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Posted on 07/22/2002 3:25:14 PM PDT by Grampa Dave
Kitzhaber Tours Fire Scenes, Guardsmen Arrive 07/22/2002
By kgw.com and AP Staff
updated @ 3:20 p.m.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, conducting an aerial tour of Oregon's wildfires Monday afternoon, praised a group of property owners for taking steps to keep their homes from burning in the midst of the devastating Squire Peak Fire.
Not one home around the community of Ruch was lost in the fire, although four outbuildings were destroyed. That fire was now 95 percent contained.
Gov. Kitzhaber talks with folks in Ruch about fire conditions. (KGW Photo) Kitzhaber also said this year's early and devastating fires show that the federal government needs to make a bigger committment toward making forests healthy and less vulnerable to annual wildfires.
As the governor toured fire zones in the south, firefighters faced more lightning and erratic winds on Monday as help arrived from Oregon National Guard troops.
Lightning storms were forecast to move up from Mount Shasta in Northern California into the Summer Lake Basin where the Winter and Toolbox fires have burned together to cover 92,000 acres of Fremont National Forest and neighboring private ranchland and timberland.
Firefighter Don Johnson, of Lakeside, Ariz., hauls fire hoses back to trucks after the north end of the Winter fire crossed the line Sunday.
A convoy of 250 Oregon National Guard troops arrived Monday fresh from firefighting training to begin taking over mop-up duties on the Winter Fire, Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman Tom Berglund said.
"You really have to keep your eyes wide open and know what to look for," said guardswoman Tonya Frazier, as she geared-up and preapared to be deployed at the fire scene.
Kitzhaber took off by Blackhawk helicopter for the embattled Winter Fire area, after his stop in Ruch.
The Winter Fire was 40 percent contained at 31,100 acres, with full containment forecast for Thursday at 35,000 acres. The Tool Box Fire stood at 59,160 acres, and was also about 40 percent contained. There was no forecast for full containment.
Fires were taking a toll on farm communities across the state.
Fire Burns Ranch
Last week the fire burned wire-to-wire through Dan Napier's Winter Ridge Ranch, where he raises Tennessee walking horses in the narrow band of flat land between Winter Ridge and Summer Lake. And on Monday, he was calling seed dealers as far away as Madras to find grass to stabilize the hillsides against fall and winter rains.
"This thing isn't over for us yet," he said. "The danger of erosion is so great."
Napier lost a hay barn, tack room and a shop when the fire blew through his ranch last week, but he managed to get his horses to safety with the help of neighbors. They won't be able to come back until he repairs burned fences.
The Winter Fire pushed out a bulge on the southwest flank into stands of beetle-killed timber on the Fremont National Forest Sunday and advanced on its north flank along the narrow face of Winter Ridge.
Flames March Across Ridge
Helicopters made continuous water drops on the steep face of the ridge where the flames marched through Ponderosa pine and mountain mahogany.
Firefighters have already contended with strong winds, high temperatures and shorts in a high-tension power line caused by smoke in the air.
The blue bolts of electricity arced from the Bonneville Power Administration lines to the ground, and have killed several cows at the Winter and Toolbox complex. Firefighters don't go near the lines.
The expected storm could spark new fires and force authorities to draw crews off the major blazes, said David Widmark, a spokesman at Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland.
"What happens with the weather will tell us what the rest of the week will look like for fire behavior," Widmark said.
Winter and Toolbox Merge
State's Fire Insurance Now a Bargain California Fire Forces Evacuation Strong Winds Drive Washington Fire The Winter and Toolbox fires burned together Saturday and now have a leading edge about a mile across, burning over rolling hills between Summer and Silver lakes in the high desert.
Fire officials dispatched another 800 firefighters to the blaze Sunday, bringing the total force on site to about 2,000 people.
Fire management was also upgraded Sunday to a Type I team of national fire experts, Widmark said.
The fire was the second largest in the country, trailing only the Rattle complex burning in a remote part of Utah, and was about 15 percent contained Sunday, Widmark said.
A voluntary evacuation order remained in effect for the 60 homes near Summer Lake. Several homes in the Silver Lake area also were threatened, he said.
He said there are about 25 fires in Oregon that the center considers major.
25 Major Fires in Oregon
The 25 major fires along with hundreds of small flare-ups were burning on a total of 225,000 acres in central, southern and eastern Oregon on Monday.
In southern Oregon, the Roseburg complex of fires had burned more than 3,000 acres by Sunday in the Umpqua National Forest southeast of Roseburg. Of the 24 small fires in the complex, three were not being fought on Sunday because of their remote location, Widmark said.
Officials reported two small new fires Sunday.
The Lost Lake fire, started by lightning, burned 224 acres on state land 12 miles east of Medford. The Sheep Rock fire burned 500 acres two miles northeast of Riverside.
Officials on Sunday evacuated the Umpqua Creek Pow-wow grounds in the Boulder Creek/Jackson Creek area.
Several major wildfires were burning on about 225,452 acres in Oregon as of Monday morning. About 8,640 firefighters are working in the state:
Started: in Lake County 07/12/02 and merged Saturday.
Size: 91,260 acres
Containment: 40 percent
Evacuations: Voluntary evacuations of 65 homes.
On scene: 1,981 firefighters
Started: 15 miles NE of Camp Sherman, 07/09/02.
Size: 23,204 acres.
Containment: 70 percent.
Damage: 18 houses destroyed.
On scene: 1,026 firefighters
Started: 8-25 miles from Prairie City, 07/12/02.
Size: 8,211 acres.
Containment: 20 percent.
Evacuations: None; 50 residences are threatened, and 10 commercial properties, and 184 outbuildings.
On scene: 833 firefighters
Started: Outside Tiller, east of Canyonville off Interstate 5, 07/12/02.
Size: 3,600 acres.
Containment: 6 percent
Evacuations: South Umpqua pow-wow grounds, all camp areas above Mile Marker 11 on the South Umpqua River.
On scene: 816 firefighters
Started: 13 miles west of Seneca, 07/15/02
Size: 7,600 acres.
Containment: 55 percent
Damage: Part of Bear Valley Work Center destroyed, one home destroyed, one outbuilding destroyed.
On scene: 560 firefighters.
NORTH UMPQUA COMPLEX
Started: 25 miles east of Glide, 07/12/02.
Size: 600 acres.
Evacuations: 20 residences threatened
Damage: one commercial property and ten outbuildings.
On Scene: 385 firefighters
Started: 9 miles southwest of Unity, 07/12/02
Size: 24,700 acres
Containment: 30 percent.
Evacuations: 75 residences threatened, plus five commercial buildings and ten outbuildings.
On Scene: 724 firefighters, military battalion scheduled to arrive today
Started: 15 miles west of Lakeview.
Size: 6,050 acres.
Containment: 60 percent.
Evacuations: RV Park threatened. Cottonwood Meadows Lake campground and group camp area is closed.
On scene: 338 firefighters.
Started: Northeast of Paulina in Black Canyon Wilderness, 07/13/22.
Size: 10,630 acres
Containment: 20 percent.
Damage: Road closures.
On scene: 357 firefighters.
Started: 17 miles southwest of Cave Junction, 07/13/02. requesting a type one team
Size: 4,840 acres
Containment: zero percent.
Damage: Unknown, but a wildnerness area is threatened.
On scene: 564 firefighters.
Started: outside of Roseburg, 07/12/02
Size: 700 acres.
Containment: 100 percent.
On Scene: 168 firefighters.
LOST LAKE FIRE
Started: 7/13/02, 12 miles east of Medford
Size: 224 acres
Containment: 95 percent
Damage: mature conifers
On scene: 117 firefighters
SHEEP ROCK FIRE
Started: 7/20/02, two miles northeast of Riverside, Ore.
Size: 700 acres
Containment: 50 percent
On Scene: 70 firefighters
NOTES: fire is exhibiting erratic behavior
Started: 7/13/02, 15 miles north/northwest of Christmas Valley,Ore.
Size: 400 acres
Containment: zero percent
Evacuations: Unknown, possible structures national forest land
On scene: 2 people
Source: The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Online at: http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_0722_news_wildfire_roundup.155088a0.html
Sure would be nice if we could get in and thin out some of this overgrowth, so that people's lives and property need not be threatened unnecessarily. Of course, that would never fly with the enviroterrorists who would prefer those of us in rural areas not be here in the first place!
Firefighters have already contended with ... shorts in a high-tension power line caused by smoke in the air. The blue bolts of electricity arced from the Bonneville Power Administration lines to the ground, and have killed several cows at the Winter and Toolbox complex. Firefighters don't go near the lines.Freaky.
I have been away quite a bit but still checking in now and then!
Size: 400 acres
Containment: zero percent
On scene: 2 people
What's up with that?