Saturday, June 22, 2013

Worthington Rd Fire Jumps to 100 Acres

A late afternoon increase in wind speed caused an increase in fire behavior along the front of the Worthington Rd. Fire between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. The fire grew an additional 30 acres in that time to create a total burned area of 100 acres.

Fire crews continue to press forward with bulldozers and crews building fireline to completely encircle the blaze. Other firefighters are extinguishing pockets of fire along the edge of the fireline.

The fire has not been declared contained, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Worthington Rd Fire Burns 70 Acres of Brush

[ Updated 4:37 p.m. ]

A fast-moving grass and brush fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. along Worthington Rd., located approximately 2 miles east of Eagle Point. The fire is burning in tall, dry grass and thick patches of buck brush. Oak and ponderosa pine trees are scattered throughout the fire area.

The fire size is estimated at 70 acres, and a fireline has been nearly completed around the perimeter.

The following resources are assigned to contain the blaze:

6 engines from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's Medford Unit, and Jackson County Fire District 3
2 water tenders (from Jackson County Fire District 3 and Lake Creek Rural Fire Protection District)
1 small (Type 3) helicopter with a water bucket
1 bulldozer
1 10-person crew

On order are the following resources:

2 20-person crews
1 bulldozer
4 engines

No homes or other structures are immediately threatened by the fire. The nearest area of homes is along Obenchain Rd, 1-2 miles east of the fire.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Friday, June 21, 2013

ODF Fire Shelter Training

Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters practiced using fire shelters during fire school today. The fire shelter is a lightweight, flexible shelter that firefighters carry when working on the fireline. If they become threatened with entrapment, firefighters deploy their fire shelters, crawl inside of it and wait until the danger passes.

The training is part of ODF's fire school, which lasts much of the month of June. Fire school for Southwest Oregon District firefighters take place at the Medford and Grants Pass units' offices.

Using a fire shelter takes practice. In an emergency, a firefighters doesn't have time to read instructions, then figure out how to use a shelter. It must be a muscle-memory action.

When practicing fire shelter deployment, firefighters train with shelters that are made from reusable fabric (a real fire shelter in a single-use item) but which are of the identical size and shape of a real fire shelter. Trainees must demonstrate that they can deploy and crawl into the fire shelter in a few seconds.

For more information about fire shelters, watch the video.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fire Season Facts and Stats

Weekly fire season statistics on ODF's Southwest Oregon District are posted online on a new website, SWO Fire Data. The "Fire Stats" tab links to a dropbox where files showing weekly fire activity (number of fire, acres burned, etc.) are posted. The "Pocket Card" tab is another drop box that has current information of value to firefighters. The pocket cards track vegetation dryness and illustrate how this contributes to the amount of energy a wildfire will release. A third tab, "Lightning Maps," goes to a dropbox where maps of lightning strikes are located. When a thunderstorm occurs in southwest Oregon, maps loaded into this dropbox will show where lightning strikes have been recorded.