Friday, June 19, 2015

Buckskin Fire: Friday Morning Update

Firefighters initiated a burnout operation in the northeast section of the Buckskin Fire in their effort to contain the wildfire, which is now 2,635 acres and six percent contained. Ground personnel used drip torches to carry fire along the indirect containment line to just south of Buckskin Peak. A helicopter utilized a helitorch, an ignition device suspended beneath a helicopter, to ignite and consume fuels between the fireline and the main body of the fire.

The burnout progressed slowly due to strong westerly winds that blew embers across the containment line, challenging crews assigned to keep the fire within the containment lines. With the helicopter support, firefighters worked hard and kept the burnout in check.

Today, crews will continue bringing fire south by utilizing drip torches to provide a buffer and a helitorch to add depth to the burnout. This operation will likely last several days and increase the amount of smoke affecting nearby communities.

The fire continues to grow toward the south and east, but well within the containment lines. Crews continued to bolster the containment lines in this area. The wildfire exhibited minimal fire behavior along the western edge, where a contingency line is in place to provide a safeguard in the event fire activity increases in this area.Two 10-person fire crews remain on the west flank to monitor fire behavior and take suppression actions if necessary.

The 90-acre spot fire southwest of the main fire has been contained and will be monitored by aerial patrol.

Several plant and animal species remain at risk from the Buckskin Fire and deliberate measures are being taken to protect these natural resources.

Communities in the Illinois and Rogue Valleys may continue to be impacted by smoke.Those sensitive to smoke should be aware and take appropriate actions. Detailed air quality information can be found on Oregon Smoke at http://OregonSmoke.BlogSpot.com.

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, log onto the Buckskin Fire Inciwebsite or Buckskin Fire Facebook 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 – 12; Dozers – 7; Engines – 6; Water Tenders – 13; Helicopters – 11
Total Personnel - 581

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rogue River-Siskyou National Forest Fire Activity Update: Thursday Morning

With slightly moderating temperatures and winds, increased relative humidity, and no recent adverse weather events, firefighting efforts are making great progress wrapping up most of the Forest’s local fires from lightning activity earlier this month.

Many resources are being released across the forest from all but the Buckskin Fire. Six crews have been released over the past 24 hours with another being de-mobbed tomorrow from Gold Beach. One local Type II crew and one Type 6 Engine will remain stationed at the Forest Service Agness Guard Station in Agness, OR, east of Gold Beach.

One VLAT (very large air tanker) and one LAT (large air tanker) have been operational today on the Buckskin Fire, in preparation for the planned burnout tomorrow, pre-treating (with retardant) the east and south containment lines outside of the Wilderness.

Residents and visitors were likely to have seen an increased amount of air activity today from these efforts.

No structures to date have been threatened by any of the fires.

Wild Rivers Ranger District

The Buckskin Fire, located in Curry County, is approximately 2360 acres in size. There is currently an area closure in place. For more information on the closure, please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/rogue-siskiyou/alerts-notices. For more information on the Buckskin Fire, please visit Inciweb http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/38/.

Red Dog Fire located five miles SW of Onion Mountain has been 100% contained at 12.1 acres, and mopped up and in patrol status.

Little Onion Fire is located two miles SE of Galice in Josephine County on the Wild Rivers Ranger District. This fire has been 100% contained at 3.75 acres, mopped up and also in patrol status.

Limpy Creek Fire at .1 acre has been declared out.

Gold Beach Ranger District

The Tom Fry, Hog Mountain, and North Smith Fires have all been declared out at 3.75 acres, 1.5 acres, and 1 acre respectively. Periodic patrols continue.

The Miller Fire at 7.4 acres in size has been 100% contained. Crews continue to mop up and patrol.

High Cascades Ranger District

The Cowboy Fire at .1 acre has been declared out.

Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District

The Yew Wood Fire contained at 2.59 acres is currently in patrol status.

The Widow Fire remains at .1 acre. This is an 8-foot diameter tree with high complexity, leaving it unable to be felled or blasted. The top has broken off and no visible fire remains in the tree. However, handline has been constructed around the predicted fall area, pumps are in place to support if needed, and patrols will continue.

For current recorded fire regulations, precautions, Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL), and closure information 24 hours a day, call 800-267-3126.

There are no current weather watches or Red Flag Warnings for the area. For additional fire and weather information, please go to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou or the Medford Interagency Dispatch Center at http://ormic.org/ or follow us on Twitter @RRSNF.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Buckskin Fire: Wednesday Morning Update

Fire Location: Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest 
Incident Commander: Doug Johnson
Information Center – 541-597-2223
Inciweb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4286/
Email: Buckskinfire2015@gmail.com


The Buckskin Fire has had little growth over the past few days. The fire is estimated at 2,360 acres and is burning in the old fire scar of the 2002 Biscuit Fire.

Excellent progress has been made since this past weekend in building indirect containment lines around the fire in preparation for burnout Thursday along the eastern and southern flanks. The greatest current potential threat from the fire, due to fuels and terrain alignment with wind patterns to the nearest communities in the Illinois Valley are along the eastern flank, thus the concerted suppression emphasis in this area. When locating firelines, crews have taken advantage of previous suppression lines, trails, and roads to confine the fire without always needing to construct line in undisturbed areas.


In preparation for the planned burnout tomorrow, air tankers will be deployed today to pre-treat (with retardant) the east and south containment lines outside of the Wilderness. Residents and visitors to the area may see an increased amount of air activity today from these efforts.

Fire behavior on the western flank continues to be 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 successfully contained the largest of the spot fires southwest of the main fire. Rapellers and helitack crews continue to use helicopter water drops to contain the spots. Firefighters have also begun working the remaining spot fires closer to the main body of the fire.

A community meeting was held last night at the Josephine County Building in Cave Junction. Approximately 80 people attended to hear an update on the Buckskin Fire and ask questions to fire managers. It was emphasized that the overall objective is to suppress the Buckskin Fire even though the fire currently lies 6-8 miles west of the nearest communities in the Illinois Valley. Fuels in the area are extremely dry due to prolonged drought. Fuels and fire behavior exhibit conditions normally found in July and August. Other large fires are starting across the Western states and Alaska which will now need firefighters, air resources and equipment to manage those situations. Fire fighting resources will become difficult to obtain as the fire season moves forward. As a result, the risk of not aggressively suppressing the Buckskin Fire at this point in the fire season is considered too great a threat to the communities surrounding the fire.

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 the Incident Management Team 3 daily to provide options for suppressing the fire while being sensitive to the resources. A “weed wash station” has been set up to wash vehicles going out to the fire and when returning to camp to reduce the potential spread of invasive species to lands in and around 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 has issued a Fire Area Closure Order closing public access to forest land surrounding the fire for public health and 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.

Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR): The TFR is 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 – 13; Helicopters – 10
Total Personnel - 536

Ready, Set, Go! Evacuation Preparedness


In the event of an emergency in your area, you may be asked to evacuate. It’s important to understand the different levels of evacuation and what they mean for you, your family, your pets and your home.

Be Ready: Level 1

Evacuation Plan:

  • Make a plan, and be sure everyone in your family understands it.
  • Assign tasks to each family member for what to do during Level 1 (Ready), Level 2 (Set) and Level 3
  • (GO!) evacuations.
  • Have an evacuation plan for your pets and livestock. If it isn’t safe for you, its not safe for them.
  • Designate a meeting place – this could be a friend or family member’s house, or an evacuation shelter.
  • Choose an out-of-the-area contact person to relay information about your welfare to family and friends and to keep your phone lines open.

House Preparation

  • Make sure house numbers are visible from the street.
  • Make sure driveways are wide enough for emergency vehicles to enter (10-12 feet wide).
  • Prepare your defensible space.
  • Emergency Kits - Keep them ready at all times in your home and vehicle.
  • Include supplies for you and everyone who lives in your home or visits regularly.
  • Include supplies for your pets.
  • Include copies of important documents, phone contact lists, family photos, household inventory lists, and any portable valuables.
  • Keep your vehicles filled with gas.

Be Set: Level 2


  • Keep pets and livestock ready to go in case you need to evacuate in a hurry.
  • Be sure to have your photo ID or something showing your current address in case you need to access an evacuated area.
  • Monitor local television and radio stations for updates.
  • Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures (during wildfires).

Go!: Level 3


  • Leave house lights on and windows closed.
  • Let your emergency contact and/or family members know where you are going.
For more information, see www.rvem.org or the emergency management websites in Jackson County and Josephine County.

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

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15 Pocket Card and Fire Statistics Update

This weekend we increased fire danger to high and are currently at an IFPL 1. This week there will continue to be hot, dry weather and we will see fire behavior increase because of this. Fuels are trending drier than normal especially at high elevation due to low snowpack. For the latest updates please go to the swofiredata.com site.