Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Target Shooting Sparks Fire on Kershaw Road

For Immediate Release Contact: Ashley Lara 541-831-2778
Date: June 30, 2015


Target Shooting Sparks Fire on Kershaw Road

At 4:45p.m. dispatch received a report of smoke at the White City Shooting Range on Kershaw Road. Jackson County Fire District 3, the Oregon Department of Forestry and Jackson County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene to find a .10 acre fire moving up slope with high winds.

This is the fourth fire that has been reported in the area in the last month. The most recent being just a day before the Kershaw Road Fire started. Resources including, 5 Jackson County Fire District 3 engines, 1-20 person Jackson County Community Justice Crew,  7 Oregon Department of Forestry engines, 2-10 person handcrews, 1 tender, 1 dozer and a Type 1 and Type 2 helicopter. Crew moved quickly to form a wet line (a temporary control line using water to prevent fire from spreading) around the perimeter. The helicopters dipped out of a nearby pond, rotating bucked drops on the hot spots.

Within two hours, the fire was 100% contained with dozer line around the perimeter.  Crews worked overnight to mop-up the area. Jesse Blair, Fire Investigator for the Oregon Department of Forestry stated, “The fire has been deemed shooting related, and it moved quickly due to high temperatures and low humidity”. Though this fire was not started due to tracer ammunition, it is also important to state that according to ORS. 477.510 and ORS 477.512, the discharge of tracer ammunition on land that is within the district or within one-eighth mile of the district, or when discharged, crosses above land that is within the district or within one-eighth mile of the district are prohibited during fire season.

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Ashley Lara
Fire & Life Safety Specialist
Jackson County Fire District 3
8383 Agate Rd
White City, OR 97503
(541) 831-2778

Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29 Fire Statistics and Pocketcard Update

Southwest Oregon District is continuing to set record high ERC values and record low fuel moisture values for this time of year. Continued hot, dry weather is forecast over the area through the week with another chance of disturbance coming this weekend. Industrial Fire Precaution levels will increase to level 2 on Wednesday July 1. For the latest fire statistics and pocketcard please visit swofiredata.com

Sunday, June 28, 2015

ROGUE RIVER-SISKIYOU NATIONAL FOREST FIRE RECAP Firefighters continue to work on a number of fires on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Friday’s lightning storm ignited six known fires on the High Cascades Ranger District. All of these fires are now lined and in mop-up stage or declared out. The Buckskin Fire on the Wild Rivers Ranger District remains at 60% containment and crews continue to mop-up and rehabilitate fire lines. The Medford Air Tanker Base supported fires on the Umpqua National Forest and Prineville District BLM, reloading one Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT), three heavy air tankers, and one Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT). The base has pumped 45,000 gallons of fire retardant to support the suppression efforts on these fires. Fire lookouts and aerial reconnaissance flights continue to search for sleeper fires that may pop up after smoldering undetected for several days. Yesterday a new fire start along the Pacific Crest Trail near Brown Mountain was the second human-caused fire on the forest this week and both were determined to have been caused by an abandoned campfire. Three other abandoned campfires have been reported this morning. Recent data from neighboring Coos Forest Protective Agency reports that human-caused fires in June 2015 have increased 300% from June 2014. Public Use Restrictions across the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest go into effect at 0001 hours July 1. These restrictions will limit campfires to approved fire rings within forest designated campgrounds only, and will include limitations on smoking. “I continue to urge the public to be extra cautious with anything that can ignite a wildfire,” said Eric Hensel, Fire Staff Officer of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. “We are experiencing record setting burning conditions for this time of year and any careless spark risks the chance of becoming a large wildfire. Firefighters can’t control ignitions from lightning, but everyone has a responsibility to be fire safe, and to know and follow the current fire restrictions. Human caused fires are preventable.” The weather forecast calls for a continued threat of lightning in the area today, with a slight cooling trend during the first of the week returning to triple digits by mid-week and another threat of lightning by the end of the week into the 4th of July weekend. For current fire restrictions on the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF go to: www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou. For fire restrictions on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in southwest Oregon, including lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management go to: www.swofire.com/p/fire-season-regulations.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lightning Causes Four Fires on Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Abundant lightning strikes Friday evening over the High Cascades Ranger District of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest resulted in four new fire starts. The Bessie Fire is currently estimated at 10-20 acres and is being attacked with air tankers, helicopters and hand crews. All other fires are currently reported at one acre or less in size. A variety of different firefighting resources, including engines, hand crews, smokejumpers, rapellers and helicopters are either on site or en route to each of the fires.

No lightning-caused fires have been found on forestlands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry.

Fire lookouts and aerial reconnaissance flights will continue to look for any additional smokes.

A Red Flag Warning for lightning and dry fuels remains in effect throughout the region into Sunday.

Fire managers are encouraging the public to be extremely fire aware over the course of the weekend. Unattended campfires, careless disposal of smoking materials and the use of any spark emitting apparatus could result in a rapidly growing wildfire.

“We need the public’s help to limit human caused fires given the potential for many starts due to lightning over the next few days,” reminds Eric Hensel, Fire Staff Officer for the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF. “Both the National Forest and State protected lands have fire restrictions in place for good reason. I encourage the public to become familiar with and abide by them for their own safety, the safety of our firefighters and the protection of our natural resources.”

Information about current fire restrictions can be found at: www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou.

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 26 Lightning Map Update

There was a little lightning that occurred mainly on Forest Service land near Prospect on the evening of June 26. For the latest maps visit swofiredata.com

Industrial Fire Precaution Level Rises to Level 2 on July 1

Prolonged dry conditions in southwest Oregon forestlands is the cause for the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) to raise to a Level II (2) on July 1. Restrictions under IFPL II take effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, and apply to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, as well as state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in Jackson and Josephine counties.

The public regulated use fire danger level on ODF-protected lands remains at High (yellow).

The IFPL II restrictions apply only to contractors and permit holders, including those with permits to cut firewood for personal use. These restrictions are not applicable to standard recreational uses, such as campfires, which have separate restrictions that may apply.

Under IFPL II:

  • The use of fire in any form will be prohibited.
  • The use of power saws will be prohibited, except at loading sites, between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • The use of cable yarders will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Blasting will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Welding or cutting of metal will be prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Additionally, commercial operators on forestlands are required to have fire suppression equipment on site and provide watchman service.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area:

  • Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328
  • Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest fire prevention regulations are posted online at www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou.

Buckskin Fire: Friday Update

A Type 3 fire organization, headed by Incident Commander Monte Edwards, will assume command of the Buckskin Fire on Saturday at 6 am. This team is meeting today with Rogue River-Siskyou National Forest managers for an in-brief of the fire. The Type 3 team will continue to monitor the fire, complete suppression repair and be available to respond should the fire situation warrant.

The Buckskin Fire is estimated at 5,345 acres. Overall containment remains at 60%. Full suppression of this fire remains the operational strategy.

The fire was quiet following yesterday’s test of the suppression lines with warm temperatures, lower humidity, and strong gusty winds. A Red Flag Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for abundant lightning Friday afternoon through Sunday. These thunderstorms could produce dry lightning and erratic winds creating very active fire behavior. Firefighters are prepared and will remain vigilant to take additional suppression actions needed on the Buckskin Fire.

Today, crews will chip piled woody material stacked along the southeast containment line, gather equipment for back haul, and complete any suppression damage repairs. The north, west and south flanks of the fire are being patrolled by air. A Wildland Fire Module will be shuttled by helicopter to the southeast containment line to monitor the fire. A hand held palm infra-red camera will be flown by helicopter around the fire flanks and identify hot spots. Those spots will receive water drops by helicopters to extinguish.

Helibase at the Illinois Valley Airport will be closed today and all helicopters will operate from the Grants Pass Airport. The heliwell will remain near the Illinois Valley Airport for use. All water used in bucket drops from helicopters for any additional suppression efforts will come from the heliwell to protect critical Coho habitat in Baldface Creek.

Although there are lines surrounding the fire, several interior unburned islands remain within the primary containment lines. Smoldering of these unburned islands will likely continue until a season ending event.

Resources no longer needed in the suppression efforts of the fire are being released for reassignment or to return home.

With burnout operations completed, less smoke will be generated by the Buckskin Fire. Oregon Smoke at http://OregonSmoke.BlogSpot.com is an excellent resource for air quality information.

A Fire Area Closure Order remains in place closing forest land around the wildfire area to provide for public health and safety. For more information, please see the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Buckskin Fire Inciweb, or Buckskin Fire Facebook web pages.

Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR): A TFR remains in place over the Buckskin Fire. Please check the NOTAMs for current information.

Resources - Crews – 5; Engines –1; Water Tenders – 6; Helicopters – 3
Total Personnel - 295