DECEPTION COMPLEX FIRE INFORMATION UPDATE
Fire Information Line: 541.782.5545
Fire Information Line: 541.782.5545
Thursday, September 4, 2014
News & Highlights for the Deception Complex Fire Information Line: 541.782.5545
● A red flag warning is in effect today through Saturday due to a triple threat of dry relative humidity, gusty easterly winds, and unstable atmosphere conditions (Haines Index 6). Increased fire activity and active fire behavior is expected.
● A convective column build up is possible this afternoon through early evening as the fire actively burns and firefighters continue with burn out operations. Fire activity will be active and visible at night from nearby communities.
● Yesterday and during the last two night shifts, firefighters have successfully completed burnout on the northeast and eastern containment lines.
● Today, aerial ignition may utilize “ping pong” devices which ignite upon hitting the ground. The eastern flank of the fire is located closest to structures and Highway 58, and therefore, is the priority area for strengthening containment lines.
· Topographic features and geographic locations have been pre-determined for the safe use of fire retardant drops in the effort to avoid live streams and resource values at risk.
● Additional smoke will be generated as firefighters generate more active fire behavior and progress with burnout operations. An air quality monitoring station has been installed on the roof of the Oakridge High School to determine the level of allowable outdoor activity for students as smoke levels increase.
● Once the inversion over Oakridge and Westfir breaks this morning, mixing air may cause smoke to impact Oakridge and vicinity. As east winds develop, however, air quality is expected to improve as smoke is pushed toward the southwest.
● Information from smoke monitors in the Oakridge area is incorporated in the daily Deception Complex smoke forecast which is posted on the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency website at http://www.lrapa.org or http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.
● Motorists traveling Highway 58 are advised to proceed with caution near the community of Oakridge as students and teachers return to school this week amidst continuing heavy fire-related traffic.
● Deception Creek Mobile Home Park, Middle Fork Ranger Station and houses along La Duke Road remain under a Level 1 evacuation notice.
Deception Complex Smoke Monitoring Discussion
As fire activity increases due to drier weather and burnout operations, a similar pattern of smoke intrusions as experienced last week may occur. Smoke may initially impact the communities of Oakridge and Westfir, and as smoke builds and pools at night, may eventually move northwest down the HWY 58 corridor, and possibly deeper into the WIllamette Valley. Established smoke monitoring stations will continue to measure particulate matter; associated public notices will be issued by the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency. Later today, however, winds from the east should push the majority of smoke to the southwest, away from the Oakridge/Westfir area.
Deception Complex Operations Summary:
Last night, additional engines and crews were added to the structural protection group to patrol, monitor, and take suppression actions as needed along the north and northeast flanks of the fire. Firefighters also continued with burnout operations during last night’s shift along the eastern flank of the fire, completing another .5 mile of burnout parallel to the fire line.
Today, crews will continue to strengthen fire lines along the eastern flank of the fire, nearest to homes and Highway 58, by continuing to complete an approximate 2-mile section of line of burnout utilizing a road, a ridge line and a tree plantation to check the fire. The objective is to consume ground fuels adjacent to constructed fire lines while maintaining the fire to a low level of intensity. Helicopter water bucket drops are also being directed by crews on the ground in order to hold the fire within the control line.
Lines are being bolstered on the N/NE flank as crews continue to hold and mop up the direct hand line and dozer line on the eastern side of the ridge-top above La Duke Road. Engines and heavy equipment will continue work along Forest Roads 5840, 5847, and 5850 to improve the fire break and further establish a contingency line. As prep work is completed, heavy equipment is being demobilized.
Staley Fire: Firefighters are finishing rehabilitation, monitoring fire activity, and continuing to operate the sprinkler system as the fire backs toward the established containment line. Crews continue to prepare alternative control lines along the 335 and 300 Roads. Approximately 20% of the perimeter is “open” or not firelined. As the fire’s edge advances, crews have the opportunity to go direct with hand line construction today.
Pool Fire: This fire is being patrolled aerially, and responsibility for the fire has been returned to the Middle Fork Ranger District at 6:00 am today.
Davey Fire: Crews are continuing with rehab, preparing the fire for return to the Middle Fork District for patrolling. Rehab of exterior dozer lines near Davey Creek will also begin today.
Air Operations Summary
Currently, four heavy helicopters, a medium heli-torch helicopter, three light helicopters and an air attack platform are assigned to the Deception Complex. A heavy Sky Crane Helicopter has been ordered and is expected to arrive today.
● A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the Deception Fires 272, 274 and 278; a military training Route (R346) has been closed due to the TFR.
● Oakridge Airport is closed to civilian air traffic; currently serving as the helibase for the Deception Complex.
Willamette National Forest Area & Trail Closures:
● There are two closures on the Willamette NF association with the Deception Complex. The Deception Fire closure is an area, road and trail closure that currently includes the Lawler and Deception Trails and the Patterson Mountain Road; the Staley Fire closure includes an area and road closure.
Umpqua National Forest Closure:
● There is an area, road and trail closure southwest of the Deception Complex. Forest Road 17 remains open to Spirit Falls.
Check Inciweb for full closure information, including maps: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4093/ or visit the Willamette National Forest at http://www.fs.usda.gov/willamette or the Umpqua National Forest http://www.fs.usda.gov/umpqua.
Deception Complex: Started: August 12, 2014 Cause: Lightning Location: Two miles west of Oakridge, Oregon.
SAFETY CONCERNS: Driving hazards in town are associated with school being in session and on the forest roads with heavy traffic on narrow roads; wildlife in the area, smoke and poor visibility, depending on fire and burnout activity.
RESOURCE CONCERNS: Threatened and endangered species, including northern spotted owls and bull trout; timber resources, impacts to recreation opportunities, threatened communities of Oakridge and Westfir, municipal watershed of Westfir, Deception Creek watershed above the mobile home park.
WEATHER: A critical fire weather pattern is in effect today. Major weather changes are occurring bringing a very dry air mass over the fire area with a strong low pressure system developing west of the Cascades. The surface low supports gusty east winds across the Deception Complex intensifying already dry conditions. Critical conditions are expected to remain through Saturday causing gusty easterly winds, atmospheric instability (Haines 5-6), and very low humidities. A Red flag warning is in effect today through Saturday evening.
Today, temperatures will range from low 70s to low 80s today with humidity ranging from 11-24% during the day and 21-44% at night. Valley winds are forecast to be from the E/NE 8-10mph with gusts to 18mph in NE-SW oriented valleys. Ridgetop winds are expected to be from the E/NE 8-10 mph with gusts to 18 mph.
Today, temperatures will range from high 60s to low 80s over the fire area with humidity ranging from 14-24% during the day and 24-44% at night. Haines Index of 6 is forecast for today with very poor humidity recoveries overnight.
On Friday, temperatures are expected to be in the mid-70s to mid-80s over the fire area with humidity ranging 8-14% during the day and 15-33% at night. Haines index of 6 is expected for Friday.
Saturday, temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-70s to high 80s with humidity ranging from 8-18% during the day and 19-35% at night. Haines Index of 5 is forecast for Saturday.
TODAY’S EXPECTED FIRE BEHAVIOR: Fire behavior will be more active with moderate surface spread and isolated and group tree torching with an occasional upslope, short duration rapid crown run. A convective column build up is possible in the afternoon through early evening. Steep slopes will continue the threat of “rollouts”. There is potential for ignition of lichens in the upper canopies and some associated long distance spotting.
COOPERATING AGENCIES & PARTNERS: Willamette National Forest, Oregon Department of Forestry, Umpqua National Forest, Lane County, Oakridge/Hazeldell Fire Department, Lowell Rural Fire Protection District, Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Police, Bureau of Reclamation, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency.