current wildfires

They’re Spreading Like….Like Wildfire!

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The national news has been talking about the record number of wildfires in the state of California. They have reported that California has more than 350 wildfires burning. You’ll notice they haven’t said much if anything about Oregon. As of 8.22.20 there are 17 wildfires in Oregon and there are three in the state of Washington.

Current Wildfires
Current Large Wildfires 8.22.20| Image by NWCC

Now let’s take a look at each one of these wildfires and see just how serious they are and what resources are being used to combat them. At least ten of these fires were started by lightning while the others are unknown or still under investigation.

Baldy Wildfire
Baldy Wildfire 8.19.20 | Photo by backercityhearld.com

The Baldy fire: Located 6 miles northeast of Ironside, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 3,803. The fuel/terrain is brush, grass. It started on 8.17.20 and the cause is under investigation. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 208, 8 crews, 2 helicopters, and 5 engines. The fire is 65% contained. The lead agency listed is USDI Bureau of Land Management.

The Beachie Creek fire: Located Willamette National forest, Opal creek Wilderness. The number of acres involved is 10. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.16.20 and the cause is unknown. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 57, 2 crews, 3 helicopters, and 0 engines. The fire is 0% contained. The lead agency listed is USDA Forest Service.

The Crane fire: Located 10 miles southeast of Lakeview, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 2,474. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.16.20 and the cause is unknown. Residences threatened: 8 single residences, Other structures threatened: 6 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 456, 13 crews, 5 helicopters, and 16 engines. The fire is 15% contained. The lead agency listed is USDA Forest Service.

The Frog fire: Located 8 miles south of Post, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 3,997. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.15.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 3 single residences, Other structures threatened: 6 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 298, 9 crews, 3 helicopters, and 8 engines. The fire is 10% contained. The lead agency listed is USDA Forest Service.

Green River Wildfire
Green Ridge Wildfire | Photo by ktvz.com

The Green Ridge fire: Located 12 miles northwest of Sisters, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 3,664. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.16.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 108 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 294, 9 crews, 3 helicopters, and 8 engines. The fire is 1% contained. The lead agency listed is USDA Forest Service.

The Hog Ridge fire: Located 12 miles north of Dayville, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 350. The fuel/terrain is grass. It started on 8.19.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 54, 2 crews, 0 helicopters, and 4 engines. The fire is 39% contained. The lead agency listed is USDI Bureau of Land Management.

The Indian Creek fire: Located 9 miles east of Juntura, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 48,930. The fuel/terrain is grass. It started on 8.16.20 and the cause is under investigation. Residences threatened: 137 single residences, Other structures threatened: 1 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 223, 9 crews, 1 helicopter, and 29 engines. The fire is 20% contained. The lead agency listed is USDI Bureau of Land Management.

The Laurel fire: Located 5 miles south of Spray, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 1,280. The fuel/terrain is grass. It started on 8.18.20 and the cause is under investigation. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 147, 4 crews, 2 helicopters, and 2 engines. The fire is 10% contained. The lead agency listed is Oregon Department of Forestry.

The Lions Head fire: Located 20 miles west of Warm Springs, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 836. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.16.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 20 single residences, Other structures threatened: 10 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 110, 5 crews, 0 helicopters, and 3 engines. The fire is 0% contained. The lead agency listed is USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Little Mud Creek fire: Located 55 miles south of Burns, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 424. The fuel/terrain is grass, brush. It started on 8.18.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 38, 2 crews, 0 helicopters, and 5 engines. The fire is 20% contained. The lead agency listed is USDI Bureau of Land Management.

The Meacham Complex fire: Located 10 miles north of La Grande, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 265. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.20.20 and the cause is under investigation. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 142, 7 crews, 0 helicopters, and 5 engines. The fire is 7% contained. The lead agency listed is USDA Forest Service.

The P515 fire: Located 17 miles west of Warm Springs, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 3,615. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.16.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: Yes single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 210, 9 crews, 0 helicopters, and 6 engines. The fire is 10% contained. The lead agency listed is USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Putnam Springs fire: Located 45 miles south of Heppner, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 130. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.20.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 1 single residences, Other structures threatened: 1 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 118, 5 crews, 0 helicopters, and 5 engines. The fire is 0% contained. The lead agency listed is USDA Forest Service.

The Steet Mountain fire: Located 9 miles north of Monument, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 1,076. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.19.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 0, 0 crews, 0 helicopters, and 0 engines. The fire is 45% contained. The lead agency listed is Oregon Department of Forestry.

The Trout Creek fire: Located 22 miles southeast of Fields, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 312. The fuel/terrain is grass, brush. It started on 8.17.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 11, 0 crews, 1 helicopter, and 1 engine. The fire is 100% contained. The lead agency listed is USDI Bureau of Land Management.

White River Wildfire
White River Wildfire | Photo by inciweb.nwcg.gov

The White River fire: Located 20 miles west of Wamic, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 1,335. The fuel/terrain is timber. It started on 8.17.20 and the cause is lightning. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 186, 5 crews, 1 helicopter, and 7 engines. The fire is 0% contained. The lead agency listed is USDA Forest Service.

The Wildcat fire: Located 14 miles west of Burns Junction, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 1,400. The fuel/terrain is grass, brush. It started on 8.17.20 and the cause is under investigation. Residences threatened: 1 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: Total Personnel 23, 0 crews, 1 helicopter, and 3 engines. The fire is 0% contained. The lead agency listed is USDI Bureau of Land Management.

Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear | Image by smokeybear.com

That is a lot of fires to deal with and the wildfire season has a long way to go before it will be over. Remember what Smokey Bear says. Please be very careful out there with campfires and any burning materials. Use them only in designated safe areas.

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

The Heat May Be Gone For Now, But Not The Fires.

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We saw the destructive force of fire in our own back yard with the loss of Civic Stadium. As dry as it has been we were very fortunate that the Eugene Fire Department was able to quickly contain the fire to the stadium. It wouldn’t have taken much for the flames or even burning embers to engulf the homes near the stadium and we would have had a much worse disaster on our hands.

Civic Stadium Fire | Photo by klcc.org/John Stapelton
Civic Stadium Fire | Photo by klcc.org/John Stapelton

Since the drought declarations became so widespread I thought the potential of wildfires would increase drastically. We do have some serious wildfires in Oregon, but thankfully not as many as we could have. Thursday July 9th we had an event unseen for 36 days at the  Eugene Airport. A thunderstorm produced some pretty heavy showers that resulted in measurable rainfall at the Airport. My rain gauge, however, was bone dry. With cooler temperatures falling into the 70s we have to be careful not to let our guard down when dealing with fire of any kind. The forests are dry, but so are the trees and brush in the rural and even in the residential areas in and around Lane County and the whole state of Oregon.

Here is a rundown of the current Oregon wildfires listed by the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) as of the day this column was submitted for publication, Sunday July 12th, and the WCC Fire Location Map. The map shows the current major fires in Washington and Oregon, but for this article we are only concerned with the Oregon wildfires.

Corner Creek Fire | Photo by Oregon Forestry Department wildfiretoday.com
Corner Creek Fire | Photo by Oregon Forestry Department/ wildfiretoday.com

The Corner Creek Fire is located 11 miles south of Dayville, OR and covers 29,407 Acres. It is listed as 60% contained and was determined to be caused by lightning. The NICC reports the resources used as 999 people, 34 crews, 12 helicopters, and 38 engines to fight this fire.

The Dennis Creek Fire is located 15 miles east of Union, OR and covers 157 acres. It is listed as 10% contained and was determined to be caused by lightning. The NICC reports the resources used as 13 people, o crews, 3 helicopters and 3 engines to fight this fire.

The Sheep Rock Fire is located in the Beulah Reservoir/Castel Rock area 45 miles northwest of Vale, OR and covers 800 acres. It is listed as 40% contained and was determined to be caused by lightning. The NICC reports the resources used as 67 people, 1 crew, 0 helicopters, and 10 engines to fight this fire.

Air Tanker
Air Tanker Fighting Ten Mile Canyon Fire | Photo by ktvz.com

The Ten Mile Canyon Fire is located 10 miles west of Antelope, OR and covers 6,707 acres.It was listed as 60% contained and the cause is still under investigation. The NICC reports the resources used as 146 people, 5 crews, 0 helicopters, and 4 engines to fight this fire.

The West Fork Fire is located 10 miles southeast of Dayville, OR and covers 764 acres. It is listed as 10% contained and was determined to be caused by lightning. The NICC reports the resources used as 171 people, 7 crews, 0 helicopters, and 2 engines to fight this fire.

The best way to sum it all up is to say that the fire danger will be with us until the Fall rain season gets under way so be careful out there and remember that if you see smoke or a fire report it immediately. And when you go into the woods remember Smokey Bear’s words “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Yes many are started by lightning, but people also start them whether accidentally or deliberately.

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