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Aug-19-2021 14:41printcomments

Oregon's Middle Fork Complex Fire Update

Level 1 and 3 evacuation notices have been issued by Lane County.

Oregon wildfire

(SALEM, Ore.) - 9 miles north of Oakridge, there are 12 fires burning, known as the Middle Fork Complex fires.

550 fire Personnel are working to stop the fires which have reached 13,611 acres. Just 9% of the perimeter is contained at this time.

Authorities say the limited resources available to the Middle Fork Complex are being utilized where they will be most effective in providing for life-safety and protection of communities; shifting to priority areas as needed.

    Kwis Fire: The remaining crews and equipment on Kwis continue to mop-up and complete alternate fire lines. Hazard trees that could fall and compromise fire lines by carrying fire into unburned areas are being removed.

    Crews are expecting similar fire behavior to what occurred yesterday with unburned islands of vegetation naturally consuming well within the fire perimeter and producing smoke, but with no increase to the size of the fire perimeter.

    Please continue to respect the closure area as there are still hazards in the area, as well as fire personnel and equipment.
    Gales and Ninemile Fires: The strategy for the Gales and Ninemile fires involves connecting roads and ridgetops to serve as containment line. For those containment lines to be effective, depth needs to be added. This is accomplished by burning ground vegetation between the edge of the fire line and the advancing fire.

    Burnout operations to strengthen the fire line down into the Portland Creek drainage have progressed well and firefighters, supported with aviation assets, continue to work along the edge to ensure the fire stays within containment lines. North of the fire, crews and equipment are working along the 1832 road to improve it for use as a fire line.

    North of Fall Creek, there is a small area where fire crossed the road on Tuesday and firefighters are working to tie that back into the 1832 road.

    While the initial priority for Gales and Ninemile Fires is to limit western and northward growth to protect communities and homes, firefighters are also working along road systems south and east of the fire while scouting for opportunities to connect roads via ridgetops or other natural features.

Weather & Fire Behavior: Today’s humidity is expected to increase slightly from yesterday. Temperatures are expected to be similar to previous days. Winds will primarily be northwest with gusts reaching 15 miles per hour. The forecast shows a cool front arriving in the evening with the possibility of spotty showers.

These showers are not expected to produce enough moisture to penetrate the canopy or affect fire activity.

When fire gets established in drainages, large diameter vegetation holds heat until the finer fuels dry in the afternoon and terrain driven winds push fire.

Bubble Creek, Portland Creek and Tiller Creek are all holding quite a bit of heat and Delp and Saturn Creeks are expected to get wind alignment at some point.

Aviation support will be dropping water as needed to slow fire spread in these drainages.

Management of the Knoll, Packard, Windfall, Symbol Rock, Devi's Canyon, Larison Cove, Way, Warble, and Journey Fires, has been transferred back to the Willamette National Forest.

Evacuations: Level 1 and 3 evacuation notices have been issued by Lane County. For current evacuation information and an interactive map of evacuation areas, visit: www.lanecounty.org.

Closures: Some National Forest System lands near the Middle Fork Complex are temporarily closed to provide for public safety. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/willamette.

FIRE INFORMATION: (541) 625-0849

InciWeb: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7745/ Facebook: @MiddleForkComplex

Distances between fires and communities can be measured at: https://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/information/firemap.aspx

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.