A small but powerful storm cell passed over the Leaburg and Vida areas Thursday, peppering the forest with lightning and igniting multiple new wildland fires. Crews from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry responded and were able to quickly contain two of the new starts. A third start, the Goat Point Fire, has already burned five acres and is running free, burning in steep inaccessible terrain.
Due to the high volume fire starts and relative scarcity of resources, the ODF’s South Cascade District is managing the three new fires and the existing McGowan Powerline 2 Fire, as a complex–which will improve access to resources and accountability.
“It’s times like these that the complete and coordinated system really shines,” said Chris Cline, ODF’s South Cascade District Forester. “When these lighting busts come through it is crucial that we act fast and that means relying on our neighbors and cooperators for help. Firefighters from ODF’s South Cascade have been working side by side with crews from ODF Western Lane, Coos and Douglas Forest Protective Associations, the Willamette National Forest, and multiple private landowners,” Cline noted.
Current resources dedicated to battling the small complex include:
* 2 10-person hand crews
* 5 engines
* 5 fallers
* 1 medium helicopter
* 2 tenders
* A total of about 35 people are currently assigned to the fires.
Weather forecasters predict cool moist marine air will move into the area by Sunday which may provide more favorable conditions for fire suppression.
Fifteen large fires are currently burning in Oregon. The latest series of lightning strikes has again raised the importance of fire prevention. Fire managers are urging the public to be diligent and vigilant with anything that may emit a spark. Fire season is in effect and fire managers have raised the fire danger level to high. Normal summer weather has dried forests, brush, and grasses. The ongoing heat poses a significant fire weather threat and any fire start could spread rapidly.
Cline says, “When it’s this hot and dry, everyone needs to think twice before using anything that might emit a spark.”
Remember: One less spark equals one less wildfire