Skip to comments.Wildfire News, Successful burnout diminishes threat to Illinois Valley, Oregon homes
Posted on 08/02/2002 7:59:19 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
Wildfire News! Successful burnout diminishes threat to Illinois Valley, Oregon homes
By JEFF BARNARD The Associated Press 8/2/02 3:43 AM
SELMA, Ore. (AP) -- A shift in the wind allowed firefighters to torch miles of brush in an effort to save thousands of homes in southwest Oregon.
Hotshot crews poured fire from drip torches, burning a black swath of safety for the 17,000 people of the Illinois Valley. With each mile of burnout added along the 30-mile front of fire, the threat to the towns of Selma, Kerby, Cave Junction and O'Brien diminished.
"I certainly feel better today," Illinois Valley Fire Chief Kyle Kirchner told those who attended a community meeting Thursday night on the Illinois Valley High School football field.
"We're close to turning a corner, but we're not out of the woods yet."
The Florence and Sour Biscuit fires have burned 200,000 acres since lightning started them two weeks ago. Together, they have become the nation's top firefighting priority because of their size, behavior, and the threat to people.
Throughout Oregon, nearly 13,000 firefighters battled major wildfires burning 452,000 acres.
The burnout, which removes brush and other fuels that could feed the wildfire, comes just as the Siskiyou National Forest begins the season of most intense wildfire -- the month of August. Firefighters expect the Florence and Sour Biscuit fires will smoke until the fall rains come.
Firefighters wanted to start the burnout earlier this week, but had to wait for the winds to shift so the fires they ignited would not spread toward town.
"Ma Nature does it on her own schedule," said Erik Christiansen, fire behavior analyst on the Florence Fire, as he watched the burnout from a pickup truck. "We can predict it, but she's still in control."
The fire was only 5 percent contained, but each new mile of burnout eased the threat.
The burnout of the strip one to two miles wide was expected to take three days, and the weather through the weekend was predicted to be favorable -- cooler, moister air with gentle winds. One complication was a chance of rain on Monday. The burnouts must be done before then, or they can't be finished until the ground dries again, said Incident Commander Tom Lohrey.
With the threat diminishing, most local residents are staying, rather than heeding fire commanders' advice to evacuate. The Red Cross reported that only 950 people have left their homes.
Brian and Stephanie Pfeiffer still have their bags packed in case they have to flee, but they looked forward to a calm night.
"I think we'll be able to sleep tonight," Stephanie Pfeiffer said after the meeting. "I feel better now that (the firefighters) are feeling more optimistic."
While wildland firefighters concentrated on the burnout, structural firefighters finished mapping and assessing the hundreds of homes closest to the fire, burning about five miles west of U.S. Highway 199.
Meanwhile, fire commanders began building forces to combat the northern and western flanks of the fire. Bulldozers, hand crews and structural firefighters worked on the north end of the Florence Fire, to protect the community of Agness, which is a center of whitewater rafting river on the Rogue River.
Also high on commanders' priority list was the Timbered Rock fire about 20 miles north of Medford. It had burned about 20,000 acres, was 20 percent contained and was being battled by about 1,000 firefighters. Officials had urged the residents of 40 homes to evacuate.
Here are some of the other major wildfires that were burning Thursday in Oregon:
----The Cache Mountain fire, burning on 4,200 acres 15 miles northwest of Sisters, has destroyed two homes but was 100 percent contained.
----The Tiller Complex, east of Canyonville off Interstate 5, has burned 26,850 acres and was 25 percent contained.
----The Toolbox Fire, which has scorched 86,794 acres in Lake County, was 75 percent contained.
On the Net:
National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/
Florence/Sour Biscuit Fires website: http://www.pnw-team2.com/florence/index.html
Again, would the local Freepers in this area please post what you have heard or seen.
Sounds like other Senators want the same exemptions to manage the forests/wildlands in their states that Mullah Shorty Da$$hole wants: (If It's Good Enough for Da$$hole's Voters, It's good enough for the other states)
This Friday's "Give Me A Break" about the "missing" lynx. The Canada lynx is getting some people very excited. An environmental group burned down a ski lodge in Vail because they thought it might threaten the lynx.
There are tens of thousands of lynx throughout North America, but because the bureaucrats weren't sure there were any in southern Washington state-they commissioned a million dollar study to find out. They placed pieces of carpet soaked with a catnip mixture on trees hoping the lynx would then rub up against them and leave some fur. Sure enough--samples the biologists sent to the lab contained hairs from a Canada lynx!
This is a frightening prospect for people who like using the land. Finding a threatened species can set in motion a series of events that can wreck your life if you're a rancher or farmer or just someone who wants to drive in the woods. It's a reason lots of people in southern Washington are scared of the government's environmental police. As land rights activist Mike Paulson put it, "We basically say if you have an endangered species in your area, we are going to take your livelihood away, we're going to destroy your communities, and we're going to make it very difficult for your families to survive."
That didn't happen this time because it turned out the government's biologist were caught cheating! The lynx hair sent to the lab came from a lynx that lives in a cage, miles away from where the biologists claimed they found the hair. How could this happen? Jim Beers, a Fish and Wildlife biologist for 31 years, says his agency changed from promoting science to pushing what some believe is fanatical environmentalism. Now he says the agency is " staffed with environmental radical activists" who will twist facts until they get the results they want; and what they really want...is to ban people from forests. "Once you establish that there are any lynx in the area, ...the areas in between suddenly become very urgent to not allow road to be built, not allow the ski slopes to come in... not allow grazing... ultimately, not to let you or I drive our wives and kids in for a picnic."
The biologists do have an explanation; they weren't trying to cheat, they say, they were just testing the labs to make sure they could actually identify lynx fur. Beers replies: "That's the same as you telling me that you caught them walking out of the bank with money and they said oh, we were just seeing if the system works here, we were going to return it tomorrow."
Were the biologists fired for cheating? No. How often do governments fire anyone? They were "verbally counseled," but they are still on the job. It makes me wonder what other parts of their science we don't know the truth about.
If we now have the extremists giving orders with the power of government, everyone's freedom is at risk.
Give me a break.
Thank heaven for Hotshots, and thank YOU for all the hard work in bringing us updated information, Grampa.
Adding all the links to your related posts is a GREAT idea, especially for those who haven't been following the situation out there as closely as some have.
"One complication was a chance of rain on Monday."
The weather is cooling down quite a bit. I hope the cool weather makes it all the way down there. We are supposed to have rain up here on Sunday, but I understand that the firefighters don't want rain as it would hinder their backfires and, possibly, may contain more lightening.
So, here's hoping that they get the cooler weather, and no rain.
I, also, saw on the news last night that they are considering changing from a 30 minute evacuation to a 24 hour evacuation. The firefighters seem to be cautiously optimistic.
Thanks for the ping, madfly!
Thanks so much, again, for your vigilence!! We Oregonians appreciate your efforts!
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