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Sep-06-2014 19:36printcomments

Oregon's Deception Complex Fire Continues with Spotting Distance Less than a Half Mile

The Deception Complex Fire is located two miles west of Oakridge, Oregon, encompassing 2,747 acres, with 55% contained, and 1,068 total personnel fighting the fire.

Deception Complex fire
Firefighters continue to take on the Deception Complex fire, near Oakridge, Oregon. Photo ODF

(SALEM, Ore.) - Friday evening’s glow seen from Oakridge was the product of successful burnout operations on the eastern perimeter of the fire line.

A critical fire weather pattern continues today with south/southeast winds approximately 7-12 mph with gusts up to 27 mph. Relative humidity between 16-20% is expected today. The nightly inversion is expected to dissipate at 1030 today.

There were no spots outside of the established fire lines of the Deception Complex, and the intensity of the burn was kept to a low or moderate level.

The burnout operation on Friday proceeded north along 5850 Road, and east and west of the junction of the 423 Road. The dual purpose for burning the fuel in this area is to 1) create a wide barrier of burned fuels between the remaining wildfire in Deception Creek and the south and eastern fire flanks closest to homes and private property in the Oakridge/Westfir area; and 2) to attempt to slowly and carefully introduce fire at a rate that produces a low or moderate rate of combustion.

The fire continues to be active on the south end and along Deception Butte.

Crews, engines, and heavy equipment will continue work along most of the perimeter of the fire line to hold and improve the fire break and further establish a wide contingency line.

Interior hot spots were detected near Deception Creek and water bucket drops were used to cool the area.

Six heavy helicopters, a medium heli-torch helicopter, three light helicopters and an air attack platform are assigned to the Deception Complex.

Oakridge Airport is serving as the helibase for the Deception Complex and is currently closed to civilian air traffic.

The Red Flag Warning for gusty winds, low humidity and a high Haines Index of 5-6 remains in effect today until 11:00 p.m. As a thermal trough moves over the area this afternoon and into the evening, winds will weaken but become erratic. As winds shift, firefighters plan to start burnout operations on the north/northeast flank.

Smoke monitors have been placed to keep the public apprised of the current situation.

Motorists traveling Highway 58 are advised to proceed with caution near the community of Oakridge this weekend amid continuing heavy fire, football, and recreation-related traffic.

Deception Creek Mobile Home Park, Middle Fork Ranger Station and houses along La Duke Road remain under a Level 1 evacuation notice.

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.

There are two new closures on the Willamette National Forest Area associated 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. A new closure is in effect that adds the 2102 Road to the closure.

Forest Roads 5840, 5847 and 5850 were closed previously and remain closed.

The Larison Rock Trail (Trail 3607) was recently opened. The lower trailhead for Larison Rock Trail is open; the closure of the 2102 Road means the upper elevation trailhead for Larison Rock Trial is closed.

There is also an Umpqua National Forest Closure. It is an area, road and trail closure southwest of the Deception Complex.

Forest Road 17 remains open to Spirit Falls.

Fire activity will continue to increase in intensity today and into tomorrow, but decreasing early next week as a cold front moves in, bringing cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity.

Temperatures are forecast to begin cooling Sunday. By Monday, temperatures are expected to be 69-79 degrees, depending on elevation, with humidity ranging from 18-28% during the day. Winds on Sunday are expected to shift to a WSW orientation at 6-9 mph, gusting to 15.

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 or

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.

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