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Lionshead Fire Update

Monday, Oct. 12

Brian Gales, Incident Commander

Public information: 971-277-5075
Fire size: 204,469
Personnel assigned: 601

REDMOND, Ore. –  Within the fire zone, crews are constantly assessing hazards ranging from hazard trees to muddy roads, working when and where it is safe to do, and ensuring their vehicles and equipment do not cause more resource damage.

Over the weekend, crews have worked diligently to remove snags from the roadway that have fallen with the windy and rainy conditions. Firefighter and public safety are the top priority for the Incident Management Team and crews working around the fire perimeter.

Cooler and wet weather brings a new set of challenges for firefighters. Working in cold, wet conditions is unpleasant, and can affect firefighter morale. Incident Commander Brian Gales said well wishes and supportive comments from the public are a huge boost for firefighters during the long season.

“We really appreciate all the positive comments from the community about the hard work being done, and we relay it to the firefighters on the line every day,” Incident Commander Brian Gales said.

Now that active suppression, aviation and line construction are no longer essential to the containment effort, many crews and resources have been released from the incident to work on incidents that have staffing and resource needs. Daily objectives are also being adjusted to reflect the shorter daylight hours in which crews can work. 

A wilderness resource advisor has been ordered to help coordinate suppression repair and mitigation in these more sensitive areas. The resource advisor will coordinate with other resources on the fire to ensure efficient and effective suppression repair. Resource advisors continue to work with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to ensure resources are being protected throughout the area.

Weather: Weather on Monday will continue to be windy with some precipitation in the morning. The weather will dry out on Monday afternoon until a new frontal system arrives Tuesday afternoon, bringing additional precipitation and winds. The weather is forecasted to dry out and will begin a warming trend starting Wednesday.

Safety: Unpaved roads are very muddy, particularly on the west side of the Cascade Crest. The traveling public should avoid driving or parking on unpaved roads to avoid getting stuck.

ODF fire situation report for Monday, Oct. 12, 2020
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 10/12/20 8:34 AM

SALEM, Ore. -  Just after Labor Day, ODF started tracking 17 major fires. We continue to track of those(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.

Recent rains across much of the state have been lowering fire danger levels. As a result, the regional fire preparedness level was lowered to 2 on Saturday. Only one wildfire start was reported yesterday in Oregon, but zero new acres burned were reported. 

Remember that fire season isn’t over yet, which means backyard burning and other restrictions are still in effect on ODF-protected lands. Check the public fire restrictions map to see current restrictions for your area.

Fire nameAcres burnedContainmentLocation
Lionshead204,469       46%20 miles W of Warm Springs
Beachie Creek193,556       72%15 miles N of Detroit
Holiday Farm173,393       96%3 miles W of McKenzie Bridge
Riverside138,054       61%2 miles SE of Estacada
Archie Creek131,542       95%20 miles E of Glide
Slater44,597 in Oregon       75%6 SE of Cave Junction (also in No. California)

2020 Fire Season

This fire season, there have been 2,027 fires across all jurisdictions and 1,221,324 acres burned. On ODF-protected lands, there have been 907 fires and 551,816 acres burned.


Santiam State Forest is still closed to the public. Before heading out to hunt or recreate on other state or federal public lands, please check to see if there are any restrictions or closures due to the recent fires. There are still portions of some highways in wildfire areas that are closed. Use ODOT’s TripCheck to plan your route.

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Barney Lerten

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