Thursday, August 8, 2013

Labrador Fire and Whisky Complex Updates

Steep terrain, limited access and dry fuels continue to make control efforts difficult on the four remaining uncontained fires in the Southwest Oregon area. The use of aircraft has been limited by poor visibility due to the smoke inversion impacting the region.  As the inversion lifted Wednesday afternoon fire activity increased. Firefighters have been progressing with line construction on each incident. Thunderstorms moved through the area igniting new starts which are being staffed by local resources and supplemented with aircraft, engines and crews from the large fires burning in the area. As of August 7th there are currently no Level 3 evacuations on any of the incidents.

Southwest Oregon remains in a Red Flag warning due to the threat of lightning until 11 pm August 9th. Moisture may increase late today as storms become wetter although not all areas will receive rain. This weather system is expected to remain over the area into Saturday.

While wetter weather is in the forecast public use restrictions are in effect for private and public lands in the area and people should to be aware of current closures and restrictions.

The Medford Rogues baseball team will be holding a benefit game for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation tonight at Harry and David Field in Medford. Proceeds of the game benefit Wildland Firefighter Foundation in supporting the wildand firefighting community and their families.

The following is consolidated information for each of the major fires burning in Douglas and Josephine Counties: (Note: Summaries for the Big Windy Complex and the Douglas Complex are provided as separate articles on today's blog entries.)

Total SW OR Fires
Total Acres
Total Personnel


Location:  13 miles NW of Cave Junction

Size Change in 24 Hours (Acres)
Total Personnel
% Contained


Evacuations/Closures:  Road closures and Level 2 (advisory) evacuation for Oak Flat and Brushy Bar. Level 1 (precautionary) for the area between Kerby Flat and McCaleb Ranch.

Significant Events:  Crews have completed all planned contingency lines.  Firefighters are suppressing isolated pockets of creeping fire. Aviation resources will engage in suppression as smoke clears to identify outstanding hotspots along the edge of the fire. Resources from the fire assisted with initial attack as lightning caused new ignitions in the area. A  Type 3 team has assumed command of this incident.

Contact:  541-597-1160,                     

Public Meeting:  August 8th, 7 pm, Josephine County Building, Cave Junction, OR

For additional information visit:


Location:  6 miles east of Tiller, OR

Size Change in 24 Hours (Acres)
Total Personnel
% Contained



·         The Level 3 evacuation order for Ash Valley was reduced to Level 2 (advisory)

·         Forest Road closures are in place for the area southwest of Beaver Creek.

·         Campground Closures:  Skillet Camp Comfort Cover Camp, South Umpqua Falls, South Umpqua Day Use Area, Ash Flat, Whiskey Camp, Butler Butte.

Significant Events: Three fires make up the Whiskey Complex: Smith Ridge, Buckeye and Whiskey. Firefighters are making secure containment lines for burning and holding operations on the Whiskey fire. The Smith Ridge and Buckeye fires are in mop up and are in patrol status. Residents in the Ash Valley area should remain prepared to leave if conditions change.  Smoke hampered aviation use Wednesday but as the weather and smoke allows air resources are being used for reconnaissance and bucket work. A spot fire on the south flank successfully lined. Steep inaccessible terrain has made direct attack difficult. Burnout operations will continue Thursday. Aircraft from the Whiskey Complex were involved in detecting nine fires along the crest of the Cascades at the eastern edge of the Tiller Ranger District; they also took action on 11 new fires on neighboring districts, including two on land protected by Douglas Fire Protective Association.

The Whiskey Complex fire camp was visited by two Bernese Mountain therapy dogs and one Belgian Malinoise therapy dog on Wednesday. Firefighters were observed lining up to pet the dogs and take their pictures.

 Contact:  541-839-3099,

For additional information: