After three weeks of hard dangerous work, crews now have the Stouts Creek Fire fully encircled with a blackline—when the fire’s edge has burnt to a road or other fireline and is secure. Last night, fire crews completed burn out operations on the last piece of the 51-mile fire perimeter. Reaching this milestone has been the fire crews’ focus for the past week.
“I feel really good about where we are at,” said John Pellisier Operations Section Chief. “I was able to sleep easy last night knowing that we have this thing cinched up.”
While the mood at morning briefing was upbeat, fire managers reminded crews to be vigilant and stay focused on the work ahead. “Yes, we have a blackline around this fire. That’s great. And we still have lots of work to do,” said Incident Commander Chris Cline. “We need to stay focused and make sure our lines hold as the weather heats back up in coming days.”
The day shift will focus on burning interior patches of unburnt fuels near the southern tip of the fire. These operations will produce smoke for at least a couple more days. Once the burnout is secured, the evacuation level on Upper Cow Creek Road will be reduced. Until then, the evacuation levels remain unchanged.
A Level 2 Evacuation notice (Get Set) remains in place for residents on Upper Cow Creek Road east of Devils Flat to the end of the road. This precautionary measure is because of high temperatures and low humidities that might cause increased fire behavior. The Stouts Creek Fire has blackened 26,188 acres and is 80% contained and still has the potential for rapid growth. A contingency plan to protect structures on Upper Cow Creek is in place and will be activated if needed. Evacuation levels for all other areas remain at Level 1 (Get Ready).
The Stouts Creek Fire has been managed under unified command by Oregon Department of Forestry Team 2 Incident Commander Chris Cline and Forest Service Incident Commander Mike Wilde, since August 13.
There are 764 personnel assigned to the fire with 11 crews, 19 engines, 25 water tenders, 13 bulldozers and six helicopters. To date, the Stout Creek Fire has cost $33.3 million.
The Incident Management Team is protecting lands that are about 46% on state protected lands, which include BLM and private lands and 54% on the Umpqua National Forest.