Monday, June 22, 2015

Buckskin Fire: Monday Update

Fire crews progressed yesterday with their burnout along the southern flank of the 4,843 acre Buckskin Fire. This controlled burning operation combined with the main fire consuming unburned pockets of vegetation increased the amount of smoke in the area. The fire is now 30% contained. Fire officials expect the burnout to be completed within the next two days before local temperatures rise back above normal levels.

Firefighters also completed a containment line in their effort to secure the southwest corner of the fire near Baldface Creek. Crews implemented a combination of indirect line and natural barriers to locate the fireline and also cut a helispot for support and safety concerns. Burnout operations will be focused in this area today.

The eastern and portions of the southern flanks of the fire are now being mopped up as firefighters continue to extinguish burning material within 300 feet of the containment lines. Danger from snags, fire-weakened trees and steep terrain will determine the depth of the mop-up. Two 10-person fire crews will continue to monitor fire behavior and weather on the west flank.

A significant warming and drying trend is forecasted for the area with poor overnight humidity recovery and temperatures greater than 100 degrees by the end of this week.

Two heliwells (self-contained water tanks used for helicopter bucket operations) will be operational today to reduce the strain on waterways used as helicopter dip sites. Water treated with a small percentage of bleach is being used to mitigate the spread of Port Orford Cedar root rot disease.

Fireline repair will continue along the eastern perimeter as conditions allow. Resource advisors worked with Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest specialists to prepare suppression repair guidelines that address suppression impacts.

The plan includes the repair of all dozer lines, trails, containment lines, spike camps and other fire suppression related activities. Primary fire lines will remain in place to assure containment until local officials deem it safe to complete suppression repair. Safeguards remain in place to reduce impacts to natural resources, including critical Coho salmon habitat.

Communities in the Illinois and Rogue Valleys may continue to be impacted by smoke until burnout is completed over the next several days. Those sensitive to smoke should be aware and take appropriate actions. Detailed air quality information can be found on Oregon Smoke at

A Fire Area Closure Order remains in place closing forest land around the wildfire area to provide for public health and safety. For more information, please see the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Buckskin Fire Inciweb, or Buckskin Fire Facebook web pages.

Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR): A TFR remains in place over the Buckskin Fire. Please check the NOTAMs for current information.

Start Date - June 11, 2015
Location - 10 miles southwest of Cave Junction on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
Cause - Lightning
Resources - Crews – 10; Dozers – 3; Engines – 6; Water Tenders – 10; Helicopters – 11
Total Personnel - 540