Monday, September 29, 2014

Updated Pocket Card and Fire Stats

With last week’s considerable rain and precipitation in the forecast fire danger has dropped to moderate over SWO District and IFPL 1. For the latest pocket card and fire stats please go to SWO Fire Data

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rain Reduces Fire Danger Level

[ Update Sept. 26 5:54 p.m.: The public regulated use fire danger level has been lowered to "Moderate" (blue) for at least the next few days. This applies to ODF-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. ]

Cool and wet weather across southwest Oregon reduced wildfire danger on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. The public regulated use fire danger level dropped to “high” (yellow) today. Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) 1 (one) also took effect this morning.

All restrictions on power equipment use by the public have been suspended. The restrictions on campfire use outside of designated campgrounds and driving motorized vehicles off improved roads have also been suspended. However, pile burning and burn barrel use will not be allowed. Fire season remains in effect in southwest Oregon.

Fire prevention regulations may change in a few days if dry weather conditions return.

These regulations affect 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management lands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

The following public fire prevention regulations remain in effect:
  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels;
  • No fireworks use on forestlands;
  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited;
  • Smoking while traveling is allowed only in enclosed vehicles on improved roads;
  • Electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation.
Under IFPL 1:
  • Loggers and other industrial operators must have fire suppression tools at the job site;
  • Watchman service must be provided.
Information about fire season restrictions on ODF-protected lands is available at ODF Southwest Oregon District unit offices:
  • Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd: (541) 664-3328
  • Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr: (541) 474-3152
 
  

Rain Cools Onion Mountain Fire

Fire at a Glance

Location: 15 miles west of Grants Pass, Oregon

Size: 4,123 acres

Containment: 80%

Assigned personnel: 533
Aircraft:
  • 2 Heavy-lift helicopters
  • 2 Medium-lift helicopters
  • 1 Light-lift helicopter
  • 1 Fixed-wing air management aircraft

With the coming of strong pre-frontal southwestern winds on Tuesday, a portion of the fire near Taylor Creek Falls heated up, and as a precaution firefighters utilized bucket drops from heavy-lift helicopters to cool off the area. Most equipment was pulled off of the northeastern flank of the fire as containment was achieved in that area. Dozer lines along the eastern edge were fully water-barred and repaired. The final MIST tank was removed by helicopter on Tuesday.

Crews have been working feverishly to finish critical water bars before the rains hit in order to minimize the erosional impacts of the firelines. Resource advisors were pleased this morning that all lines had been “tucked in” and ready for rain. Still, with the amount of rain predicted, there are concerns that slides may occur.

Plans for today will remain flexible as crews watch to ensure that they are able to work safely in wet, muddy, windy conditions. One of the primary concerns within the fire area is the frequent and sudden falling of fire-weakened snags and trees as the wind blows and the soil becomes saturated.

Winds will be from the southwest gusting to 25 mph today, bringing up to 1.5 inches of rain over the fire area by noon. Clouds will likely remain through Thursday. Some clearing and minor warming is expected Friday through Sunday.

The number of firefighters, aircraft, and other firefighting equipment continues to decline as crews demobilize and return home or are reassigned to other fires. 

Oregon Incident Management Team #1 is preparing to return management of the fire back to the Wild Rivers District on Friday morning. The District has assembled a Type 3 team numbering nearly 150 firefighters to complete fire suppression activities.

The local Blue-grass band Sequoia expressed their appreciation to firefighters by donating their time and talent to entertain fire crews during dinner on Tuesday night.

Closures: Sam Brown Campground and Horse Camp, Briggs Campground, Myers Campground, Portions of Forest Roads 2500, 2509, and 2706. See the forest website for specific information. http://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou/
For further information, call (541) 471-7441, send an e-mail, or visit the Josephine County Emergency Preparedness page on Facebook, or the Onion Mountain Fire's pages on InciWeb.

IFPL 1 Takes Effect Today on ODF-Protected Lands

Good rainfall across Jackson and Josephine counties has made it possible to relax fire prevention regulations on industrial operations. Industrial Fire Precaution Level 1 (one) takes effect this morning in all regulated use zones for logging operations, and other industrial operations in wildland and forest areas. This applies to state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management lands.

Operators are required to have fire suppression tools at the job site, and provide watchman service.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Onion Mountain Fire: Patrol and Mop-Up

Monday, crews continued to patrol and mop-up hot spots. Mop-up activity reached as far as 150 feet in from the line depending on ground conditions and what the crews deemed to be a safe working area. On the southeast portion of the fire, crews used hand held infrared heat sensing equipment to locate hot spots and found none.

Monday Night, crews patrolled the western and northern portion of the fire finding very few hot spots. Night operations will be discontinued as rain moves over the area.

Today, crews will continue to monitor and mop-up along all sections of the fire. Equipment will be used in suppression repair work (water barring line and pulling slash back over the disturbed areas to prevent erosion) on all areas of the fire.

Where possible, machinery, hose, pumps, and other suppression equipment will be removed from the fire area and hauled back to camp in advance of expected rain Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Monday morning, the fire camp was visited by Senator Ron Wyden. He was give a briefing on fire status and the cooperative efforts by federal, state and local agencies. He also discussed with agency and fire officials efforts needed to reduce the impact of wildfires on local residents and the economy and alternate methods of funding.

The weather is expected to continue to cool over the next few days as a cold front moves through the area. South to southwest winds will accompany the front passage, but are expected to have little impact on the fire. Rain is forecasted to fall over the fire area.

With the coming rain, we encourage the public to drive carefully on the wet roadways and be alert to fire traffic that will still be present.

Fire at a Glance

Location: 15 miles west of Grants Pass, Oregon

Size: 4,105 acres

Containment: 70%

Assigned personnel: 674

Aircraft:
  • 2 Heavy-lift helicopters
  • 1 Medium-lift helicopters
  • 1 Light-lift helicopters
  • 1 Fixed-wing air management aircraft
Closures: Sam Brown Campground and Horse Camp, Briggs Campground, Myers Campground, Portions of Forest Roads 2500, 2509, and 2706. See the forest website for specific information.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou/

For further information, call (541) 471-7441, send an e-mail, or visit the Josephine County Emergency Preparedness page on Facebook, or the Onion Mountain Fire's pages on InciWeb.

 

Monday, September 22, 2014

All Evacuation Alerts Lifted from Onion Mountain Fire Area

Yesterday, crews continued to patrol exterior lines and mop-up any hot spots. Some portions of the line were mopped-up and cold trailed as far in as 150 feet. Chippers worked to finish up treatment of brush cleared from roadsides. On the northwest portion, where mop-up is complete and lines are solid, crews pulled hose and returned it to camp.
Several areas of intense heat were identified in interior portions of the burn area. One of the areas was worked on by a hotshot crew while others were treated with helicopter water drops to reduce fire intensity. None of these pose any threat to established fire lines.
Along the perimeter, only a few areas were found that needed helicopter support to deal with. Helicopters were used to refill remote water storage units that supported mop-up activities.

Last night at 6:00 pm, all evacuation notices were lifted by the Josephine County Sheriff. No evacuation notices are currently in effect for areas near the Onion Mountain Fire.

Today, crews will continue to monitor and mop-up along all sections of the perimeter. Suppression repair (water barring line and pulling slash back over the disturbed areas to prevent erosion) will begin in some areas in advance of expected rain on Wednesday. Hose and other equipment will be gathered from the line and returned to camp from areas where mop-up is complete.

With the lifting of the evacuation notices, the one remaining structure protection engine will be released. A night shift will again patrol areas of the fire and take action on any hot spots found.
The weather is expected to cool gradually over the next few days; humidity will rise; winds will be light out of the west. This should decrease the chance of active fire developing. Possible wetting rain is expected Wednesday and Thursday.

Fire at a Glance

Size: 4,106 acres

Containment: 60%

Assigned personnel: 923

Aircraft:
  • 4 Heavy-lift helicopters
  • 4 Medium-lift helicopters
  • 1 Light-lift helicopters
  • 1 Fixed-wing air management aircraft
Location: 15 miles west of Grants Pass, Oregon
Closures: Sam Brown Campground and Horse Camp, Briggs Campground, Myers Campground, Portions of Forest Roads 2500, 2509, and 2706. See the forest website for specific information.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou/

For further information, call (541) 471-7441, send an e-mail, or visit the Josephine County Emergency Preparedness page on Facebook, or the Onion Mountain Fire's pages on InciWeb.

New Pocket Card and Fire Stats Update

With milder weather and days continuing to shorten we have made the corner and begun a slight downturn in ERC values. We are also seeing some better recovery of our large fuel moistures. Southwest Oregon will maintain the extreme fire danger until these values drop significantly further, likely accompanied with precipitation. The weather forecast does call for showers mid-week returning to regular seasonal temps later. For the latest pocket card and fire stats please visit the SWO Fire Data website.