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Cool weather is two-edged sword on Florence and Sour Biscuit Fires/Oregon
Oregon Live/ AP ^ | 06 August 2002 | Jeff Barnard / AP

Posted on 08/06/2002 7:33:30 AM PDT by Grampa Dave

Wildfire News/Oregon

Cool weather is two-edged sword on Florence and Sour Biscuit Fires

By JEFF BARNARD, The Associated Press, 8/6/02 3:17 AM

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. (AP) -- Cool and humid weather that has kept a lid on the Florence and Sour Biscuit fires prevented crews from fire-hardening the southern end of the 40-mile containment line protecting the Illinois Valley.

"It's a two-edged sword," said Mike Lohrey, incident commander on the eastern front of the fires that have burned a combined 275,000 acres of the Siskiyou National Forest in southwestern Oregon said Monday.

A few drops of rain fell on the area Monday night.

Lohrey said about 25 percent of the containment line on the eastern flank of the fires has yet to be burned out, but a warming and drying trend beginning midweek will make that job easier, without whipping the fires to the explosive energy they showed a week ago.

"There's still a lot of fire out there," Lohrey said. "Until we can make that area black and the area is contained, the threat is real."

Though Florence was just 10 percent contained, and Sour Biscuit 15 percent, the threat diminished enough for the standing evacuation warning for the valley's 17,000 residents to be downgraded from two hours to four hours, meaning people should be ready to leave on four hours' notice.

Sheriff's deputies checking on the homes of about 1,200 people who evacuated the area have found three-quarters of them returned, said Josephine County sheriff's Lt. Lee Harman.

Illinois Valley Fire Chief Kyle Kirchner said he was not ready to lift the evacuation warning yet, because the warming trend will make the fire more volatile.

"We're very concerned about lifting it too soon if we get abnormal heat and would like to see how the fuels react," to the change in the weather, Kirchner said.

The threat remained high enough for Mayor Ed Faircloth to go ahead and cancel this weekend's Blackberry Festival, which brings an extra 5,000 people to the valley, but low enough for Susie and Jim Wood to take a break from five days of cutting brush around their home within sight of the fire line.

"I can't say it's not a little scary, especially as I look out the kitchen window and see an awful lot of smoke swirling around," said Susie Wood. "I think they've got a handle on it."

At the Illinois Valley Golf Course, smoke hugging the ground forced pro shop manager Bob Paul to quit playing on the back nine, but did not deter Kenny Lewis from his daily round.

"We're going to go out and see if we can find the ball in this smoke," he said.

While seven major fires continued burning across more than 462,000 acres in Oregon, the Florence and Sour Biscuit fires remained the top priority in the nation for scarce resources.

Favorable winds kept the northern flank of the fire from advancing on the rural communities of Agness and Oak Flat, located at the confluence of the Illinois and Rogue rivers, where firefighters cleared brush around homes and bulldozers dug containment lines, said spokeswoman Susan Mathison.

The fire was three miles from Oak Flat and six from Agness, but there was no evacuation notice in force, Mathison said. However, fire commanders marked their maps with 72-hour and 48-hour trigger points which, if the fire reaches them, will prompt deputies to go door-to-door warning residents to be ready to leave within 72 hours and 48 hours.

Harman said deputies arrested a Grants Pass man on charges of impersonating a firefighter and stealing some turkeys and chickens from a home where he advised residents to flee.

Wearing a yellow Nomex fire shirt with homemade patches identifying him as a firefighter, Kenton Bowden knocked on doors in the Selma area Sunday night telling people to evacuate, and tried to get into fire camp, Harman said. He was arrested Monday morning after going to the sheriff's office to ask why he had heard his name on his police scanner.

The fire still has the potential, given the right weather conditions, to run down the Chetco River to the coast or jump over Chrome Ridge and descend on the Rogue River near the whitewater rafting center of Galice, Lohrey said.

Reflecting the changing threat, fire commanders stopped the every-other-night community meetings at Illinois Valley High School, but held their first one in Galice, located on the Rogue River about 15 miles northeast of the fire perimeter.

Other Oregon fires causing major concern are:

--The Tiller Complex east of Canyonville, at 31,052 acres and 25 percent containment, threatening 15 residences.

--The Timbered Rock Fire 20 miles north of Medford, 75 percent contained at nearly 26,000 acres.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; US: Oregon
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Again the two edged sword is being faced by the fire fighters.

The cool weather makes it easier in that the big fire in the Wilderness Area is not spreading East and South East.

However, the cooler weather makes it harder to use back fires to widen the fire control lanes around the fire.

What is not being put out by the Floristry Service PR people is simple. They can't get into the wilderness area to fight the fire due to the no roads, no timber thinning and no brush removal for ten + years. So it will have to burn itself out. If hot, dry and windy conditions come back without large fire containment lanes on the East and South East sides, there could be future problems.

1 posted on 08/06/2002 7:33:31 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Archie Bunker on steroids
This morning's report.

The fire's advances to the north are not in this article, and I will post that later.

Hopefully, Granof8, will update us on the north end and west sides of the fires in the Wilderness areas.
2 posted on 08/06/2002 7:37:21 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: madfly; brityank; WaterDragon; farmfriend; Ernest_at_the_Beach; backhoe; *Enviralists
The latest on the SW Oregon fires, courtesy of the Rural Cleansers of America, the Green al Qaeda Eco Thugs.

Please use your pingers to spread the word.
3 posted on 08/06/2002 7:39:45 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Free the USA; Libertarianize the GOP; Stand Watch Listen; freefly; expose; Fish out of Water; ...
4 posted on 08/06/2002 7:56:15 AM PDT by madfly
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To: madfly; Grampa Dave
Thanks for the ping and the update.
That's quite a list of key words, Gramps! lol back later.
5 posted on 08/06/2002 7:58:55 AM PDT by dixiechick2000
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To: All
Looks like there may be a different editor in charge of the fire news of Oregon Live, this morning. This editor knows that there is a big fire there. The feel good editor, yesterday ignored the fire news until about noon or so much pressure was put on re what was happening re the fires. Then news started to filter out.

S. Oregon fire, crews in race on north end



AGNESS -- The Florence fire stubbornly edged north on Monday as firefighters rushed to outflank it with knuckle-bruising work to dig a fire line in front of two small communities: Agness to the west and Galice to the east.

Cool weather and a light rain kept even the most aggressive corners of the fire from advancing far, but it also made burnouts impossible and gave firefighters digging lines a dousing.

On the northwestern edge of the 235,000-acre fire, crews cut the first few miles of a planned 60-mile fire line that will stretch from Agness to the California border. On the northeastern corner, about 200 firefighters switched from burnout duty to extending the 40-mile Illinois Valley fire line another 15 miles from Selma to the Galice area.

Eventually, fire managers want to connect those lines by looping north of the fire, cutting off its weeklong meandering toward the Wild Rogue Wilderness.

Time continues to be of the essence, fire officials said, as the weather forecast is changing. Temperatures are expected to rise later in the week, meaning winds could pick up and blow the blaze toward the coast. The last time northeastern winds stoked the Florence fire, it ran roughshod over hills and valleys, significantly increasing its girth.

At a community meeting in Brookings Monday night, fire managers were skeptical that they could stop the fire if it wants to come to the coast, even with the 60-mile fire line.

"I'm 40 percent thinking that we may hold it," Kim Martin, incident commander for the west side, told about 100 people at the Azalea Middle School.

"Oh," one woman said. "That's bad."

"There are too many variables at this point to give you better odds," Martin said. "If we can't hold it, we've got real problems."

He told residents that the north end of the fire had been running hard.

"Because that has a huge potential of getting into the Rogue River and coming down the Rogue River, we're very concerned about that," Martin said.

Brookings resident Tamara Pettinger said south coast resident are not underestimating the fire. "We all know it could burn to the coast in a day if the weather turns around, and that happens here this time of year," she said. "I'm pretty concerned."

Earlier in the day, Roland Shaw, who is leading the attack on the fire's northwest corner, said that toward the end of the week, the fire is "probably going to get pretty active in some places."

Already, that northwest area is "a lot hotter, moving a lot faster" than the rest of the west zone, said Kim Soper, a fire behavior analyst with the fire team based in Gold Beach.

With the fire threatening to strengthen in the coming days, fire officials "have set some things in place as to what we're going to do when (the blaze) hits some trigger points in Agness," said Bob Mallett, operations section chief for the western fire team.

"That could happen in the next couple of days. It would move some people out of here," Mallett said, although he noted that rain could well delay any threat to Agness. "Most likely, it will happen at some point. But we don't know when."

Curry County sheriff's Capt. Mark Metcalf said officers have plans laid out if a voluntary evacuation becomes necessary. Residents will have at least 48 hours' notice before they should evacuate, a fire official said.

"We want people to be prepared, in case the weather turns bad," Metcalf said.

Near Agness, fire crews used bulldozers, chain saws, shovels and their hands to clear line. The work was hard, officials said, because there are no big clearings, called anchor points, along the line for crews to work from.

"We're trying to put line in, and we have no anchors anywhere on this line," Mallett said. "If we can at least get a hold in up here . . . and contain this beast, we'll have an established anchor."

A crew of 20 Chena Hot Shot firefighters from Fairbanks, Alaska, cleared brush along a dirt access road south of Agness. They buzzed through brush tangled with manzanita and pine trees next to the road, which had been cleared with bulldozers. The crew planned to clear more than one mile during a 12-hour shift Monday.

"Our goal is to make sure it (the fire) doesn't get past the dozer line," said Ted Pierce, crew foreman.

The dozer line plus the hot shots' work cleared a 30-foot-wide fire line. Once they are finished, the crews will burn brush and trees below the line to rob fuel from the flames and halt the fire.

"This is a tough piece of ground in here," Shaw said. "We're making good progress. (But) you always wish you could get it done a little faster."

Weather should help On the Illinois Valley side of the fire, cool moist air Monday prevented fire crews from completing burnouts along the containment line west of U.S. 199.

At the same time, they began marching north in an attempt to build up to 15 miles of more fire line around the fire's northern head, between Agness and Galice.

About 500 firefighters were moved to a new camp established at Sam Brown Campground in the hills northwest of Selma to begin the work.

Weather and fire behavior experts said this week's weather should be on the Illinois Valley firefighters' side. In addition to drier condition for burnout operations, a weather front is expected to send 20 mph winds out of the northeast, which would blow against and parallel to the flames, said Erik Christiansen, a fire behavior specialist.

After a fierce weekend of bulldozing, digging, detonating explosives and setting controlled burnouts, fire commanders on the eastern flank said Monday that they had nearly completed fortifying the 40-mile containment line.

The only work remaining is planned burnouts by smoke jumpers in the rugged wilderness south of O'Brien and along Chrome Ridge, fire officials said.

"We think we can hold it," said Mike Ferris, a fire information officer.

On Monday, U.S. 199 was buzzing with pickups hauling furniture, mattresses and boxes of belongings from Grants Pass back into the Illinois Valley. On Monday, fire officials eased the evacuation notice to four hours.

Josephine County Sheriff's Lt. Lee Harman said that about 75 percent of the estimated 1,000 people who evacuated last week have returned home. "We've canceled our security patrols at night," he said.

But fire officials said residents shouldn't become complacent. The cooler weather doesn't mean the threat has passed, they said.

"There's a lot of fire out there -- a tremendous amount," said Mike Lohrey, incident commander. "Until we get that threat contained, that risk remains real."

Here is what Grampa Dave has been warning about for about a week now, the possible western advancement as well as the current northern advancement of the wilderness fire.

"At a community meeting in Brookings Monday night, fire managers were skeptical that they could stop the fire if it wants to come to the coast, even with the 60-mile fire line.

"I'm 40 percent thinking that we may hold it," Kim Martin, incident commander for the west side, told about 100 people at the Azalea Middle School.

"Oh," one woman said. "That's bad."

To put this in perspective if it gets hot and an East wind comes up during a typical Banana Belt Day, the communities of Brookings to Gold Beach could be at peril and as far south as the Smith River Area in California.

This is due to the fact that they can't fight the fire in the wilderness area due to no roads, no timber or brush removal/thinning for over a decade thanks to the agendas of the al Qaeda Green Terrorists who control Oregon.

6 posted on 08/06/2002 7:59:21 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Grampa Dave
Related Article.

People who love trees:
Farah holds earth-worshippers responsible for fire damage

7 posted on 08/06/2002 8:02:48 AM PDT by madfly
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To: Grampa Dave
"Here is what Grampa Dave has been warning about for about a week now, the possible western advancement as well as the current northern advancement of the wilderness fire."

Yep! I have to hand it to you, you have been predicting this for some time now.
Okay, now I'm really logging off! See you later!

8 posted on 08/06/2002 8:06:59 AM PDT by dixiechick2000
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To: All
Here is the latest 5 day forecast for the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area where the fire can't be battled due to no roads, no timber and brush removals and other Rural cleansing agendas of the Oregon al Qaeda Green Terrorists the past decade. (Link to Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area 5 Day Weather Forecast)
9 posted on 08/06/2002 8:12:05 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Grampa Dave
Green Socialism is a religion of peace....and watermelons grow best on a manure pile. ;^)
10 posted on 08/06/2002 8:17:10 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: madfly
and BTTT!!!!!
11 posted on 08/06/2002 8:18:13 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: Grampa Dave
School teachers aren't the only ones that need more money.

Bump for these brave fire fighters.

12 posted on 08/06/2002 8:20:39 AM PDT by Jackie222
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To: BOBTHENAILER; CedarDave; AAABEST; Tailgunner Joe; sauropod; countrydummy; nicmarlo
For the handful of Freepers not living on the West Coast who are concerned about the Green al Qaeda fires in Oregon and California. This update is for you.

Please spread the word. I get the feeling that this is not important to most in Free Republic who have their personal agendas to push each day.

The Green al Qaeda Terrorism forced on this country from Floriduh north to Maine, west to the Pacific Coast, down the Coast and then back east is far more dangerous to the average American than the real al Qaeda thugs.

Thanks for your support on this burning issue. (Sorry about the pun)

Please link any Green Terrorist activity in your area or nationwide to this thread and then please link this thread to your threads. We need to do this on a regular basis, so people can wake up and realize the size/magnitude of the Green al Qaeda Terrorism.
13 posted on 08/06/2002 8:21:55 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: headsonpikes
These Green Watermelons in charge of Oregon make a manure pile look nice.

Thanks for following this and bumping it.
14 posted on 08/06/2002 8:23:19 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Jackie222
In this area, those fire fighters have rattle snakes, scorpions, poison oak, potential falls of over 100' and of course the smoke and fire from the Agenda Areas of the Green Jihadists who control Oregon to contend with.
15 posted on 08/06/2002 8:25:54 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Jackie222
Shows what I know!......just came from another thread on the subject of trees and found this:

With all due respects for the great Farrah, I believe that the cause for the great fires is the fact that the government offers firefighters great salaries to fight the fires in areas where employment is not as readily available and renumerative.

The government tempts local individuals to start the fires, since they are assured of plenty of good money from Uncle Sam for putting it out.

This is another example of the self destructive effects of government programs.


16 posted on 08/06/2002 8:31:21 AM PDT by Jackie222
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To: Grampa Dave
see post 16 I meant to flag your name instead of my own.


17 posted on 08/06/2002 8:33:37 AM PDT by Jackie222
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To: Grampa Dave
These horrific stories of needless waste tear at the heart of anyone who's spent a lot of years in the forest.

These watermelon b*stards have got a lot to answer for, IF they are ever brought to account.
18 posted on 08/06/2002 8:33:52 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: headsonpikes
Currently in Canada and the United States there are no controlling Legal Authorities to bring justice to the Green Watermelons who control most of Canada, Oregone, Washington and California.

They have become the law and the word without being elected. This shows the evil side and power of the media when they push left wing agendas instead of reporting the news.
19 posted on 08/06/2002 8:45:32 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Granof8; tubebender; All
The following artice is from today's Crescent City Daily Triplicate. The California news re the Sour Biscuit Fire in California is sounding better.

Evacuees return; fire 'looking good'

Published: August 6, 2002, By Kent Gray, Triplicate staff writer

The Sour Biscuit Fire crept closer to Gasquet over the weekend but fire officials are saying there is no immediate danger.

"One little finger of the fire moved within a mile of the evacuation line. There are no fuels in front of it and no winds pushing it," said Commander Tony Luis of the Del Norte County Sheriff's Department. "We've got crews working on it. They bombarded the heck out of it (Sunday)."

U.S. Forest Service officials said the finger of fire is currently the primary focus of fire fighters battling the Sour-Biscuit blaze, which was 40 percent contained yesterday.

"That's one of the things we are concentrating on most," said Fire Information Officer David Eaker. "The western boundary is looking good. It's pretty much all contained, as is the eastern boundary."

Residents on Low Divide Road were allowed to return to their homes Saturday and were told to be ready for a one-hour evacuation notice should the fire begin moving westward again. The staff and 29 evacuated residents of the Bar-O Boy's Ranch juvenile detention center in Gasquet were also returned to their quarters Saturday.

At town meetings last week and last night, Gasquet residents were told they would be evacuated if the fire reached a trigger line 2.7 air miles north of Gasquet. Hiouchi residents were told they would be evacuated at the same time. The American Red Cross in Crescent City reported yesterday it will remain on standby until all evacuation threats have ended.

PacifiCorp Spokesperson Monte Mendenhall said power to Del Norte County has not been recently threatened by other blazes continuing to burn in Oregon, including the 234,000-acre Florence Fire.

"We're in pretty darn good shape," Mendenhall said. "They pulled vegetation with cats out of the transmission corridor so the fire couldn't burn too close."

Some county residents did lose power, however, because of damage to local lines.

"About a dozen or so customers have been without power because of the Shelley Creek Fire," Mendenhall said. "Several spans of poles were burned and wire was lost. We'll be replacing the poles and wire in the next day or two with the help of a helicopter. It's some really steep, rugged country in there."

The Shelley Creek Fire near Patrick Creek Lodge just above Highway 199 was 100 percent contained on Saturday. Crews continue to monitor and mop-up that fire, Eaker said.

The Sour-Biscuit Fire, which has consumed 24,039 acres in California, has cost the Forest Service $1.3 million to battle. The 850-acre Shelley Creek Fire, which threatened structures east of Gasquet and closed Highway 199, was fully contained during the weekend. That fire cost $2.5 million to fight.

Resources utilized for both fires include 1,360 personnel, 16 engines, nine helicopters and five dozers.

Eaker said a weather system moving into the area tonight may cause more problems for fire fighters later in the week.

"We're expecting off-shore winds and low humidity with it and it could start drying things out," Eaker said. "It's a little bit of a concern because it's the same kind of system that drove this fire into California."
20 posted on 08/06/2002 8:53:10 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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