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ODF Update On Douglas Complex Fires
The aggressive initial attack on new lightning-fires has been underway and with the exception of the Grouse Mountain Fire, fire starts on ODF-protected forest lands were suppressed at less than 10 acres and are in mop-up. in northeast Oregon there were three starts on ODF protected forest lands. There were 19 new fire starts in ODF’s Southwest Oregon district – 18 in Jackson County – resulting from Wednesday’s lightning storms, mostly in the Cascades with some in the Siskiyou Mountains. Other fire starts in other parts of southwest Oregon were also responded to by the Incident Management Teams managing the large fires in that area.
The Grouse Mountain Fire started on Wednesday afternoon, August 7, and is currently burning three miles north of John Day, east of Highway 395, on forest lands protected by ODF, although it is within 1/2 mile of the Malheur National Forest – spreading north and east. At this time, the fire is not threatening John Day. The fire is estimated to be approximately 2,000 acres and is 15 percent contained, burning primarily in rugged terrain with juniper, grass, and brush. Active fire spotting, torching, and fire runs have been observed and continue, with large piles of decked juniper in the area adding to the intensity of the fire. Fire crews worked throughout the night to begin establishing containment fire lines. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
During the briefing for the incoming incident management team the following items were noted: 1) drift smoke from fire and air attack is highly visible from John Day; 2) there is still potential for evacuation of some scattered dwellings; 3) there are concerns about cattle (1000+) on federal allotments north and east of the fire; and, 4) flame heights are running 4-8 feet on this fire, but 30-50 feet when pushed by the wind. Resources at risk include: structures, timber, grass, fences, cattle, and big game habitat.
The 42,651-acre, lightning-caused Douglas Complex fires are burning approximately seven miles north of Glendale in Douglas and Josephine counties on a mix of BLM and private forest lands protected by the Douglas Forest Protective Association, and are now 28 percent contained. The Douglas Complex remains the highest fire priority nationally for resources, and there are currently 3,148 personnel assigned. The complex primarily consists of the Rabbit Mountain (21,598 acres), Dad’s Creek (20,794 acres), and Farmer’s (245 acres) fires. Overall the primary focus is to strengthen control lines on the Rabbit Mountain and Dad’s Creek fires.