Saturday, July 20, 2013

Onion Mountain Fires in Mop-Up Stage

Quick action by firefighters on four fires detected this morning on the Wild Rivers Ranger District of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has led to containment and mop-up status for all four.  The four fires are located in an area approximately 15 miles west of Grants Pass, OR.  Total acreage burned for the Shan Overlook, Onion Mountain, Shan Creek and Taylor Fires was less than six acres. 

The fires are currently being managed as a complex by the Wild Rivers Ranger District, with multiple engines and hand crews assigned. 

The Taylor Fire was initially thought to be located on Oregon Department of Forestry protected land and initial attack on that fire was managed by ODF utilizing engines, helicopters, hand crews and an air tanker.

Cause of the fires is currently under investigation.

Onion Mountain Fires

Four wildfires are burning on Onion Mtn., located 15 miles west of Grants Pass, and the fires are being managed as a complex by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The fires are the Taylor Creek Fire, 15 acres; Onion Mtn. Fire, 8 acres; Shan Creek Fire, 0.5 acre; and the Overlook Fire, 0.1 acre.

Multiple wildland fire engines are fighting the fires, along with two helicopters, one air tanker and two crews. Engines and crews from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's Grants Pass Unit have been working on the Taylor Creek Fire this morning.

Additional fire suppression resources that have been ordered include one Type 1 (heavy) helicopter, three hotshot crews, four Type 2 crews, additional fire engines and two water tenders. A Type 3 incident management team is also being assembled to take over management of the complex.

The cause of the fires is being investigated.

Hot Weather Drives Up Fire Danger

Prolonged hot weather in southwest Oregon is driving up the fire danger level on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. The fire danger climbs to “extreme” (red) at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 22.
Many of the public fire prevention regulations currently in effect will remain unchanged, but people who have been using power-driven equipment until 1:00 p.m. will now have to shut down at 10:00 a.m. The Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s regulations affect state, private, county and Bureau of Land Management forests and other wildlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.
These restrictions do not affect industrial operations. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will remain at Level 2 (two).
People using mowers, weed whackers and brush cutters in areas of tall, dry grass and weeds will need to stop using the equipment between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., and a one-hour fire watch must take place after shut down. This restriction does not apply to people mowing a green lawn, or to the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
Chain saw users must also shut down at 10:00 a.m., have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher at the work site, and conduct a one-hour fire watch after the saw is shut off.
Cutting, grinding or welding metal must also stop by 10:00 a.m., and these activities may only be conducted in an area cleared of potentially flammable vegetation. Water and fire-fighting tools must be at the job site.
The users of other spark-emitting machinery, such as generators, wood splitters and chippers, must also shut down by 10:00 a.m. and perform a one-hour fire watch afterward. In all cases, users need to have an axe, shovel and fire extinguisher or a water supply at the site where the machinery is used.
Below are the public fire prevention regulations that are currently in effect and will remain unchanged:
  • Tracer ammunition and exploding targets may not be used in wildland areas.
  • All open burning of debris is prohibited. This includes burn barrels.
  • Fireworks and sky lanterns are prohibited on forestlands.
  • Camp fires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. This includes charcoal-fired barbecues. However, stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed in other locations.
  • Vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are not allowed on unimproved roads. This restriction does not include vehicles used for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Smoking is allowed only in a vehicle and only while on an improved road.
  • Any electric fence controller in use shall contain a listing from a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and be operated in compliance with manufacturer instruction for fire safe operation.
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

Pacifica Fire Fully Lined at 500 Acres

Fire crews working overnight on the 500-acre Pacifica Fire, located near the community of Williams in Josephine County, completed a fireline around the perimeter, stabilizing the wildfire that broke out around 2:30 p.m. Friday. More than 150 structures were threatened by the fire, one home burned as did several outbuildings and vehicles.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal deployed an incident management team and out-of-area structural fire task forces to assist with providing additional structural protection this weekend.

More than 200 firefighters are working on the Pacifica Fire today and the fire camp is set up on the Pacifica property, located on Water Gap Rd. Firefighters plan on mopping up hot spots within 100 of the fireline and 100 feet around structures inside the burned area.

Roadblocks that were set up yesterday on the Williams Hwy. and Water Gap Rd. have been removed. However, non-residents are asked to avoid the fire area today as many fire engines and heavy equipment will be using the Williams Hwy., Water Gap Rd. and Powell Creek Rd.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wildfire Near Williams 200+ Acres

A wildfire north of the community of Williams has burned more than 200 acres of forest, brush and grass. Homes and other structures are scattered throughout the fire area and the Williams Highway is closed south of the intersection with Powell Creek Rd. Powell Creek Rd. is also closed. The fire is being pushed south through a series of grassy fields by gusty winds.

Two air tankers, three helicopters, three bulldozers and numerous wildland and structural fire engines are battling the fire to try and keep it from jumping the Williams Hwy.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Update: Brookside Blvd Fire

The 31.6-acre Brookside Blvd. Fire was contained late today after burning through a populated area between Flaming Road and the Merlin-Galice Hwy. At the fire's peak, more than 60 firefighters from structural fire protection districts across Jackson and Josephine counties, and the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's Grants Pass and Central Point unit offices were engaged in fighting the fire.

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry used three helicopters and an air tanker on the fire, and deployed two bulldozers to construct the fireline. At least 20 structural fire engines and 7 wildland fire engines were used to stop the wildfire and protect homes.

The roadblock at the intersection of Monument Drive and the Merlin-Galice Highway, and which halted traffic all the way to Flaming Rd, was removed late in the afternoon. The roadblock on the Merlin-Galice Highway between Ray's Market and Jamie Rd. is to be removed at sundown. Roadblocks on Flaming Rd. will remain in place until midnight.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Brookside Boulevard Fire

A fast moving fire burning in mostly grass and brush interspersed with light pockets of timber broke out around 2:30 p.m. today, July 18th on Brookside Boulevard in the city of Merlin, five miles northwest of Grants Pass. Presently the fire size is estimated at 10-15 acres. Fire fighters are actively engaged in suppression  efforts and are making good progress.

The following resources are assigned to contain the blaze:
10 engines from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry
2 bulldozer from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry
Several Grants Pass Rural Structural Engines are on scene
60 Fire Fighters including 20 structural fire fighters and one 10-person crew
3 Helicopters currently doing bucket work
Two (type 1) Airtankers currently dropping loads of retardant

On order are the following resources: 1 contracted bulldozer

Road Closures:
There is currently a road block in place at the intersection of Monument Drive and The Merlin/Galice Road. Access to Flaming Road is also restricted at this time.

One garage has been heavily damaged. Two homes have received minor damage, and twenty homes are threatened by the blaze at this time.

The fire originated in tall dry grass and the cause is under investigation.