fighting fires

The Temperature Improved, But Not The Fire Danger.


It seems like “Deja vu all over again” as the famous Yogi Berra liked to say. Another horrendous fire on the south side of Eugene destroyed property, but there were no fatalities or injuries. The Southtown Lanes Bowling Center was gutted, but the Eugene Fire Department personnel contained the blaze to just that one building. Their heroic efforts kept the fire from spreading out to other businesses and the homes that were nearby. The contents of the old building were many wooden bowling alleys that had multiple layers of varnish and wax which would burn very easily and very hot. There was a noticeable difference between the smoke from this fire and the smoke from the Civic Stadium fire. Civic Stadium smoke just smelled like burning wood. The smoke from Southtown had the burning wood smell, but also had a sweet smell mixed in with it. My guess is that smell came from the varnish and wax used to make the alleys so slippery for the bowling balls to roll properly toward the pins.

Southtown Bowling Center Fire | Photo by clr91(@) )talk
Southtown Lanes Bowling Center Fire | Photo by clr91(@criley91)|talk|

As of this writing no cause has been determined for the Southtown Bowling Center fire. It seems pretty obvious that if that fire had spread to nearby buildings it would have been a much worse catastrophe. The owners of Southtown Lanes Bowling Center posted a thank you to all of those wishing them well and especially their loyal customers on their website.

I last gave you an update in the wildfire situation in Oregon in an article The Heat May Be Gone, But Not The Fires. published July 13th. There are still significant wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest. Here is the latest Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC) Northwest Large Fire Interactive Map.

Now here is the current list of large active wildfires in Oregon and their status updated as of this article’s publication. The worst of the current wildfires is the Stouts Creek fire which, at last report, has burned over 21,000 acres. There are nine large wildfires presently burning in the state of Oregon.

1) 153 West Fork fire – 10 miles SE of Dayville, covers 924 acres, cause: under investigation, 79% contained, total people: 137, crews: 3, helicopters: 0, engines: 9.

Cable Crossing Fire |
Cable Crossing Fire | Photo by

2) Cable Crossing fire – 6 miles E of Glide, covers 1,857 acres, cause: under investigation, 80% contained, total people: 375, crews: 14, helicopters: 5, engines: 15.

3) Collier Butte fire – 17 miles E of Gold Beach, covers 1,762 acres, cause: under investigation, 0% contained, total people: 435, crews:13, helicopters: 7, engines: 9.

4) D L Potter Mountain Complex fire – 28 miles S of Oakridge, covers 315 acres, cause: under investigation, 50% contained, total people: 152, crews: 4,helicopters: 4, engines: 6.

Lime Hill Fire |
Lime Hill Fire (New Mexico Firefighters) | Photo by

5) Lime Hill fire – Huntington, covers 12,024 acres, cause: under investigation, 95% contained, total people: 220, crews: 4, helicopters: 5, engines: 22.

6) National Creek Complex fire – 10 miles SW of Diamond Lake, covers 322 acres, cause: under investigation, 5% contained, total people: 225, crews: 6, helicopters: 4, engines: 6.

7) Phillips Creek fire – 7 miles NW of Elgin, covers 2,250 acres, cause: under investigation, 38% contained, total people: 732, crews: 20,helicopters: 5, engines: 13.

Stouts Creek Fire | Photo by inciweb.nwcg.cog
Stouts Creek Fire | Photo by inciweb.nwcg.cog

8) Stouts Creek fire – 16 miles E of Canyonville, covers 21,858 acres, cause: under investigation, 30% contained, total people: 1,628, crews: 62, helicopters: 16, engines: 47.

9) 0513 RN fire – 12 miles E of Warm Springs, covers 900 acres, cause: under investigation, 0% contained, total people: 0, crews: 0, helicopters: 0, engines: 0.

When you find out how many people and how much equipment it takes to fight these fires you can easily see that it takes an incredible effort to fight these wildfires and get them under control. There is rain in the forecast for most of the state of Oregon, but the amount of actual precipitation that falls doesn’t look very impressive. The chances of measurable precipitation run from slight (20%) to less than a 50-50 chance (30%-40%) so it doesn’t look like nature will lend any help to fight these fires. We have to hope that thunderstorms do not form because that usually means more lightning strikes which can and often do start even more wildfires. Remember, there is no actual cut-off date for the wildfire season. Two things will help end the season. The first is that no new fires develop and the second is significant rainfall to wet down the trees, grass, etc. which can burn.

We can all hope that the rain season finds a way to start early this year if we have any hope of getting the wildfire situation under control.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].