Substation Fire Declared Worst Wildfire in the Country

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Jul 192018
 

MORO, OR – Day 3 of the Substation Fire brought winds gusting to 35-40 mph, making it a very tough day for firefighters.

The winds blew out the south end of the fire near Deschutes river canyon further damaging agricultural and wildland areas. Bucket helos and air tankers, along with dozers on the ground, helped to bolster firefighters resolve to push for containment of the blaze.

The Substation Fire is now designated the number one wildland fire in the nation. Additional resources arrived Thursday afternoon. The Pacific Northwest incident management team added greater depth to the operational forces who will assist in managing all aspects of the fire. Meanwhile, 217 firefighters representing 73 firefighting agencies are battling the blaze.

The Oregon National Guard has been activated to assist the Oregon Department of Forestry following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide wildfire emergency declaration on July 18th. Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, equipped with water buckets, are joining in the fight.

Other air tankers known as “Super Scoopers” and “Fire Bosses” that can drop thousands of gallons of water continue to be used, as well as single-engine air tankers that can disperse fire retardant.

Evacuation levels have gone back and forth. Law enforcement and fire officials appreciate the community’s understanding and responsiveness regarding evacuations. Fire officials are working closely with the Wasco and Sherman County Sheriff’s Offices to continually evaluate the risk to life and property. 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 providing 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.

Thou Shall…and Thou Shall Not….

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Jul 192018
 

Prompted by fuel conditions and weather trends, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District is increasing restrictions for lands within their protection boundary.

The District will implement Regulated Closure-Phase 2 as of 12:01 am Friday July 20th. This Closure will modify the timeframe when some high risk activities are prohibited. All other restrictions remain in effect.

The restricted timeframe is now 10:00 am to 8:00 pm for mowing of dried grass, chainsaw use and cutting or grinding metal. Fewer ignitions reduces risk to firefighters and the public.

Activities below are restricted by the Regulated Closure. Additional restrictions and the full proclamation can be accessed at www.Oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx

* Possession of the following firefighting equipment is required while traveling in a motorized vehicle, except on federal and state highways, county roads and driveways:

* one shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher, except all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles which must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor in good working condition.

* Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.

* Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated areas.

* Chainsaw use is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 am and 8:00 pm. Chainsaw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw:

– One axe, one shovel, and one operational 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.

– Mowing dried grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture/harvest of agricultural crops.

– Cutting, grinding & welding of metal is prohibited between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm.

– Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, is prohibited, except on improved roads and except for vehicle use by a landowner and employees of the landowner upon their own land while conducting activities associated with their livelihood.

– The use of fireworks and blasting is prohibited.

* The use of tracer ammunition or exploding targets is illegal within the District during fire season. As of January 1, 2017 sky lanterns and other luminaries are prohibited in Oregon.

* In addition to the public use restrictions the District is also implementing additional Fire Prevention Requirements for Industrial Operations in the Prineville and John Day Units effective July 22nd at 1 am.

* Regulated Closure Areas MH-1 and MH-4 in The Dalles Unit are currently in Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3.

More information on these restrictions and closures, as well as additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

It’s safe to go back into the water…for now…

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Jul 192018
 

Lake Billy Chinook
Now safe to recreate on…for now…but don’t drink the water just to be sure….same for your pets.
Archive photo


Recreational use health advisory lifted July 19 for Lake Billy Chinook
Reduced cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin levels confirmed

The Oregon Health Authority has lifted the recreational use health advisory issued June 22 and expanded on July 11 for Lake Billy Chinook, located about 12 miles west of Madras, in Jefferson County.

Water monitoring has confirmed that the level of cyanotoxins (harmful algae toxins) in the reservoir are below recreational guideline values for human exposure. However, Oregon Health officials advise recreational visitors to always be alert to signs of cyanobacterial (harmful algae) blooms in all Oregon waters, because blooms can develop and disappear throughout the season. Only a fraction of the many lakes and waterways in Oregon are monitored for cyanobacteria by state, federal and local agencies, therefore, you are your own best advocate when it comes to keeping you and your family safe while recreating.

People and especially small children and pets should avoid recreating in areas where the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red in color, if a thick mat of blue-green algae is visible in the water, or bright green cells are suspended in the water column. If you observe these signs in the water you are encouraged to avoid activities that cause you to swallow water or inhale droplets, such as swimming or high-speed water activities.

Substation Fire update – Grass Valley, Wasco, Moro

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Jul 192018
 

10:41am
US 30 closed due to fire activity from Celilo to Biggs.

10:40am
OR 206 closed due to fire activity from junction with I-84 to milepost 5.

10:15am
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. Grass Valley (“Go”), Biggs Junction (“Go”) Highway 30 from Deschutes State Park to Biggs (“Go”).

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.

Cemetery Fire northeast of Prineville – Line around 50% of it…

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Jul 192018
 

Cemetery Fire

9:00 AM
Acres: 1,414
Containment: 50%
Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Information Center: (541) 316-7711. E-mail: CentralORFireInfo@gmail.com

Information Websites:
Twitter: @CentralORFire
Blog Site: http://www.centraloregonfire.org Inciweb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5942/

Weather:
A Red Flag Warning is in effect today from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm for low humidity, dry fuels, and breezy conditions. Temperatures are forecasted for 89-94 degrees with humidity of 5-10%. Winds will become northwest 3 – 7 mph.

Current Fire Information:
Today, firefighters will hold and improve established fire lines to keep the fire within the established perimeter; search for spots of heat and mop-up those areas; and patrol.

Air Operations:
A temporary flight restriction has been placed over the fire area to allow for safe aerial operations. Aerial assets are available if needed.

General Updates:
Significant progress was made by firefighters to create a cold, black line between the fire and the fireline yesterday. There was no movement of the fire perimeter. The fire continues to smoke and creep around in the islands of unburned fuels within the fire perimeter. An infrared flight last night showed the majority of heat remaining in the timbered areas and cooled in the grasslands. Values at Risk include grazing and private lands, Greater Sage Grouse habitat, and timber.

Firefighters still battling 50,000 acre lightning caused fire in Sherman and Wasco Counties

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Jul 182018
 

Substation Fire
Cameron McCoy photo


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.

Governor Brown activates Oregon National Guard to help firefighters….

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Jul 182018
 

Torching trees
Inciweb photo

Oregon National Guard ordered to support crews battling wildfires across the state

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today declared a statewide wildfire emergency, which activates Operation Plan Smokey to make Oregon National Guard (ONG) troops and resources available to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). At the request of ODF, aviation assets will be made available to wildfire crews in Oregon. ONG ground troops have not yet been requested but are now available if wildfire conditions worsen.

“The wildfire season has escalated in Oregon much earlier than normal, and crews are working around the clock to keep homes and resources safe,” Governor Kate Brown said. “Given drought conditions and hotter than usual temperatures, Oregonians should be prepared for an intense wildfire season this year. I’m committed to making state resources available to ensure crews have the resources they need, and I also urge the public to be mindful of fire restrictions and use caution this summer to help keep Oregon green.”

Latest wildfire evacuation levels….Sherman County evacuations

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Jul 182018
 

3:35pm
Moro residents have been elevated to level 3 which means GO! DANGER! LEAVE! A shelter has been established at The Dalles Middle School. Grass Valley has already been ordered evacuated Level 3.

Wasco has been elevated to Level 2 – BE READY TO LEAVE WITH SHORT NOTICE.

There is a Red Cross Shelter at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E 12th in The Dalles.

Several buildings that look like barns and homes have burned near The Dalles. Video shows conditions that are quite dangerous as winds whip the flames high in the air.

Due to the #SubstationFire the Lower Deschutes River is now closed to launches, takeouts, camping & all other access from Macks Canyon south to Sherars Falls until further notice. Boaters cannot put-in at this time for Segment 3 or 4 floats. Sherman County is evacuating the area.