Friday, September 20, 2013

Reward Offered for Arson Information in N. California

CAL FIRE Siskiyou Unit and the Klamath National Forest announce the offer of up to a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who are responsible for starting the Salmon River Complex and Butler fires. Each agency is contributing $10,000 to this joint effort.

"These fires were a serious threat to private property in the Salmon River drainage, and we are tremendously lucky not to have lost any homes," commented Siskiyou Unit Chief Bernie Paul.  "We know these fires were started by human action and we want to find the person responsible."

The Salmon River Complex and Butler fires, as well as four additional fires in the area extinguished by first responders, were started between approximately 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. on July 31, 2013. Anyone with information regarding these fires is asked to contact the Arson Tip Line at 1-800-468-4408. Callers can remain anonymous.

"These fires have burned more than 37,000 acres, put local communities and firefighters at great risk, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars to fight," said Klamath Forest Supervisor Patty Grantham.  "All that for fires that never should have started in the first place."

For additional information, contact CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Monty Messenger at (530)842-3516 or Klamath Forest Supervisor Patty Grantham at (530) 841-6131.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mop-Up and Patrol Operations Continue on Big Windy Complex

A team of 100 firefighters assigned to the Big Windy Complex are continuing the long process of mopping up the perimeter of the burned area, cutting down hazardous snags (dead trees) near to roads, and rehabilitating firelines and spike camps that were created during July and August.

Cooler and potentially wet weather this weekend could prompt a reduction in staff assigned to the complex.

Today, eight engines, one bulldozer and one water tender are helping firefighters with their mop-up and patrol tasks. Three helicopters are available if needed.

The Big Windy Complex is 27,555 acres in size and is 95 percent contained.

Fire Danger Drops to High in Wild and Scenic Section of Rogue River

Shorter days, cooler temperatures and some rain have combined to reduce wildfire danger in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River. The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects the segment of the river corridor between Grave Creek and Marial, and will lower the fire danger in this region to “high” (yellow) on Friday, Sept. 20, at 12:01 a.m.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest lowered the fire danger level yesterday in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River downstream from Marial.

Starting tomorrow, charcoal fires for cooking may again be used by recreationists as long as the charcoal fire is contained inside of a raised fire pan. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used. In all cases, these devices may only be used on sand or gravel bars that lie between the water and high water marks that are free of vegetation. Ashes from charcoal fires must be hauled out.

No open fires – including camp fires, cooking fires and warming fires -- are allowed in the Wild and Scenic of the Rogue River until the fire danger level drops further.

Additional fire prevention restrictions in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River include:
  • No smoking while traveling, except in boats on the water, and on sand or gravel bars that lie between water and high water marks that are free of vegetation.
  • A shovel and a one-gallon or larger bucket are required of all travelers.
  • Fireworks are prohibited.
For further information about fire restrictions in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River, contact the Smullin Visitor Center located at the Rand National Historic Site at (541) 479-3735.

For more information about wildland fire prevention regulations on state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management forestlands, contact your local Oregon Dept. of Forestry unit office:
  • Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd: (541) 664-3328
  • Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr: (541) 474-3152

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rain Reduces Fire Danger

The public regulated use fire danger level drops to “high” (yellow) tomorrow on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in Jackson and Josephine counties. Chain saws and other power-driven equipment may be used until 1:00 p.m.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level will be 1 (one) as of 12:01 a.m. Sept. 18.

ODF’s Southwest Oregon District protects 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Below are the fire prevention regulations that go into effect tomorrow morning:
  • Debris burning is prohibited. This includes burn barrels.
  • Fireworks cannot be used in forests, public parks, campgrounds and other wildland areas.
  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition may not be used.
  • Motorized vehicles are not allowed off of improved roads.
  • Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle on an improved road.
  • Chain saws may be used until 1:00 p.m., and users must have an axe, shovel and a fire extinguisher (8 oz. or larger) at the work site. A 1-hour fire watch is required after the saw is shut down.
  • Cutting, grinding or welding metal is allowed until 1:00 p.m. in areas that are cleared of vegetation. A water supply is required at the job site.
  • Tall, dry grass and weeds may be mowed until 1:00 p.m. Mowers used for the commercial culture or harvest of agricultural crops are exempt from this restriction.
  • Any spark-emitting power-driven equipment not specifically mentioned above must shut down by 1:00 p.m.
  • 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 wildland fire prevention, contact your local Oregon Dept. of Forestry unit office:
  • Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd: (541) 664-3328
  • Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr: (541) 474-3152

Big Windy Complex Nudges Closer to Containment

Fire suppression crews stabilized the reburn in the Howard Creek drainage, located on the northeast flank of the Big Windy Complex, that started last Wednesday and burned aggressively through Friday producing heavy smoke that settled into the valleys in much of Josephine County. Additional burn-out operations increased the size of the Big Windy Complex to 27,555 acres.

The Big Windy Complex is 95 percent contained.

Bear Camp road is open but travelers are advised to drive slowly and with caution due to heavy fire suppression-related traffic in the area. Roads within the fire area remain closed.

Approximately 150 firefighters are assigned to the complex.

Lightning Scattered Across SE Jackson County

An overnight thunderstorm put down dozens of lightning strikes from the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, near the Oregon-California border, to the Jackson County-Klamath County line east of Howard Prairie Lake. A handful of strikes also came down in the Ashland Watershed area, between Wagner Butte and the West Fork of Ashland Creek. Two strikes were also recorded in Josephine County approximately 3 miles northeast of Little Grayback Peak.

Engine crews from ODF's Medford Unit are looking for a smoke on Chinquapin Mountain, 2 miles south of Hyatt Lake.

Lightning activity was significantly heavier east of the Cascade Range in Klamath County. The storm tracked as far north as Bend in central Oregon.