Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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
  • 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.
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.