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fredaevans 07-31-2013 08:38 AM

SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
Many fires going on within 50 air miles of me and air is thick with smoke. Watching the morning news and the combined fires now exceed 35,000 acres.

Appears the National Guard is about be called out for extra man power. 750 some already on the fire lines and they're not putting a dent in getting these things under control.


mcnerney 07-31-2013 10:12 AM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
Fred, I feel your pain, we were in that situation most of last summer. It has been pretty dry here throughout the summer but have been really fortunate not to have any big fires, the last couple of days have brought some much needed rain, I'm sure the hay ranchers are loving it.
Best of luck with knocking down those fires and hopefully none of the fire fighters gets hurt.


fredaevans 07-31-2013 11:56 AM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
. Quite a breeze is starting to blow, which will go a long way in clearing the air.:worthy: But it sure won't help the crews.


fredaevans 07-31-2013 02:47 PM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.

Originally Posted by fredaevans (Post 577816)
. Quite a breeze is starting to blow, which will go a long way in clearing the air.:worthy: But it sure won't help the crews.


Boy did I get wrong! Wind started to clear up the air a bit, but it really kicked the fires into high gear. Worse smoke now than ever. This pretty current information on the fires in Oregon and two biggies in Washington:

"Over the past 24 hours, two relatively small blazes flared in the Northwest where crews are battling seven large wildfires that are continuing to spread.

And the outlook doesn't look good.

National Weather Service forecasters have painted much of eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington scarlet, with red flag warnings in effect.

"The forecast calls for abundant lightning, not scattered lightning," said Don Ferguson, spokesman for the joint fire information center in Grants Pass.

Five wildfires are raging through timber territory in Douglas and Josephine counties, prompting Gov. John Kitzhaber to declare a state of emergency.

Ferguson said that declaration will unleash the resources of various fire departments and help with structure protection, allowing crews to focus on wildland fires. The Oregon Army National Guard has provided five helicopters to fight the fires and about 125 citizen soldiers are waiting to be called up to help.

"We have our hands full," Ferguson said. "Initial attack resources are strained right now."

The fires has created hazardous breathing conditions in areas and created smoke thatís blotted out visibility. The smoke is hampering the efforts of firefighters and prompted the Department of Environmental Quality to issue warnings about unhealthy air.

The biggest concern in the area is the Douglas complex which has scorched more than 25,000 acres north of Glendale. The fires have forced the evacuation of 90 homes, put 40 other households on alert and closed Lower Wolf Creek Road, Union Creek and West Fork.

The Douglas complex remains 5 percent contained, with the Rabbit Mountain and Dad's Creek fires within the complex posing the biggest threat.

Ferguson said firefighters made good progress against the Whiskey complex east of Tiller in the past 24 hours, which is 10 percent contained. Those fires have charred nearly 3,100 acres.

Crews also made headway against the Brimstone fire northwest of Merlin, containing 10 percent of the blaze.

"That doesn't sound like much but it sure feels good to have a toehold," Ferguson said.

The fire has scorched 2,000 acres.

Even more timberland has been charred in the Big Windy complex of three fires northwest of Grants Pass, covering nearly 3,000 acres. They are zero percent contained.

The fires, which have burned down to the Rogue River, have closed Bear Camp Road and the Bureau of Land Management portion of the wild section of the Rogue River from Grave Creek to Mule Creek.

Big Windy is threatening Black Bar Lodge, campgrounds on the Rogue River, Rogue River Ranch and the Zane Grey historic cabin.

But Ferguson said officials are fairly confident that protection will keep those buildings safe.

The last fire in the area, located northwest of Cave Junction, has charred more than 1,700 acres. The Labrador fire is zero percent contained.

The one new fire in Oregon, dubbed Tiny Two, is burning south of Silver Lake. It has scorched nearly 140 acres and is 60 percent contained.

In Washington, crews are still battling two big wildfires -- Mile Marker 28 and Colockum Tarps -- along with a new fire, Moore Point, located northwest of Chelan.

The Moore Point fire, which is zero percent contained, has scorched 250 acres.

In comparison, the Mile Marker 28 and Colockum Tarps wildfires have charred more than 85,000 acres.

Crews have made progress against the Miler Marker 28 fire northeast of Goldendale, now 60 percent contained.

"Things are a little quieter today," said Randy Shepard, spokesman for the incident management team.

Crews have dug a line around the east side of the fire, only leaving a section on the far west unlined. But firefighters are bracing for a change in the weather, with the possibility of down drafts and erratic winds that could push the fire in a new direction.

"We're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best," Shepard said.

Crews have also made progress on the Colockum Tarps fire.

"The north side went really well," said Carol Connolly, spokeswoman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. "They're mopping up in and around structures," she said.

The incident management team also said the winds could be favorable on Wednesday, pushing the fire back itself. But it remains to be seen how the shift in weather plays out across the region.

"It's going to be an interesting day," Connolly said.

-- Lynne Terry"

jimp 08-01-2013 03:02 PM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
saw this on the news, hope they get 'em under control before too much damage is done.

noparking 08-01-2013 10:29 PM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
have a few friends out on the fires all over the state. hope everyone stays safe

fredaevans 08-04-2013 06:04 AM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
Large sections of the Rogue River now closed to Public Access. Major concern that the fires will 'jump' the river.

Premium Content BLM officials will close Rogue River's wild section at midnight - 7/30/2013

The Rogue River's wild section will close at midnight tonight due to heavy smoke and ever-creeping flames from southwest Oregon numerous fires, Bureau of Land Management officials said.

The 34-mile wild section runs from Grave Creek near Galice to Watson Creek, just upstream from Foster Bar.

"In the interest of safety and giving people time to get down and out of the area, (we decided) that we should go ahead and close it," said Jim Whittington, spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management's Medford District.

The scenic section near Agness also could close because of smoke-choked conditions from nearby fires.

On Tuesday, three fires of the Big Windy Complex continued to burn on the river's south side. The Big Windy, Calvert Peak and Jenny Creek blazes have burned more than 2,100 acres, putting off clouds of smoke that smothered the surrounding landscape. The Jenny Creek fire also looked poised to jump the waterway and continue burning on the north side.

"Visibility is a huge factor in this as well. If somebody had an accident on the river, we couldn't get to them because we can't fly helicopters right now," Whittington said.

"It's not a decision that we make lightly," he said. "We do recognize this is a huge impact to the local community, to the local economy."

Whittington doesn't expect the closure to resolve quickly, either, as steep, inaccessible terrain will make the fires hard to extinguish.

"These fires are not going to go away anytime soon," Whittington said. "If you could pick the worst spot to start fires, these places are it."

Hugh Hague, owner of Noah's Wilderness Adventures in Ashland, said there was an impact before the closure. He'd already had some cancellations stemming from individuals' medical conditions that made them more sensitive to the smoky air.

"It's shocking to see the level, the amount of smoke that's there," Hague said, adding it's disheartening to see an outdoors area he values sustaining such heavy damage. "It's depressing and frustrating that this is the situation that we're in."

For lodges along the Rogue, it's the same story. Cathy Whitehouse, an employee at Morrison's Rogue River Lodge in Merlin upstream from the Wild & Scenic Section, said there have been 10 or so cancellations from dinner guests and rafters because of the smoke, though some rebooked for later dates. Correction: This sentence has been clarified for accuracy.

"The sky's sort of a different color. You can taste it as soon as you walk outside," Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse said there have been no requests for staff to leave yet.

"We're hoping for the best," she said.

Other lodges are working with bare bones crews.

"We basically just have an owner down there doing the job of four," Black Bar Lodge co-owner Vanessa James said of her husband John. She is staying back at their home and looking after their horses in case she's asked to evacuate. "You can't expect anybody to stay and work in a case where you could catch fire."

The lodge had also received several cancellations from guests because of the smoky conditions, even prior to the wild section's closure, she said. Correction: This sentence has been clarified for accuracy.

ó Ryan Pfeil

silvertip8k 08-07-2013 03:17 PM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
fires have been going on in the western states long before they were states...50 thousand plus years and then some! a natural environment they actually cause good in the long run...

when folks build houses in the mountains and dont clear away dead trees and brush...they are asking for it. That is usually what gives these wildfires the extra umph to push them into catastrophe levels...normally fires of only brush and no dead understory dont go all that far. They actually provide nutrients for the grasses etc to get vital.

the beetle kill, and some other factors make it even more vulnerable...I dont want to see any more firefighters getting their harps just to protect some areas that were not tended to properly...period...

lets spend some money clearing out all the potential fuel...and maybe even making an industry of it...I cant believe that all that wood and timber cant be reclaimed...not too mention all the people out of work...if I needed a job I would be glad to clear out brush and dead timber for a paycheck. I did...and will again if its what it takes...

My Father worked in central Oregon in the 50's doing exactly that for the USFS...I have done it in Colorado recently just working on ranches...just because everyone knew(knows) if they did not the soil would be destroyed for years if a real blaze set it...its the super hot fires that have to be avoided. They kill seeds and soil.

maybe some of the prograns from the old days need to be reinstated, somewhere along the line someone decided to stop clearing out the dead wood...and that it was natures way???...JMHO...until then...everyone pray for a lot of rain...and that God protects those fire fighters...droughts and lightning are not going anywhere...maybe we should recalibrate our approach?

fredaevans 08-07-2013 05:10 PM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
Dead tired so back to bed for a long nap. 3:05 here and the winds really blowing ... but from east to west and clearing out the smoke. Actually seeing the sky is a Woozer.

Only 'problem' is you can see huge thunder heads off to the south and east. Had three new lightning strikes here in So. Oregon last night. One went off right over my head. Bed room lights up (half dozing watching TV) and the Dog's off like a shot. Found him rolled up in a cloths closet.

winxp_man 08-12-2013 08:24 PM

Re: SW Oregon really is on fire. In a bad way.
At a first glance I was thinking the fishing is on fire in SW Oregon! :D

But after peeking in its really on fire! Hope everyone is staying safe out there!

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