Oregon State Fire Marshal
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News Releases
Garner Complex Fire Update - 07/22/18

Last night crews continued to tighten and secure control lines. They continue to evaluate where to place containment lines around the Grave Creek and Taylor Creek fires.

The Grave fire continued to spread towards the Pleasant Creek Rd. The State Fire Marshall’s Team was in place working to triage and surface prep around houses to support the wildland firefighters.

Overnight the Taylor Fire continued to spread as crews work to tighten direct fire-lines when possible and work on contingency lines. The fire has spread on the south side onto Forest Service ground. Overnight the State Fire Marshall’s had three Task Forces in place working to assess and surface prep near homes.

The three Spencer Fires, King Mountain Fire, and Swamp Fire have been lined, plumbed and are in mop-up. The Pleasant Fire and Ditch Cr. Fire are still having control lines completed by hand and equipment.

Today there will be 30 aircraft working on the fires including three airtankers. The aircraft time follows strict federal aviation laws regarding the amount they can fly everyday .

Equipment either for firecamp such as tables and chairs or fireline equipment nec-essary for fighting fires on order from the Incident Management Team is in short supply due to all of the fires in the region. We continue to place orders with Red-mond Cache, who have to prioritize for all regional fires to fill orders.

DEFINITIONS: Control lines: A term used for all constructed or natural fire barriers used to control a fire. Containment: When firefighters or other resources stop the forward progress of a fire with secured control lines.

CURRENT EVACUATION ORDERS: Level 2 Limpy Cr. Rd, Level 1 for Riverbank Rd., Dutcher Creek Rd. and all secondary roads and streets from Limpy Cr to Pickett Cr. Pleasant Creek Rd: Levels 2 and 3. Grave Cr. Rd is Level 3 north of intersection with Ditch Cr. Rd. Pickett Rd and all cross roads are Level 2 and West Picket Rd. is Level 3. A Red Cross Shelter is set up at the Grants Pass High School at 830 NE 9th Street in Grants Pass. 541-474-5710.

 Additional resources may be accessed at:

Substation Fire Update - 07/22/18

MORO, OR

More accurate mapping shows that the Substation Fire covered 79,121 acres. Containment reached 82% by Saturday evening. Fire behavior was minimal, with some smoldering in hotspots in Deschutes River corridor and Eight-Mile Canyon. The Oregon State Fire Marshall Red Team is demobilizing today.

The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Sherman County Sheriff's Office have reduced the evacuation levels for all areas to Level 1. More information about the Ready, Set, Go preparation program can be found at http://www.wildlandfirersg.org

Crews will continue their work to reinforce and overhaul containment lines as they ensure areas are cool to the touch for a distance of 150 feet from the fire edge or any structures. Within the perimeter of the fire, and especially in the burned area in the Deschutes River Canyon, smoke in the interior of the burn may be present and visible for multiple days.  

Access to the Deschutes River is open.  However, boaters should use caution and may have to pull off in areas that have recently burned if they plan to camp between Macks Canyon and Heritage Landing. Black areas may still have hot spots, dangerous stump holes or rolling material. Use caution when setting up camp. Avoid standing trees and snags in recently burned areas that may be weakened by the fire and are at risk of falling.  

It is extremely dry across the region – just one spark can start a major fire.  Avoid parking in dry grass, discard cigarette butts in closed containers and be aware of local restrictions on campfires or fire use. Sparks from vehicles and other mechanical and motorized equipment (dragging chains and tie-downs, failed bearings, flat tires, catalytic converter failure, worn brake pads, hot exhaust systems) are a leading cause of human-caused wildfires.

Percent contained: 82%        Total personnel: 263 firefighters                 Fire size: 79,121 acres

 

For additional information:

    http://www.centraloregonfire.org/; https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/5963/

    www.facebook.com/substationfire2018

 

Garner Complex Declared a Conflagration - 07/21/18

Governor Kate Brown has declared the Garner Complex Fire conflagration.  The Garner Complex Fire is composed of several fires in Jackson and Josephine County and has burned 6,382 acres and is 8% contained. The declaration cleared the way for the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The Office of State Marshal’s Blue Incident Management Team, four structural task forces from Rogue Valley, Klamath, Lane, and Linn counties will arrive morning and began working to protect structures.  Two more structural task forces will be mobilized this evening.

 Additional resources may be accessed at:

Substation Fire Community Meeting Today at 3:00 - 07/21/18

Community Meeting Today at 3pm At the Grass Valley Pavilion in Grass Valley, OR Meeting will be live-streamed, recorded and available to view anytime:  www.facebook.com/substationfire2018

 

MORO, OR – July 21, 2018 --  Progress on containment of the Substation Fire reached 44% by Friday evening. Now 80,763 acres, fire behavior was reduced to creeping and smoldering. Winds were not as strong throughout the day, although gusts of 20-25mph kept firefighters alert for potential hotspots.

Crews are now actively engaged with suppression repair activities and are continuing with evaluation of fire impacts and cataloging of any damaged structures and outbuildings. Mop-up and patrol with reinforcement of containment lines will continue. 

The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Sherman County Sheriff's Office have reduced the evacuation levels for all level 3 areas to level 2. This includes areas along the Deschutes River, opening the launch and take-out points in Segments 3 & 4 to use. This will allow jet boat users to access the river via Heritage Landing. Although the area will be open to day and overnight use, boaters should use caution as the Substation Fire remains uncontained and work on the fire will continue for the near future. Avoid standing trees and snags in recently burned areas that may be weakened by the fire and are at risk of falling. Even small snags can cause serious injuries.

All residents and persons planning to travel to the area should check for the latest information regarding possible closures of roads and other areas (www.tripcheck.com).

Across the region, fuels are extremely dry. Avoid parking in dry grass, discard cigarette butts in closed containers and be aware of local restrictions on campfires or fire use.

Percent contained: 44% Total personnel: 307 firefighters Fire size: 80,763 acres

 

Reduced Evacuations, Some Containment Indicate Progress on Substation Fire - 07/20/18

MORO, OR – July 20, 2018 – Although gusty winds and uphill fire runs fanned the Substation Fire to 70,421 acres, crews made progress on Thursday, reaching 15% containment by the end of the day. Hand crews, air resources and heavy equipment continued working to mitigate the fire’s spread and reinforce containment lines, while engines and structural firefighters implemented point protection tactics to protect structures.

Today, crews will continue to focus on minimizing risk to the community and protecting agricultural resources. Some crews will shift from firefighting to evaluation and assessment of fire damage to structures. It is anticipated that the total numbers of structure damage and loss will increase due to these efforts.

“Feet and engines are on the ground, at the perimeter and to reach hot spots,” said Alex Haven, operations deputy chief for the Substation Fire. Winds have died down somewhat but hot, dry conditions, and low humidity are still contributing factors to the fire, he said, noting that the fire continues to be an evolving incident.

Friday morning, the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office reduced evacuation levels in Moro, Grass Valley and Kent to Level 2 (“Be Set”). Areas west of these communities continue to be at Level 3 (“Go”).  Incident Command is working the local sheriff’s offices and are looking for every opportunity to further reduce evacuations as well as restore recreational opportunities in the area. Residents and persons planning to travel to the area should check for latest information regarding possible road closures (TripCheck.com) and other areas, including Deschutes River access.

With the addition of the Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team, which arrived Thursday afternoon, resources have increased to nearly 300 people.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect for the airspace above the fire. This includes a prohibition on personal drones or radio-controlled aircraft that can interfere with firefighting operations.

To keep abreast of updated information, teams on the Substation Fire are conducting live morning briefings on Facebook (facebook.com/substationfire2018).

The Substation Fire command post and fire crews extend a heartfelt thanks to community members and local agencies who have been so supportive and for working side-by-side with fire crews.

 

Substation Fire Now Number One Fire in the Nation; Additional Resources Added - 07/19/18

MORO, OR –  Day 3 of the Substation Fire brought high winds, with gusts up to 35-40 mph, making it a challenging day for firefighters.

The winds gave way to growth at the south end of the fire, near Deschutes river canyon, impacting both agricultural and wildland areas. Significant air assets continue to be used throughout the incident, in addition to dozers that helped firefighters make progress towards containment.

The Substation Fire is now considered the number one fire in the nation. Additional resources arrived Thursday afternoon in the form of a Pacific Northwest incident management team. These 60 team members add greater depth to the operational forces currently employed on the fire and will assist in managing all aspects of the fire. The additional resources complement the 217 firefighters, who represent 73 fire agencies across the state, currently assigned to the fire.

The Oregon National Guard has been activated to assist the Oregon Department of Forestry with wildfire suppression efforts following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide wildfire emergency declaration on July 18, 2018. These assets include two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters equipped with Bambi water buckets.

Other air tankers known as “Super Scoopers” and “Fire Bosses” that can drop hundreds and thousands of gallons of water continue to be used, as well as single-engine air tankers that can disperse fire retardant. Aircraft in this fuel type are very useful; they can provide heavy drops on canyon ridges and precision attacks in steeper terrain.

Evacuation levels have been very fluid. Law enforcement and fire officials appreciate the community’s understanding and responsiveness regarding evacuations. Fire officials are working closely with the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and Sherman County Sheriff’s Office to continually evaluate the risk to communities. Level 3 (“Go”) evacuations continue to be in place for Moro and Grass Valley. The communities of Wasco and Kent remain under Level 2 evacuation. Area residents are urged to heed local emergency notifications as well as check the local sheriff’s office Facebook page and the Substation Fire Facebook page (www.facebook.com/substationfire2018) for updates.

Segments 3 and 4 of the lower Deschutes River remain closed.

The American Red Cross shelter at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St remains available to residents impacted by the fire. In addition to sleeping accommodations, the shelter is a resource for meals, community updates, and a cool place to get out of the heat and smokey conditions.

Locally, smoke is in the moderate to unhealthy range. Sensitive groups, such as those with asthma, chronic respiratory disease or cardio vascular disease, are encouraged to avoid smoke exposure, reduce time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous activity during smoky conditions.

 

Substation Fire Evacuations Grow; Fire Crews Battle Winds - 07/18/18

Governor declares state of emergency

Moro, OR – July 18, 2018 – The Substation Fire started southeast of The Dalles on Tuesday afternoon and moved further east today. Firefighters saw heightened activity on the north and the south end of the fire. More than 50,000 acres in Sherman and Wasco Counties are affected.

Level 3 evacuations (“Go”) increased to include Moro; level 2 evacuations (“Be Ready”) grew to include the community of Wasco, south to the community of Kent and several miles east. More than 900 homes are in the Level 2 and level 3 areas.  A Red Cross shelter open at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St in The Dalles.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing threat of wildfire and increasing wildfire activity. The declaration makes available resources from around the state, and from outside of Oregon if necessary.

As of Wednesday afternoon 178 firefighters from 32 agencies across Oregon are focused on protecting structures in the line of the fire.  Additional resources continue to arrive from around the state.

A wide variety of flying air tankers have been deployed to fight the Substation Fire. These include:

  • Two 750-gallon capacity “Fire Bosses”
  • Two ”Super Scooper” air tankers, capable of which are “scooping” 12,000 gallons of water from the Columbia River to drop on the fire
  • A heavy air tanker which drops retardant on the fire
  • Two Type-2 helicopters

A VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker), which can carry 12,000 gallons of water, was also deployed.

“I saw neighbors helping neighbors and firefighters going the extra mile to bring this fire under control,” said Public Information Officer Damon Simmons. “While these fires are awful, they show the true spirit of the local residents and Oregonians in general.”

Hwy 97 has been closed intermittently. Travelers are advised to check ODOT TripCheck for up-to-date information.

The Wasco Co. Sheriff’s Office confirmed one civilian fatality as a result of exposure to the fire.

A hotline for Substation Fire information has been established: 503-597-8076. Additional information is available at www.faceook.com/Substation2018.

 

 

 

Substation Fire declared a conflgration - 07/18/18

Governor Kate Brown has declared the Substation Fire, burning near The Dalles, a conflagration. The declaration cleared the way for the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The Office of State Marshal’s Red Incident Management Team, four structural task forces, and two strike teams from Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Central Oregon, Yamhill, and Marion counties arrived early this morning and began working to protect structures.

A Level 3 evacuation was put in place for Eight Mile Road at Emerson Loop Road to Emerson Loop Road and Company Hollow Road, as well as all of Wrentham Market Road and Mason Road.

The following Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuations for Sherman County are as follows:

South of Gordon Ridge Rd from the Deschutes River, east to Hwy 97 and south to King Lane, South along Sayers Rd to Payne Loop is a Level 3. The Towns of Grass Valley and Moro are Level 2.

North of Gordon Ridge Rd to Interstate 84 and HWY 206, east to Hwy 97 and south along Henrichs, Doumand and Lone Rock Rd, and south to Rutledge Lane, as well as the area further south between Finnegan Rd to the Deschutes River is a Level 2. 

The area east of HWY 97 to Hwy 206, and south to Fairview Rd is a Level 1.

Deschutes River from Sheers Bridge to the mouth and Deschutes Park are at Level 3.

Oregon’s conflagration may be invoked only by the Governor and allows the State Fire Marshal to dispatch structural firefighters and equipment.  

More information on evacuations is available at Sherman and Wasco County Sheriffs Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Sherman-County-Sheriffs-Office-643904422378873/

https://www.facebook.com/WascoCountySheriff/?hc_ref=ARTVrl7XZjg4B1Ea1eVPFIU_hja5N-OGHnbggMctf6KJNRQmvcGcvxVoCJjnXrY5ZWk&fref=nf

 Additional resources may be accessed at:

State fire marshal urges vigilance and extreme care against wildfires - 07/12/18

Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is encouraging Oregonians to use extreme caution as intense heat and dry thunderstorms are predicted for areas around the state for the next few days. 

If your summer plans include camping, Chief Walker reminds you to check for any campfire restrictions in the area you will be visiting, as campfires may be prohibited outside maintained campgrounds with fire pits. Build your campfire only where authorized and never leave your campfire unattended. When putting out your campfire be sure you drown the coals with water, stir with a shovel and drown again until it is cool to the touch.

Fire season requires residents to be at a heightened awareness for the dangers of wildfire. Be prepared to act to keep you, your family, and pets safe.  Follow these Ready, Set Go! tips:

  • Be Ready - Plan escape routes, and make sure all the residents within the home know the plan of action.  Be ready to evacuate any pets as well as family members.
  • Get Set – Pack your emergency items such as a battery powered radio, spare batteries, emergency contact numbers, and ample drinking water. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire in your area from local media, your local fire department and public safety.
  • Go! – If a fire impacts your community and you are asked to leave, follow your personal wildland fire action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to help prevent human-caused wildfires,” said Chief Walker. “Please be aware of weather conditions and fire restrictions in your area.”  

Residents are strongly encouraged to contact their local fire protection agencies for additional burning information and regulations.

For more information, visit the websites for OSFM Wildland Urban Interface, Keep Oregon Green, or Oregon Department of Forestry

Recent fires heighten fireworks warning - 07/03/18

Recent wildfires throughout Oregon have caused State Fire Marshal Jim Walker to reissue safety warnings for fireworks usage. 

“Although the causes of many of these recent wildfires are still being determined,” says State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “it serves as a stark warning of the extremely dry conditions throughout the state and the risk that just one spark may create.”

Oregon law prohibits possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground, without a permit issued by the OSFM. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman Candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon, without a permit.

There were 318 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon during 2017, resulting in more than $861,000 in property damage. Over the past five years, from 2013 through 2017, there were 1,355 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon resulting in one death, 34 injuries, and more than $3 million in property damage.

“All Oregonians share the responsibility to use only consumer legal fireworks and use them extremely carefully during these highly volatile conditions,” adds Walker. “And we encourage you to be aware and considerate of neighbors and their pets, before deciding on when and where you choose to light fireworks.”

The OSFM encourages everyone to use the four B’s of safe fireworks use:

  • Be Prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.
  • Be Safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks.
  • Be Responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Wait 15 to 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal.
  • Be Aware: use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.

The four B’s of fireworks safety brochure is available here:

http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/docs/Licensing_permits/fireworks/4BesFireworks.pdf.

Tips in Spanish are also available at: http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/docs/Licensing_permits/fireworks/Fireworks_4Bs_Spanish.pdf.

Officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor which could result in a fine of up to $2,500 per violation and a civil penalty of up to $500. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damage. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.

Graham Fire June 24, 2018 8:30 A.M. Update - 06/24/18

 As fire suppression tactics have increased containment and lowered the risk to structures, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s resources will be released around noon today.  The Oregon Department of Forestry team will remain with local resources to continue mopping up and monitoring any remaining hot spots. 

Resources on the fire today are: 7 Hand crews, 6 Helicopters, 33 Engines, 1 Dozer, 8 Water tenders and 395 personnel.  The estimated containment is 60% and 2,143 acres.  

Today’s warmer temperatures and lower relative humidity may cause the fire to show more activity.  Fire fighters are seeing juniper trees torch in the interior of fire.  Air attack resources are available today to drop water on those trees if needed.

Lake Chinook Chief Don Colfels said, “Given the intensity of the fire and the strong winds driving it east, the fire had potential to leave dozens of families without a home today. Thanks to the work of our local crews, the support of other Central Oregon Agencies and state support from ODF and OSFM we were able to bring this fire to the more manageable state it is today. Additionally, because this community has worked hard to create defensible spaces many homes have been completely burned around and left intact”.

A public meeting is planned for Sunday, June 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the Chinook Store, 8241 SW Jordan Road in Culver. Residents are invited to hear from local officials to learn more about the fire and what they can do to protect their homes and lands in the future. 

Public information contact is Ashley Lertora; 503-338-8442.

Graham Fire Daily Update - 06/23/18

The Oregon Department of Forestry Type 1 Team and Oregon State Fire Marshall Green Team took unified command of the fire on Friday at 6 pm. Fire crews have made good progress battling the Graham Fire. The fire is estimated at approximately 2,055 acres and is burning in brush, timber and grass south of the Metolius River arm of Lake Billy Chinook near Culver, Oregon. Fire crews completed a burnout operation yesterday and will began mop up operations on Saturday. Today’s firefighting resources include: 7 hand crews, 26 Engines, 2 dozers, 4 water tenders, approximately 375 personnel and containment is estimated at 50%. Aircraft resources assigned to this fire are available to all fires in the area as needed.

Crews have set up fire camp at the Sisters Rodeo Grounds. Please use caution on Highway 20 near the rodeo grounds due to the additional fire traffic in the area.

The fire burned two residential structures and five out buildings, but many more were saved by local firefighting resources.

Further information regarding structure losses is not available at this time.

Due to ongoing fire danger Level 3 evacuations remain in effect for the Three Rivers subdivision. A staffed road block has been established near the Chinook Village Store restricting access to all except emergency personnel and credentialed media. For further information regarding evacuations, please refer to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Facebook site or call Jefferson County Sheriff at 541-475-6520.

Interested media are to report to the Lake Chinook Fire Station at 11700 Graham Rd where a Public Information Officer will be available10:30am—7:00pm.

There are three structure task forces from Clackamas, Marion, Washington, Lane and Multnomah counties and have been mobilized under the Conflagration Act and will provide 24-hour structure protection threatened by the fire. The fire is burning on private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry and Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue, as well as Bureau of Land Management ownership. The cause of the fire is attributed to the lightning storm that passed through the area last Wednesday.

Updated information for the Graham Fire is available on InciWeb https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5855/
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