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Wildfire News, Successful burnout diminishes threat to Illinois Valley, Oregon homes
Oregon Live/ AP ^ | 2 August 2002 | Jeff Barnard

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:

Florence/Sour Biscuit Fires website:

TOPICS: Breaking News
KEYWORDS: agnessoregon; andrewkerr; andykerr; andykerrslegacy; backfiresstarted; burningoregon; cavejunctionor; christines; clubsierralegacy; delnorteca; ecofascismlegacy; ecofascistburning; ecokamikazes; econaziburning; econutsusefires; ecoterrorism; ecoterrorists; ecoviolence; enviralists; florencebackfires; gasquetcalifornia; goldbeachoregon; greenagenda; greenfirecleansing; greenlegacy; greenratslegacy; greensburnoregon; greenscanburnyou; greenscankillyou; harmsway; illinoisvalley; ilvalleyburning; kalmiopsisburning; kerbyoregon; kitzslegacy; obrienoregon; onrcagenda; onrcslegacy; oregonburning; oregonisburning; orncfirecleansing; realgreenlegacy; ruralcleansing; selmaoregon; sourbiscuitfire; stopecoviolence; usfloristservice; wildlandfires
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To: Grampa Dave
Thanks for posting link to Stossel thread and your help on it. :)
41 posted on 08/02/2002 12:59:10 PM PDT by madfly
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To: Grampa Dave
August 2, 2002

Crews light fires to fight fires
The Register-Guard

CAVE JUNCTION - Fears about having to evacuate thousands of people from the Illinois River Valley calmed along with the winds Thursday, and firefighters were able to widen fire lines protecting the community of Selma from the 164,000-acre Florence fire.

More calm winds and cool, moist air are predicted for the weekend, with rain possible Monday. Despite the favorable forecast, the Florence fire will burn for months, a fire official said Thursday.

Smoke rises to about 12,000 feet Thursday west of Selma.
Firefighters were able to widen fire lines, protecting the community from the 164,000-acre Florence fire.

"Obviously, we'll continue to have fire within the established containment lines until we have significant rain in the fall," fire information officer Mike Ferris said.

Bulldozers had carved lines linking a twisting network of logging roads into the primary line of defense Tuesday, but firefighters had to wait until late Wednesday night for the wind 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.''

Burnouts are fires that are lit between a wildfire and a bulldozed containment line to eliminate fuel for the advancing wildfire. Firefighters completed about five miles of burnouts overnight Wednesday.

Ferris saw the results at first light Thursday. "It was doing exactly what we planned it to do," he said. "It was actually pretty."

By the weekend, three separate firefighting operation centers will be working to surround and contain the Florence fire and the Sour Biscuit fire, which extends into Northern California from about two miles south of the Florence blaze.

Scott Hall, a firefighter from Prospect, works on an oak that was blocking a road west of Selma on Thursday.

Fire officials expect that the two fires, both started by lightning during a July 13 storm, eventually will join. However, they don't expect that to cause any significant new control problems.

The present Cave Junction-based operation will continue working on the critical east and north sections of the fire while new operations centers will be established in California for the southern end, and probably at Gold Beach to contain the western flank, Ferris said.

Less than 5 percent of the Florence fire was reported contained as of Thursday night. More than 1,300 firefighters are currently working the fire, which to date has cost more than $6 million to fight. And additional manpower and machinery poured into the valley Thursday.

If the favorable weather continues, officials said crews may be able to finish their burnouts by Sunday. That would widen the 35-mile-long bulldozed fire line protecting the populated area east of the fire.

When that critical work is done, residents of Selma, Cave Junction, Kerby and O'Brien will literally be able to breathe easier while crews work to contain both the Florence and the Sour Biscuit fires, Ferris said.

"It (containment) goes pretty fast once you get it going," Ferris said. Mop-up operations, where crews work by hand to extinguish smoldering fires within containment lines and monitor the fire for new flareups, will likely continue for several weeks, he said.

With the threat diminishing, most local residents are staying rather than heeding fire commanders' advice to evacuate. The Red Cross reported Thursday that only 950 people had registered as having left their homes since Sunday.

``I certainly feel better today,'' Illinois Valley Fire Chief Kyle Kirchner told a community meeting on the football field of Illinois Valley High School. ``We are close to turning that corner to relief.''

At the edge of a bulldozed fire line north of Eight Mile Mountain on Thursday, Dave Huber of Eugene waited for a burnout to round a nearby hill and descend to the line under his fire engine, where Huber and his co-workers were assigned to stop it.

Over the past two days - after initial public alarm over an evacuation notice that gave 17,000 residents 30 minutes to clear out if the fire reached the populated parts of the valley - Huber said he had noticed a change among local residents.

"They're starting to calm down now. They're finally starting to realize what we're doing is preventing that (evacuation) from happening," he said. "You always have to think about the worst-case scenario."

Local residents certainly had a lot to think about, he added.

Huber said he was surprised by how fast the fire moved through tinder-dry manzanita brush that hugs the trunks of Ponderosa and Sugar pines on the southern slopes in the area, and the tall, dense stands of fir that carpet the north slopes.

He said he watched as individual trees turned to torches, shooting brief but dramatic flames 200 or more feet into the air.

Local residents in lawn chairs lined Highway 199 at nightfall to watch the fireworks from a distance, he said.

The smoke column earlier this week rose to 20,000 feet as the fire raced toward the Illinois Valley communities, Huber said, adding, "It's done some things that were pretty amazing." Yet, with concerted effort, firefighters were able to orchestrate equally amazing counterattacks, said Huber's co-worker, Bob Mortensen, who was working his 13th day Thursday on the Florence Fire.

Last week, for example, Mortensen was with more than 80 other firefighters who worked 18 miles up the Illinois River Trail Road to prepare 10 isolated residences deep in the forest to survive the fire's path.

As fire approached through tall trees, it roared so loud firefighters had to yell to be heard even when standing next to one another, Mortensen said, adding that the fire was so hot they could feel it a half-mile away.

As it closed in on one residence, a fire boss from Arizona stayed behind with a pistol-like device that fired mini-flares.

When the fire began sucking air toward itself, the fire boss fired the device into nearby underbrush to create a back burn - a fire that burns back toward a fire, eliminating fuel and stopping the fire's advance.

"The wind was blowing it this way, but it was pulling air the other way, creating its own weather," Mortensen said.

The tactic worked and the fire burned around the residence, sparing it.

"Initially, we saved all of them," Mortensen said. "Then the fire whipped around on us and we lost a couple. We felt bad about that.

"But we saved most of them. You feel good about that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

To see the pics, click here:

42 posted on 08/02/2002 1:25:13 PM PDT by blackie
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To: madfly
Thanks for the ping madfly...sounds like some good news for the folks out there that live under the thumb of environazis.


43 posted on 08/02/2002 1:34:09 PM PDT by nothingnew
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To: Grampa Dave
Updated summary.

Fire Information Summary

Oregon Fire Information

Unit Fire Name Agency Location











% Contained

Cause Remarks


Flagtail-Malheur Complex


8 to 25 miles from Prairie City, OR 26,400 1 46 64 3 3 2 Type 1 1,367   80% Lightning Observed multi-tree torching and many spot fires outside the line on the south end of the fire. Due to limited available fuels, spot growth was minimal.  (1800, 7/31)


Tiller Complex


Tiller R.D. 26,850   31 48 1 1 1 Type 2 1,051   25% Lightning Light morning inversion lifted over the complex before noon, fire spread is anticipated to increase around 1430. Anticipated fire growth will continue on all staffed and unstaffed fires

Road closures still in effect for the South Umpqua Road starting at mile marker 6 east of Tiller. (1800, 7/31)

OR-MAF Monument USFS

9 miles SW of Unity, OR

24,378 1 27 21 3 1 2 Type 1 1,054   80% Lightning

Interior continues to burnout. Rehabilitation of existing hand and dozer line is ongoing. Patrolling all divisions.(1800, 7/31)

OR-FRF Tool Box Complex USFS 10 miles S of Silver Lake, OR 86,794 4 40 106 2 4 1 Type 1 1,768   75% Lightning Fire activity was restricted to individual torching of trees within fire perimeter and burnout of fuel islands within the fire perimeter. Night time recoveries will help slow fire activity. Torching and spotting may be expected until inversion layer sets in around midnight. (1700, 7/31)
OR-ORS97 Winter ODF 10 miles NW of Paisley, OR 35,779   40 43 1 2 1 ODF 814   100% Lightning The fire is quiet, but IR shows concentrations of heat that will be mopped up. Mopping up hot spots. Patrolling and extinguishing spot fires inside the lines.  (1700, 7/31)


Florence USFS 26 miles west of Grants Pass, 17 miles southwest of Cave Junction 150,000 9 30 46 5 6 2 Type 1

Type 1

Type 2

1,546   5% Lightning

High to very high fire behavior intensities, with some convection columns and group tree torching. Mostly a backing fire today. Continueing to develop strategy in response to further fire spread, prepare indirect line, planning for structure protection, burn out, hold.

The entire Illinois River Valley is under a 24- or 48-hour evacuation advisory. .(1800, 7/31)


Sour Biscuit USFS 17 Miles SW of Cave Junction 33,287   13 10   6   Type 1

Type 2

436   0% Lightning The fire continued creeping in all directions. Torching, spotting, and moderate runs also occurred. Coordinated agency planning efforts continued, including emphasis on contingency structure protection. (1800, 7/30)
  OR-UPF North Umpqua Complex USFS 25 Miles east of Glide near town of Dry Creek 1,749 2 13 12 1 2 1 Type 2 537   80% Lightning Fire activity in Limpy and Johnson Butte Fire was limited to burning in interior islands of fuels. Little or no fire activity in Calf 2 and Horse Prarie Fire.  (1700, 7/31)
OR-OCF 747 USFS 12 miles south of Dayville 16,856   18 19 1   1 Type 1 519   90% Lightning Smoldering and creeping behavior was observed over portions of the fire area once again today. Continue with mop up and rehabilitation activities. Transition to a Type 3 organization is scheduled for 1800 hours tomorrow, 8/1. (1800, 7/31)
OR-DEF Cache Mtn. USFS 15 miles NW of Sisters, OR 4200 2 32 54 1 1   Type2 1,179   95% Lightning Some torching in isolated areas inside the control line. Low RH did not cause spotting problems. Significant mop up progress made in all divisions. This effort was supported by helicopters. The Structure Protection Group was staged to respond to any spots outside the dozer line or across Highway 20. The area adjacent to the fire was gridded to locate and extinguish any spot fires, none were found.

Residents were allowed back into Black Butte Ranch Subdivision. (1800, 7/31)

OR-WNF Skunk USFS N of Sprague River 2,544 2 7 17     2 Type2 357   100% Lightning

Observed fire behavior was creeping and smoldering. Continue with extensive mop up on the fire perimeter to meet the objective of being mopped in at least 600 feet prior to transition to the Type3 organization. Continue with suppression rehabilitation and equipment removal from the fire perimeter. (1800, 7/31)

OR-ORS Sheldon Ridge State 7 miles S of Moser 12,761   18 24 2 4 2 ODF 558   100% Lightning More active burning today due to lower humidities and wind exposure. Continued progress today in securing lines and starting mop up.

Conflagration Declaration ended at 1200 today.(1800, 7/31)

OR-ORS Timbered Rock State 15 miles N of Shady Cove 16,925   45 34 8 3 2 ODF 1,145   20% Lightning Active fire behavior began in late afternoon after inversion lifted. Major burnout planned for tonight.

Evacuation of Elk Creek and Sugarpine area are still in place due to potential fire activity. (1800, 7/31)

OR-WIF Lucky USFS 6 miles S of Detroit, OR 87   4     1   Type 2 168   70% Lightning Moderate fire spread with occasional torching. Line construction continues at a good pace. Primary control problems are steep terrain and difficult access. Fire located in area with 100 to 200 foot cliffs on E and SE fire flanks. (1600, 7/31)
Oregon Totals       438,610 21 364 498 28 34 17   12,505        

Washington Fires

Unit Fire Name Agency Location











%     Contained

Cause Remarks
WA-WEF Deer Point USFS 27 miles N of Chelan 37,588 8 20 38 4 2 2 Type 1 884   55%

Unattended Camp Fire

Fire behavior consisted of high intensity surface fire with torching in small trees and short range spotting. Fire will continue to make upslope runs and spot as it runs to Cooper Ridge and Parrish Peak. Interior islands and fingers will continue to burn out and spread until contingency lines are burned out. (1800, 7/31)

Washington Totals       37,588 8 20 38 4 2 2   1,045        
2-State totals       476,198 29 384 536 32 36 19   13,550        

This site last updated:    08/02/02 02:25 PM  (NOTE: not every fire is updated each time the site is updated, but only as new information is received. Call the Information Desk with questions.)  This website is provided as assistance to media outlets requiring statistical information related to the wildland fires in the states of Oregon and Washington.  Active fire behavior, especially during period of increased wind conditions will cause increase burned acreage that may not reflect accurately " on the ground situation".  Please note that the data and situation reports are based on formal incident summaries and situations reported locally may not yet be included or has not been validated for this summary.  Evacuation questions should be directed to state or local Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) for verification. It is advised that media consult the data provided and then call the Information Desk for more specific, detailed information on the fire situation, It will be periodically updated by the Public Information staff at NWCC.  Specific information may be gained through calling the NWCC Information Desk at (503) 808-2764.

44 posted on 08/02/2002 2:51:13 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: blackie
Thanks, a rather dramatic picture as the smoke rises to 12,000 feet high.

45 posted on 08/02/2002 3:05:33 PM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Salvation
Thanks for the update. They don't seem to do as well on the weekend with their updates.

46 posted on 08/02/2002 3:08:21 PM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: EBUCK; AuntB; madfly; farmfriend; Archie Bunker on steroids; cake_crumb; Salvation; *Enviralists
Lars Larson on the air right now re the Floristry Service and their Clintoonian Pink Panty rules on the helicopter service trying to put out the fires faster. Here are some quotes as I listen:

The GD enviralists in and out of the forestry service are keeping the helicopter pilots from doing their job effectively.

Home owners have had static about using a bull dozer to knock down trees and cross over a 12 inch stream.

The GD Clintoon Pink Panty Maggots in the Florist Service playing foresters are dangerous and expensive.

He has Greg Walden on the air with him.

The state of Oregon Forestry people have made the job easier for the helicopter pilots where as the Pink Panty Maggots in the Federal Florist Service. These maggots delayed the fire fighting for two days because a Federal Forester Helio manager was not available.

One manager per helicopter with Feds. The State of Oregon has one experienced helio manager running 15 helocopters.

Maybe we should just fire and chase away every federal florist service person pretending to a forester. There is no salvaging these Druid Clymers.

Every Florist with a phoney degree in Forestry in the last 12 years, should be fired on the spot and forced to walk home.
47 posted on 08/02/2002 3:24:55 PM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Grampa Dave
I've heard it called the Forest Circus and the greenies Forest Circus pisswillies. Perhaps it should be the Florist Circus? Caught the tail end of something on KURY radio this morning indicating the California Dept. of Forestry could have had one of the fires out the first day but couldn't get permission from the FS. Didn't hear if it was opinion or fact. Costs running at over $7 million as of this morning on the Florence fire alone.
48 posted on 08/02/2002 4:41:39 PM PDT by Granof8
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To: Grampa Dave
The smoke in Grants Pass is not bad today. The temperature is down, I think that will help slow the fires a bit. Here are some pictures I took last night from Grants Pass, and today of the Florence fire along the I 99 from the Selma to Kerby areas.

Flames visible from Grants Pass the evening of 8-1-02

8/01/02 sunset in Grants Pass. The smoke made great colors.

Back burn at Selma OR.

Back burning between Selma & Kerby

Hummingbird sitting on a flower in Kerby with the burn in the background

The Selma Post Office where the Babbit protest was held. The back burn fire is approx 1 mile (maybe a bit more)behind the town.

I99 sign that says "get US out of the U.N." with fire in the background...

Selma gas station

49 posted on 08/02/2002 7:05:40 PM PDT by wanderin
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To: Grampa Dave
Radio news out of Euraka at 5PM said the Shelly fire was 95% contained this evening. The weather is turning favorable for a few days. I would think that would mean hiway 199 may open soon.

The KAEF ABC affiliate out of Redding Cal has good fire coverage. I haven't checked their web site for updates.
50 posted on 08/02/2002 7:47:42 PM PDT by tubebender
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To: Grampa Dave
Western senators want protection to thin forests

AP photo/Denver Post, Shaun Stanley

Montrose firefighter Lawrence Sanderson hoses down a smoldering log next to the famous Spruce Tree House ruins within Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado on Wednesday.


Chieftain Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - A special provision to reduce the threat of fires in South Dakota's Black Hills has ignited a growing outcry among Western state senators for similar protection for forest thinning projects in their states.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., joined a bipartisan coalition of a dozen senators at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday to ask for legislation that would waive environmental regulations as a means to speed up thinning of the nation's national forests.

Led by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., the senators said their states deserve the same treatment as South Dakota, where a new federal law allows the thinning of trees, undergrowth and brush from the Black Hills National Forest and Beaver Creek Roadless Area without the threat of environmental lawsuits.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. slipped the Black Hills provision into the $29-billion defense supplemental spending bill several weeks ago.

"We need to apply similar (protections) to the rest of the states in the West," Domenici said. "We have forests just ready to burn. They are loaded with fuel and just ready to burn."

Campbell said the high cost of wildfires and the damage they do justified speeding up the forest-thinning effort.

"We're all going to pay for it"

51 posted on 08/02/2002 8:13:48 PM PDT by joyce11111
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To: tubebender
KURY radio is saying 199 will be open this evening with pilot cars.
52 posted on 08/02/2002 8:14:56 PM PDT by Granof8
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To: joyce11111
Western senators want protection to thin forests

They should ask Dashchle Dysfunction to pay for this.

53 posted on 08/02/2002 10:25:43 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Grampa Dave
Burn Baby Burn...thank you enviro-nazis terrorist's for your wonderful contributions in the creation of 12,000 ft high smoke clouds over Oregon...

Where there's smoke, there's fire !!

Stop the attacks by the bureaucrat's and wacko, extreme left-wing, enviro-nazis terrorist's on our Freedoms !!

Freedom Is Worth Fighting For !!

Molon Labe !!
54 posted on 08/03/2002 7:28:04 AM PDT by blackie
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