Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Buckskin Fire: Tuesday Morning Update

A Public Meeting to provide information on the Buckskin Fire is planned for tonight in Cave Junction @ 6:00 p.m. at the Community Building on Highway 199.

The Buckskin Fire, which is burning on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, had little growth yesterday as the marine onshore flow moderated fire behavior due to lower relative humidity and temperature. The fire, burning in the old fire scar of the 2002 Biscuit Fire, is now an estimated 2,220 acres. Smoke production was down significantly with the smoke concentrated in the Illinois Valley. The area burned by the fire's movement to the east on Sunday was considerably cooler yesterday producing less smoke. 

Fire crews have made excellent progress building indirect fireline along the eastern flank from Buckskin Peak towards the Kalmiopsis Wilderness by utilizing Trail 1210.2. Crews will continue working today along this flank in preparation for potential burnout on Thursday. When locating firelines, firefighters take advantage of previous suppression lines, trails, and roads to confine the fire without always needing to construct line in undisturbed areas. Dozers will also continue improving Forest Road 112 (by removing snags and slides) along the eastern flank toward Buckskin Peak for a fire access road and indirect containment line. 

Dozers and other heavy equipment (i.e. Feller bunchers, excavators, and skidgines) will continue working along the southern area of the fire (Forest Road 494) to provide better access and to establish the containment line for burnout. Fire potential spread remains high in this area considering fuels, topography, and anticipated winds. Fireline work in this area is nearing completion.

In preparation for the planned burnout, air tankers will be deployed on Wednesday to pre-treat with retardant the east containment line outside of the Wilderness.

Fire behavior on the western flank has been minimal due to sparse fuels. However, fire crews will continue work on a contingency line along the west (utilizing Trail 1233) and northwest sides of the fire should fire behavior increase in those areas.

Firefighters continued yesterday to make good progress on their effort to contain several spot fires located southwest of the main fire (the largest of those spots is about 90 acres). Hand crews used a combination of water delivery and helicopter water drops to contain the spots. Today crews will begin working to suppress the spot fires closer to the main body of the fire.

Communities in the Illinois and Rogue Valleys may continue to be impacted by smoke to varying degrees due to shifting winds, which are expected to persist for the next several days. Detailed air quality information can be found on Oregon Smoke Information at http://OregonSmoke.BlogSpot.com.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest managers, working with fire management officials, has issued a Fire Area Closure Order closing public access to forest land surrounding the fire for public safety. The Order, in its entirety, can be viewed on the Buckskin Fire Inciweb site (see web address above) and Buckskin Fire Facebook web pages.

Natural resources at risk from the Buckskin Fire include: critical Coho Salmon habitat, Northern Spotted Owl habitat, Marbled Murrelet habitat and wilderness values. Resource advisors, such as botanists, fish and wildlife biologists and archaeologists, work with operations' planners daily to provide options for suppressing the fire while being sensitive to the resources.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): TFRs are in place over the Buckskin Fire. Please check the NOTAMs for current information.

Start Date - June 11, 2015
Location - The wildfire is burning on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest 10 miles southwest of Cave Junction.
Cause - Lightning
Resources - Crews – 12; Dozers – 7; Engines – 5; Water Tenders – 11; Helicopters – 10
Total Personnel - 496

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