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Wildfires update: Canadian fire crews arrive; 2 routes to Valley won’t reopen soon

'I don't think anyone was prepared for this.'

(Update: New state statistics, video, Canadian efforts, road closures into)

More residents in the wildfire-devastated Santiam Canyon can return to the area under a reduced, Level 2 evacuation, the Marion County Sheriff's Office announced Friday as welcome rain moved into some fire-hit areas.

Meanwhile, the Lionshead Fire has grown to pass the Beachie Creek Fire as the largest of the recent spate of wildfires across the state.

Friday's update from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management showed eight confirmed fatalities, as it has been for several days, along with 11 people still missing and nearly 3,000 being sheltered.

OEM said the latest tally from surveys in the fire-hit areas shows 2,180 homes have been destroyed and more than 1,400 other structures also lost.

All major fires on the landscape are at least 10% contained, OEM said.

"Though not a fire season-ending event, rain overnight provided favorable conditions for firefighters," the update stated. "Additional rain and gusty conditions present risks of landslides through the weekend."

Teams of firefighters all across the nation have helped Oregon. As of Friday, Canada joins the fight.

Teams from the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario have all landed here in Central Oregon.

More than 200 Canadian firefighters in total will be here by the weekend and hold their briefings as the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond.

Many of you have also reached out to NewsChannel 21, looking for answers on road closures and how long they might last.

We asked ODOT Region 4 spokesman Peter Murphy on Friday about state Highway 22 to the Willamette Valley.

"It's closed, and we don't see it opening any time in the near future," he said. "Highway 126, that a lot of folks take to Springfield and Eugene, is also closed."

Murphy said ODOT is in daily contact with fire officials, but much of those cross-state routes will remain closed until further notice.

"Two out of the three direct routes to the valley are closed," he said, "but there are still some options to the north and the south that remain open" -- Highway 58 over Willamette pass to the south, Highways 26 and 97/197 to the Portland area and the Columbia Gorge.

We asked Murphy if ODOT was prepared for an event like this.

"I don't think anyone was prepared for this," he said.

----

Here are Friday's updates:

ODF fire report for Friday, Sept. 18, 2020
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 09/18/20 10:24 AM

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon Department of Forestery is closely monitoring 10 major fires in Oregon, (see table below for details). Echo Mountain and the North Cascade complexes were removed from today’s report. Fires are removed from the list when they are 100% lined and fire managers are confident in their progress toward containment. There are more than 6,500 personnel assigned to these fires from across the nation and Canada. This doesn’t include the many government emergency response employees, landowners, forestland operators, and members of the community who are contributing to the fight in whatever way they can. 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
Lionshead192,71910%20 miles W of Warm Springs
Beachie Creek192,01220%15 miles N of Detroit
Holiday Farm172,51010%3 miles W of McKenzie Bridge
Riverside137,86510%2 miles SE of Estacada
Archie Creek130,42925%20 miles E of Glide
Brattain44,80020%8 miles S of Paisley
Slater41,395 in Oregon10%SE of Cave Junction (also in No. California)
S. Obenchain32,83335%5 miles E of Eagle Point
Two Four Two14,47337%W/NW of Chiloquin
Thielsen9,99515%E of Diamond Lake

Please note: The acres burned estimates above are based very limited information available. These numbers will change over the next several days, in some cases significantly. We will be taking every opportunity to map these fires. Fire maps are an important tool for both ongoing response operations and keeping people informed. 

More information


Mill City and Gates reduced to Level 2 with specific route for entry to these cities
Marion Co. Sheriff's Office - 09/18/20 10:00 AM

Important Information

Evacuation levels for the Cities of Mill City and Gates are being reduced to Level 2 – “Be Set” at 10:00 a.m. Today, September 18th, 2020.  In a level 2 evacuation area, community members are permitted to return to the area, though they should remain prepared to evacuate should conditions change.

As access to these cities is reopening, Highway 22 will remain closed between Highway 226 and Mile Post 29, near the west end of Mill City. The four mile section of Highway 22 between the cities of Mill City and Gates will be open for travel. Community members returning to Gates and Mill City will need to use the following travel route to access their residences and businesses:

  • Highway 22 east to Hwy 226
  • Hwy 226 turns into Lyons/Mill City Dr
  • Lyons/Mill City Dr to SW Kingwood Ave
  • Kingwood Ave to Gates School Rd
  • Gates School Rd to E Sorbin Ave
  • E Sorbin Ave to Highway 22

The areas immediately to the north of the city limits of Mill City and Gates remain at a Level 3 – “Go” evacuation status.  Road closures will be in effect on Carr Road, Hudel Road and Gates Hill Road north of the city limits.

Current evacuation areas as of 10:00 am, 9/18/2020:

Level 3 – “Go”

Detroit

Idanha

Breitenbush

Highway 22 @ Highway 226, east to Mile Post 29, including North Fork Road, Pioneer Road, and other roadways in this cooridor.

Level 2 – “Be Set”

Lyons

Mehama

Mill City

Gates

Fernridge Rd west of Shellburg Creek Rd to Basil Hill

Crooked Finger Rd & Moss Lane

Level 1 – “Ready”

Scotts Mills

Areas east of Meridian Road, Davis Creek, and Victor Point south to the Marion County line

To see detailed current Marion County Evacuation Zones please visit: http://bit.ly/MCEvacZones

If you happen to live in fire impacted areas of Linn County, updated evacuation maps can be found at: www.LinnSheriff.org.


BRATTAIN FIRE UPDATE
September 18, 2020 @ 9 AM

Yesterday:

Another very active day for firefighting resources yesterday battling the elevated fire conditions but seizing opportunities to increase fireline construction and containment. Crews constructed fireline in the southwest corner of the fire and in the northwest quadrant of the fire.  They were supported by numerous helicopters.  Containment lines in the northeast and east flanks of the fire held as crews patrolled for hotspots.  Fire behavior and accessibility allowed crews to continue the direct attack in the southern area of the fire with handcrews, engines and dozers. Logging equipment and masticators or “brushcutters” continue to improve Forest Roads 3360 and 3510 as a contingency line along the south flank of the fire.       

Today:

After five consecutive days of Red Flag conditions, a much-needed reprieve in the weather is expected late this afternoon after a frontal passage.  This will bring erratic winds but cooler temperatures and a chance of precipitation. Crews will continue mop-up and patrol along the north and east side of the fire along Hwy 31. Crews and heavy equipment will continue to widen and strengthen lines and conduct hoselay operations in the south and look for any spot fires near Clover Flat Road.  Dozers will continue line construction in the northwest quadrant of the fire to increase containment.  Improved weather conditions and possible precipitation will greatly improve the ability for crews and equipment to go direct and construct fireline.   

Evacuations:

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has updated the following evacuation notices:

Level 3 (Go) – Highway 31 from Summer Lake Store south to Red House Lane (north of Paisley). Clover Flat Road from Valley Falls east to Moon Ranch.

Level 2 (Set) All of Paisley – from Red House Lane, continuing south on Highway 31 to Valley Falls/the junction with U.S. Hwy 395. Clover Flat Road from the intersection with Hwy 31 (Beachler’s Corner) south to Murphy Ranch. From Summer Lake Store north along Highway 31 to the top of Picture Rock Pass.

Level 1 (Ready) – Valley Falls approximately 5 miles south on Hwy 395 to Chandler State Park.

Forest Closure:

From Forest Road 29 southeast to Forest Road 3510 and the 28 Road east, all National Forest System lands and facilities are closed per Forest Closure Order 06-02-03-20-03. Forest Road 3315 is closed; the 28 Road is open.

Summary:

The Brattain fire started on September 7th, 2020 and is currently burning on the Paisley Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.  The Eastern Area Incident Management Team is currently managing the fire.  Firefighting crews continue to operate on a 24-hour schedule and are battling winds, extremely dry conditions and shortages of firefighting resources.

SIZE:  44,800 acres

CONTAINMENT:  30%

CAUSE:  Human

PERSONNEL:  437

FIRE INFORMATION:

541-947-6243

2020.brattain@firenet.gov

INCIWEB:

inciweb.nwcg.gov

search “Brattain Fire”

Facebook:

facebook.com, search:

Fremont-Winema National Forest @R6FWNF

South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership @SCOFMPFIREINFO

LEVEL 3 EVACUATION

Hwy 31 from Summer Lake Store south to Red House Ln (north of Paisley). Clover Flat Rd from Valley Falls east to Moon Ranch.

LEVEL 2 EVACUATION

All of Paisley – HWY 31 south from Red House Ln to Valley Falls. Clover Flat Rd from Hwy 31 to Murphy Ranch. Hwy 31 north from Summer Lake Storeto Picture Rock Pass.

LEVEL 1 EVACUATION

Valley Falls south on Hwy 395 to Chandler State Park.

The Red Cross established an evacuation area at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

SAFETY:

Hwy 31 is open but anticipate congestion due to heavy fire traffic. Avoid the area if possible.

Temporary Flight Restrictions are in effect. Avoid drone use and report drones to law enforcement.


BEACHIE CREEK FIRE UPDATE – September 18, 2020  

Acres: 192,012 acres                                                                                          Percent Containment: 20% 

Start Date: August 16, 2020                                                                              Cause: Under Investigation 

Origin Location: Opal Creek Wilderness:                                                  Fuels: Timber and logging slash 

two miles south of Jawbone Flats, six miles north of Detroit, Oregon.    

Resources: 592

Rainfall Decreases Intensity of Beachie Creek Fire 

                                           Firefighters monitor change in weather, different risks.                      

Salem, Ore. – The Beachie Creek fire is expected to be less active Friday as precipitation moderates fire behavior. The decrease in fire behavior and intensity today will allow firefighters to continue connecting and strengthening the containment lines around the fire. The emphasis is still protecting communities to the south and west of the fire. Firefighters will continue to directly attack the fire around Scotts Mills, Stayton, Lyons, Mill City, and Detroit. Other crews continue work to protect timber investments on the north side of the fire near Scotts Mills. 

While firefighters build containment and contingency lines, they are also monitoring for additional risks from rain such as landslides, flooding, or trees falling.   

The Incident Command Team continues to address infrastructure and community needs by assisting power companies, insurance companies, and communication firms. The Team is providing these organizations with information, logistics, and transportation support. This work will lead to allowing residents and community members back into the area. 

Fire officials also continue to work closely with the Marion County and Linn County Sheriff’s Offices, ODOT and the Oregon State Police to coordinate recovery efforts along the Santiam Canyon. Currently 4,056 structures are at Level 3 evacuations and another 3,499 are in level 2 evacuations. To protect first responders and communities near the fire, it is imperative that everyone heeds road closures and evacuations. Anyone who enters the fire perimeter jeopardizes firefighting and rescue operations, puts lives at risk, and potentially increases the time it will take to return residents to their homes. 

The weather pattern change brings showers to the area of the fire. Rain is expected for the early part of Friday before tapering off later in the day. Maximum temperatures today will be around 65 – 70 degrees and minimum relative humidity will be over 70 percent across the fire area. Cooler temperatures with more humidity are expected over the weekend.   

The Willamette National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, and State lands around the fire remain closed to the public. Go to InciWeb (link below) for more information about closures in the area. 

Public information: Facebook: facebook.com/BeachieCreek E-mail: BeachieCreek@gmail.com  Phone: 541-583-0526, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Inciweb https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7001/ Oregon Smoke Blog http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/p/air-quality-now.html 

Two Four Two Fire
September 18, 2020 10:00 a.m.
Oregon Department of Forestry IMT 2
Bill Hunt, Incident Commander
Email contact—twofourtwofire.information@gmail.com
Public Information Line: (541) 846-8174
Inciweb—https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7159/
Facebook—https://www.facebook.com/TwoFourTwoFire/

Size: 14,473 Acres
Containment: 37%
Start Date: Sept. 7, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Expected
Containment Date: Sept. 25, 2020
Location: Northwest of Chiloquin, Oregon
Cause: Unknown
Est. Cost: $5.1 million
Personnel: 428
Resources: 9 hand crews
27 Engines
10 Dozers
12 Water Tenders
Aircraft: 3 Helicopters
Evacuations: None
Structures
Threatened: 0
Structures
Damaged: 33
Structures
Destroyed: 48
Closures: None

Fire Summary:

Overnight, crews patrolled Highway 97 and Highway 62 to look for visible
hot spots and extinguish any that were found. There has been heavy traffic
through both Highway 97 and Highway 62 where crews are working. As a reminder, for firefighter and public safety, if you are traveling through the fire area please slow down and use caution.

The two fires outside the main fire, the Dam Fire and the Cattle fire, are
fully contained and in patrol status. Those fires will continue to be monitored periodically through the next couple weeks.

With the cooler weather expected today, it will help firefighters in their
containment efforts. The northwest section of the fire continues to be the most difficult area. With slightly higher relative humidity today and a slight chance of rain, crews will be able to use that to their advantage. Moving into next week warm and dry conditions will be back to normal.

Firefighter and public safety is the priority during this incident, including
COVID mitigation. Personnel will be following Center for Disease Control guidelines to limit personal interactions both within camp and with the local community. The incident command post and fire camp are closed to the public and media.


Holiday Farm Fire Information
September 18, 2020

Oregon Department of Forestry IMT 3
Link Smith, Incident Commander
Oregon State Fire Marshal's Red Team
Ian Yocum, Incident Commander
Holiday Farm Fire Information: (541) 357-9729 (7am—10pm)
Lane County Non-Emergency Call Center: 541-682-3977 (7am-10pm)
Linn County Non-Emergency Call Center: 541-812-2260
https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7170/
email: holidayfarmfireinfo@gmail.com

Estimated Size: 172,510 acres
Containment: 10%
Start Date/Time: 9/7/2020 8:20 p.m.
Expected
Containment Date: 10/29/2020
Location: Lane County
Cause: Unknown
Personnel: 886
Assigned Resources:
Hand Crews: 22
Engines: 51
Dozers: 39
Water Tenders: 24
Other Heavy
Equipment: 3
Assigned Aircraft: 7
Structure Task Forces: 4
Injuries: 0
Structures
Threatened: 9,138
Structures--
Destroyed: 796
Failed: 9
Damaged: 34
No Damage: 434
Evacuations:
Level 1 (READY), Level
2 (SET) and Level 3
(GO!) are in effect.

Springfield, Ore. –Infrared flight mapping was unavailable again last night, the Holiday Farm Fire’s footprint is currently estimated at 172,510 acres and
containment remains at 10%. The fire’s perimeter measures more than 260 miles.

A tree faller was injured by a fallen limb while working to clear roads within the fire area. He was transported to the hospital by ambulance for evaluation and treatment. His injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

Friday’s weather-An upper low will move across the fire area today and bring showers. The weather forecast continues to predict possible afternoon thunderstorms with gusty erratic winds and small hail. Showers continue tonight and into Saturday but will gradually diminish.

Wildland fire crews will continue working to improve and increase fire
containment using hand crews, fire engines and heavy machinery. Crews will be taking advantage of the wet weather to clear roads in the Quartz Creek area and will continue to focus along Hwy 126. Yesterday crews found and addressed a ten-acre spot fire.

Structural firefighters continue to work along Hwy 126 from Leaburg to Rainbow patrolling and clearing defensible space around houses. As conditions improve in and around buildings, the need for structural resources is decreasing. This will allow these resources to return to protecting their home communities.

The Urban Search and Rescue Team will be entirely working west of Nimrod. They have completed 1,273 structural evaluations in the fire area. Structures include commercial buildings, residences and outbuildings. The US&R team is hoping to finish their work today and will be released when their mission is complete.

The Lane and Linn County Sheriff’s Offices continue to work with fire operations personnel to modify evacuation zones where appropriate. For the latest information on evacuation areas, please visit:

Lane County: www.lanecounty.org/mckenziefire
Linn County: www.linnsheriff.org/fire_live_updates_sept_2020/

Please continue to monitor cell phones, landlines, local media and official information sources for evacuation updates. Fire managers request that the public please avoid the area.

Roads are closed in the fire area and much of the Willamette National Forest (WNF) and Northwest Oregon District BLM. Road hazards include falling trees and rocks and debris. For more information on closures on the WNF visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices/?aid=61574

For more information on closures on the Northwest Oregon BLM visit:
https://www.blm.gov/press-release/extreme-fire-activity-prompts-closure-bureau-land-management-landsnorthwestern-oregon

Fire personnel are warmed by the community’s support but are unable to accept donations or use volunteers. The fire must use individuals with the appropriate qualifications.


Lionshead Fire Update – Friday, September 18, 2020 – 9:00 a.m

Start Date: 8/16/2020
Approx. Size: est. 192,719 ac.
Cause: Lightning
Containment: 10%
Total Personnel: 1100
28 Crews
29 Engines
Incident Commander:
Dan Dallas
Rocky Mountain Team 1
Approx. Distance:
14 miles west of Warm Springs
Resources on the Fire:
7 Dozers
28 Water Tenders
11 Helicopters
Other Cooperating Agencies:
Jefferson Co. Sheriff
Deschutes Co. Sheriff
Marion Co. Sheriff
Linn Co. Sheriff

Fire activity is more subdued today due to lower temperatures and increased relative humidity. Rain is anticipated over most of the fire area. There is still active fire, but fire managers expect less fire activity for the immediate future. The lightning-caused fire started on August 16th approximately 14 miles west of the Warm Springs community on Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs land. It has spread primarily to the west, onto the Willamette National Forest and beyond. Historic windstorms in early September are a major cause of the spread. It is being managed with a full suppression strategy. Firefighter and public safety are the top priorities for all efforts.  

Weather and Fire Behavior: Fire activity should continue to moderate with the weather. Temperatures will be cooler today and rain is expected. Thunderstorms are possible. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Marion and Linn Counties. Debris flows are possible during this rain event. Expect cleaner air through the weekend. Fire behavior will likely increase as warmer and drier conditions return in a few days.  

Yesterday: Crews identified options along the northern edge of the fire to connect fire line west from the B-200 Road to Olallie Lakes. Good progress was made preparing roads and dozer lines for burnout operations. Structure protection efforts continued in many areas on the western reaches. Progress is also being made on spot fires near Sisi Butte. The Sisi Butte Lookout was wrapped for structure protection. Much of the mop up work in the Olallie Lakes area was completed. Along the southern edge of the fire, crews continued to work with local fire districts in the communities along Highway 22 on mop up and patrol. Structure groups worked in Marion Forks and monitored the Stahlman area.  

Today’s Activities: Firefighters will take advantage of the favorable weather conditions to work adjacent to the fire’s edge to secure the fire perimeter. Firefighters will continue to scout and establish fire line adjacent to the fire in preparation for burnout operations in the coming days. Crews will perform structure protection activities, such as clearing brush and vegetation from around homes in Detroit, Idanha, and New Idanha. To the east and southeast, crews continue mop up operations and removal of fire-weakened trees for public safety. As of this morning, the Rocky Mountain Team 1 assumed command of the Lionshead Fire.  

Evacuations: Evacuation Notices remain in place for the Lionshead Fire. Level 3 “Go!” evacuation notices were issued for the communities of Detroit, Idanha, and Breitenbush. The Warm Springs Police Department, with assistance from the National Guard, is maintaining the Level 1 “Get Ready” evacuation notice for the Sid Walter area, including Miller flat and the for the half mile east of Highway 26 between mile markers 91.5 and 99, and a half mile east and west of the Highway between markers 99 and 100.

Closures: Roads and trails near the fires remain closed for public safety. 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. 

FOR ADDITIONAL FIRE INFORMATION:
Fire Information: 971-277-5075
TripCheck: https://www.tripcheck.com/
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7049/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LionsheadFire Email: mailto:2020.lionshead@firenet.gov

Central Oregon / Fire / Fire Alert / News
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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.

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Comments

9 Comments

  1. Started the same day as the green ridge fire it was put out because there was private property involved.This fire was fought on the west and southern flank but was let to burn west into the wilderness Where they don’t fight natural fires for suppression they use them like a prescribed burn.

  2. It would be nice if the cops would work on 20 between Moose Creek and the Santiam Y. 25 mph behind some jerk pulling a uhaul trailer and would not pull over to let people pass. Someone cut them off at the Snow Creek passing lane and then people got past. There will be wrecks out there trying to get around these clowns.

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