Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Evening Fire Update

Today, ODF Southwest firefighters and our cooperators tackled numerous fires on ODF-protected land across Jackson and Josephine Counties. While this storm has pushed our team to its limits, we are holding true to keeping fires as small as possible, and keeping the community safe. Nearly every fire we have shared information on this week is close to being fully lined and in mop up, except for the following:
The Nugget Fire is still challenging firefighters as the steep terrain covered in snags poses a hazard to all personnel on the ground. Crews are continuing to work on fire line around the perimeter, but access is also playing a role in the demanding firefight. The fire is still estimated to be 5 to 10 acres by ODF’s air attack, but we have not yet mapped the fire due to the same challenges previously mentioned. Overnight, firefighters will be focusing on building and strengthening control line. While the fire will be letting off smoke, the fire activity remains moderate primarily in the interior of the burn. No homes are threatened by this fire.
Also, the series of Grizzly Peak Fires are being wrapped up, but additional mop up will be taking place tomorrow before we call all five of these fires 100% contained. Since air operations will continue cooling hot spots tomorrow, and firefighters will be working throughout the Grizzly Peak area, a temporary closure of the Grizzly Peak Trail system is in effect in order to protect public health and safety. For the full information on that closure, visit www.swofire.com.

We would like to thank the community for the tremendous amount of support we have all felt while working on countless number of fires since this storm took off Monday. We are also incredibly grateful for the partnerships in place with U.S. Forest Service Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest, Bureau of Land Management Medford District, all local city and county agencies, ODF Klamath-Lake District, Cal Fire and finally, Oregon Department of Forestry IMT I. The amount of fires we have been able to keep small is a testament to our superb partnerships throughout our area.  

Effective Immediately: Grizzly Peak Trail System Closed to Protect Public Health and Safety

With increased fire activity on Grizzly Peak near Ashland, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Medford District jointly with the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District have decided that a temporary closure of the Grizzly Peak Trail system is necessary in order to protect public health and safety. The closure is effective immediately and will be in place until the area is deemed safe for public access.
Currently, firefighters are still engaged on Grizzly Peak; however, only three of the five fires initially reported are still actively burning. The first two fires were knocked down and 100% contained by early afternoon. Both are less than an acre in size. Firefighters are engaged on the final three fires tonight. The fires range from ¼ acre to 2 acres, and are each at least 30% mopped up and 100% lined. We will continue to work on these fires swiftly and efficiently in order to eliminate any further risk to public and firefighter safety.
Closure signs will be placed at main entry points to the area; however, maps of the closure area can be obtained through the BLM Medford District Office. The Grizzly Peak Trail is on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management out of its Medford District office. It is a popular hiking area that attracts several visitors during the summer months. Therefore, we hope this precaution keeps both visitors and firefighters safe as they continue to make progress on the series of fires on Grizzly Peak.
The full Emergency Closure Notification is below. For additional information, please reach out to the BLM Medford District office at (541) 618-2200, or the Oregon Department Southwest Oregon District Medford Unit at (541 664-3328.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
MEDFORD DISTRICT
3040 Biddle Rd.
Medford OR 97504



EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF PUBLIC LANDS:                                  Jackson County, Oregon

AGENCY:                 Bureau of Land Management, Medford District Office, Oregon

ACTION:                  Temporary closure of public land in Jackson County, Oregon.

SUMMARY:  The Medford District, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is giving notice that we are temporarily closing the Grizzly Peak Trails beginning on August 11, 2017. These restrictions are to protect public health and safety (43 CFR 9268.3(d)(1).

THE CLOSED/RESTRICTED AREA ARE:

The Grizzly Peak Trail system – Township 38S, Range 2E, Section 8, 17, 18, and Road 38S-02W-9.2.

BLM will post closure signs at main entry points to this area. You may obtain maps of the closure area and information from the Medford District Office.

DATES:  This closure will be in effect from the date of signature until the area is deemed as safe for public access.

FOR FURTHER INFORMA TION CONTACT:  Kristi Mastrofini, Ashland Resource Area Field Manager, 3040 Biddle Road, Medford, OR 97504, telephone (541) 618-2438.

DISCUSSION OF THE RULES:  Under the authority of 43 CFR 9268.3(d)(1)(i), BLM will enforce the following rule on public lands within the closed area:

You may not travel on the Grizzly Peak trail in Township 38S, Range 2E, Section 8, 17, 18 or the road leading to the trail, Road 38S-02E-9.2 beyond Shale City Road.

EXEMPTIONS:  Persons who are exempt from these rules include:
·         Any Federal, State, or local officer or employee in the scope of their duties;
·         Members of any organized rescue or fire-fighting force i n performance of an official duty;
·         Any person authorized in writing by the Bureau of Land Management.

PENALTIES: Authorities for this closure are section 303(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. I733(a)) and 43 CFR 8360.0-7. Any person who knowingly and willfully violates any closure order issued under § 9268.3(c)(2) of this title shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 12 months, or both. Such violations may also be subject to the enhanced penalties as provided for by 18 U.S.C. 3571.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

#FlounceFire AM Update, 08/10/2017

ODF IMT 1
BILL HUNT, INCIDENT COMMANDER
MORE INFORMATION:
Facebook: ODF Southwest Oregon District
Twitter: @swofire
Blog: www.swofire.com
Inciweb: http://tinyurl.com/Flounce-Fire-Information
Shady Cove, Oregon – Wednesday evening’s thunderstorm activity brought much needed precipitation to the Flounce Fire with as much as a quarter inch of rain in some areas. The fire stands at an estimated 690 acres and 10 percent contained.
While the rain served as a welcome relief to cool portions of the fire down, it also creates a slew of safety concerns. The added moisture on the ground, combined with burning root systems, weakens trees that could potentially fall at a moment’s notice, compromising firefighter safety and carrying burning material downhill across fire lines. Also of concern is the potential for rock slides in the steep, rugged terrain. The area of greatest concern is the southeast corner of the fire where the rocky cliffs make it difficult to establish solid containment lines. Helicopters will focus bucket drops in that area to support ground forces.
The west flank of the fire is in excellent condition. Crews will continue extensive mop up along the western line while also being available to support Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District and its cooperators by responding to new fires in Jackson and Josephine Counties.
A Level One (Be Ready) evacuation notice remains in effect for residents on Evergreen Drive and Lewis Road near Prospect. Jackson County Emergency Management and local fire agencies will continue to coordinate with fire team personnel in evaluating the situation. Level One of the three-level 'Be Ready, Get Set, Go!' evacuation system is something everyone should incorporate into their daily lives. It’s all about having a plan, including assembled emergency kits, being aware of escape plans and evacuation routes and sites, and being ready to go at a moment’s notice, regardless of the emergency. Learn more at our local emergency managemt page www.rvem.org, or wildlandfirersg.org.
Roughly 650 personnel are currently assigned to the Flounce Fire. Fire crews are also being supported with 9 helicopters, 19 engines, and 17 water tenders.
To stay current on any changes in fire activity, follow us on social media, at ODF Southwest Oregon District.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday Evening Fire Update

Today, ODF Southwest firefighters worked diligently chasing smokes and knocking down multiple fires throughout Jackson and Josephine Counties. While several of our starts are dead out, there are a handful of fires that crews are continuing to work on overnight.
The Stratton Creek Fire, burning seven miles northwest of Merlin, is estimated to be 30 acres as of nightfall. The fire originated as three separate fires burning in mixed terrain consisting of tall brush and timber on the north side of the Rogue River near Hellgate Canyon Bridge. Two of the three fires burned together late this evening which will pose a challenge to firefighters as they work to line the fire in a steep, rugged landscape. The third fire has already been completely knocked down by air and ground resources. Firefighters will continue to work on containment tonight. Air operations will resume in the morning.
The Reuben Fire, which we mentioned earlier today, was burning roughly five air miles north of Grave Creek Bridge and the Rogue River Trail. The initial estimate put the fire at five acres, but as of this evening the fire was knocked down and 100% lined at 10.75 acres. Crews will continue to mop up the interior of the fire tonight.
The Doe Spring Fire is burning right off the Josephine - Douglas County border just north of Mount Reuben. Thanks to the collaborative efforts between ODF Southwest and the Douglas Forest Protective Association, firefighters are inching closer to getting a line around the full perimeter of the roughly 6.5 acre fire. We truly appreciate the collaborative, aggressive initial attack that both agencies are displaying.
The Redwood Highway Fire is now in extensive mop up. Multiple agencies responded to the roughly 10 acre fire burning in a salvage yard and adjacent wildland off Redwood Highway 199 and Airport Drive in Cave Junction. Due to the fantastic teamwork by structural and wildland firefighters alike, the fire was knocked down quickly and all evacuation orders have been lifted. No structures were lost. Although Redwood Highway 199 was initially closed to through traffic, it is open tonight. However, firefighters will be working on mopping up this fire for several days. Due to the variety of materials burned, hot spots are more prone to pop up. We are working to eliminate any chance of reignition on this fire.
Finally, several additional fires were located and extinguished throughout the day. Tonight, firefighters are still following up on new reports of smoke in order to hold true to our mission of keeping fires small and keeping our community safe. As always, we would like to thank all of our partnering fire agencies for the continued support and cooperation.
We would like to remind everyone that the fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties remains at “extreme” (red). For a full list of the public restrictions currently in place, visit our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest or our website: www.swofire.com.

                                                                

#FlounceFire PM Update, August 9, 2017

Shady Cove, Oregon –Thanks to favorable weather, firefighters were able to gain substantial ground on the Flounce Fire today. The fire has shown little growth in the past 24 hours, but still remains of great concern with thunderstorms still in the forecast. The fire is currently estimated at 690 acres and 10 percent contained.

Also today, fire crews and a helicopter responded to and suppressed a lightning-caused fire from Tuesday night’s thunderstorm activity just east of the main fire perimeter. A number of crews, engines and aircraft assigned to the Flounce Fire were also diverted to support Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District and cooperators initial attack efforts on other new fires. A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for significant lightning, dry fuels and gusty, erratic winds. Fire danger remains extreme.

A Level One (Be Ready) evacuation notice remains in effect for residents on Evergreen Drive and Lewis Road near Prospect.

Crews will continue to strengthen containment lines and begin extensive mop-up in an effort to minimize additional fire spread.

Roughly 650 personnel are currently assigned to the Flounce Fire. Fire crews are also being supported with 9 helicopters, 19 engines, and 17 water tenders.

To stay current on any changes in fire activity, follow us on social media @Facebook.com/ODFsouthwest.


Firefighters Battling Multiple Lightning-Sparked Fires

Another round of thunderstorms yesterday evening triggered multiple lightning strikes which sparked fires on ODF Southwest Oregon District-protected land. Throughout Jackson and Josephine Counties, approximately 250 strikes were recorded. Although firefighters have been running on endless reports of smoke, as of 11:00 a.m., only ten of the reports have turned into confirmed fires. While most of those fire starts are already knocked down and contained, there is one that firefighters are currently engaged on both on the ground and in the air.

The Reuben Fire, burning roughly five air miles north of Grave Creek Bridge and the Rogue River Trail, is estimated to be roughly five acres in size. Currently, there are over 30 firefighters on the ground and several aircraft making progress on the fire. In the air, three Type 2 helicopters, two Type one helicopters, four SEATS (Single Engine Air Tankers) and one air attack platform are working the fire. One LAT (Large Air Tanker) is currently on-order.

We will be responding to additional smoke reports throughout today which will really stretch our initial attack resources thin across both counties if we continue to get additional fires popping up. In addition, the weather forecast calls for lightning again tonight. We are really urging our community to stay vigilant and call 9-1-1 with smoke reports throughout the evening.

We would like to remind everyone that the fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties remains at “extreme” (red). For a full list of the public restrictions currently in place, visit our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest or our website: www.swofire.com.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Flounce Fire Grows to 600 Acres

A force of more than 300 firefighters worked throughout the day to relocate fire lines on the northeast and northwest flanks of the Flounce Fire, burning on private and Bureau of Land Management forestlands roughly 12 miles northeast of Shady Cove. The fire grew along these flanks today but a wide bulldozer-constructed fire line along the southern end of the fire held as wind gusts put it to the test. Although a few spot fires were located outside of the western flank, they were knocked down and contained rapidly.
As of this evening, the Flounce Fire has reached 600 acres and is eight percent contained.
Fire camp was set up today at Touvelle State Park off Table Rock Road in Central Point. The park will remain closed to the public until further notice. Please be cautious of increased fire traffic throughout the area.
Early this morning, a Level One (Be Ready) evacuation notice was issued by Jackson County Emergency Management for residents on Evergreen Drive and Lewis Road near Prospect. The evacuation order will remain in effect until further notice as a precautionary measure, as we anticipate additional thunderstorms this week. A structural protection strike team stood by today to protect homes and other structures in the event the wildfire posed a threat. The team is assembled from engines and personnel from fire districts in Jackson and Josephine counties.
Overnight, the focus is to continue to improve control lines surrounding the homes under the evacuation order.
“We need to take advantage of the weather when we can. The fire did receive a fair amount of rain which means we have an opportunity to cover a lot of ground tonight,” said Herb Johnson, Flounce Fire Incident Commander.
Tomorrow at 5:00 a.m., the local ODF Southwest Oregon District Type 3 Incident Management Team will be handing off the Flounce Fire to the Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team I. This will alleviate our local resources so that they can continue to have an aggressive initial attack throughout Jackson and Josephine Counties.
The Flounce Fire was first reported at 4:56 p.m. Monday. The cause is attributed to lightning that stemmed from a thunderstorm Monday afternoon.
Thunderstorms are anticipated for the next two days. With ODF Southwest Oregon District resources already stretched thin, we are encouraging everyone to hold each other responsible for following fire restrictions currently in place. Don’t let your actions become a statistic.

The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties is “extreme” (red) today. For a full list of the public restrictions currently in place, visit our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest or our website: www.swofire.com.

Flounce Fire Burns 250 Acres Northeast of Shady Cove

ODF Southwest firefighters worked throughout the night constructing fire line on the Flounce Fire, located approximately 12 miles northeast of Shady Cove. The Flounce Fire was first reported as two separate fires around 4:56 p.m. Monday. The main fire burned nearly 50 acres by sunset, and the two fires joined shortly after burning close to 200 acres by midnight. The lightning-sparked fire is approximately 250 acres this morning.
As of early this morning, a Level One (Be Ready) evacuation notice has been issued by Jackson County Emergency Management for residents on Evergreen Drive and Lewis Road near Prospect. A citizen alert has already been sent to the homes impacted by the notice. This is a precautionary measure, as we anticipate additional thunderstorms this week. There is a potential for growth along the northeast and northwest flanks of the fire; however, it is not anticipated to spread to the south toward the homes currently under the evacuation order due to the contingency line in place.
The topography ranges from moderate to very steep. The rugged terrain was one of the primary challenges over the past 12 hours. Still, crews were able to get one mile of hose lay in place in order to help control fire activity. Today, firefighters will continue to knock down the active portions of the fire, as well as continue building control line around the perimeter. Two Type One helicopters have been order for the fire, as well as four Type Two helicopters, one Large Air Tanker (LAT) and one air attack platform. Recon of the Flounce Fire is underway as of 9:00 a.m. this morning
Along with Oregon Department of Forestry crews from the Southwest Oregon District’s Medford and Grants Pass units, a Rogue Valley Strike Team was activated. The strike team consists of structural protection units from Jackson County Fire District 4, Jackson County Fire District 5, Jackson County Fire District 3, Medford Fire-Rescue, Jacksonville Fire and Ashland Fire-Rescue. Ten-man and 20-man crews are also on scene, and several Oregon Department of Corrections inmate crews have arrived to assist with fire line construction. In total, roughly 250 personnel are currently working the fire with more resources on the way.
Weather conditions today call for temperatures in the low 90’s, relative humidity is roughly 30 percent, and west winds at 3 mph. A Red Flag Warning has been issued from noon to 10 p.m. with abundant lightning in the forecast. With ODF Southwest Oregon District resources already stretched thin, we are encouraging everyone to hold each other responsible for following fire restrictions currently in place. Don’t let your actions become a statistic.
The fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties is “extreme” (red) today. For a full list of the public restrictions currently in place, visit our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest or our website: www.swofire.com.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Firefighters Searching for Lightning-Sparked Wildfires

ODF Southwest Oregon District firefighters are responding to numerous lightning-sparked wildfires throughout Jackson County.
The #FlounceFire, which is currently the largest, is estimated to be approximately 10 acres, located 2 miles northeast of Lost Creek Lake near Trail. The image of the Flounce Fire below was captured by our detection center earlier this afternoon. Several resources are being dedicated to this fire for an aggressive, initial attack. Please be cautious of increased fire traffic in the area.
So far, the district has received over a dozen down strikes since 4:45 p.m., and the thunderstorm has not cleared our region yet. We will continue to be vigilant in our firefighting mission.
Additional contract crews are being requested in order to assist in searching for smokes and suppression efforts into the night.
We will continue to keep everyone updated as conditions change and fires develop.
#FireSeason #SafetyFirst