Shadow Lake Fire Update - September 2, 2011 - 9:00 AM
Incident: Shadow Lake Wildfire
Date: September 2, 2011 - 9:00 a.m.
Media Contact: Shadow Lake Fire Information
Shadow Lake Fire Update
The Shadow Lake Fire burning in Mt. Washington Wilderness 15 miles northwest of Sisters, Oregon and 7 miles west of Black Butte Ranch, put up a visible plume Thursday for the first time in a few days, due to increased fire activity kindled by fuels dried by higher temperatures, lower humidity and a slight increase in winds out of the north. The total fire perimeter grew Thursday to over 560 acres, an increase of about 60 acres.
Good progress was made on the indirect lines to the east, west and north of the fire. Southern and southeastern progress of the fire has been slowed by the fire scar from the 2006 George Washington Fire.
Work will continue today along the Santiam Wagon Road. Crews are thinning fuels along the road which will serve as a fuel break if the fire moves to the north. A concerted effort is also being made to protect the historical integrity of the road. Work has also been completed along roads to the east of the fire, with primary, secondary and contingency lines in place. On the Willamette National Forest west of the fire, crews are thinning fuels to reduce fire intensity should the fire move in the direction of Big Lake and its surrounding recreation facilities. Fire managers are continuing to assess the indirect line for possible future burnout operations which would help reduce existing fuel loading.
The National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) Team, now in place to manage the fire, is working to implement an overall indirect strategy of confining the fire to the Mt. Washington Wilderness as the safest option for firefighters. Local Camp Sherman resident Kirk Metzger, (an experienced firefighter) who is assigned to the fire as a Division Group Supervisor, shared with fire officials that, "I walked much of the fire perimeter on Wednesday, mapping the fire, observing fire behavior and rates of spread for use in the longer term risk assessment. I observed numerous fallen trees from recent fire activity. It was 'spooky'. I wouldn't feel comfortable putting firefighters in that environment."
A Long Term Assessment Team, brought in by forest officials to forecast expected fire behavior over the duration of the incident, provide the following fire outlook into next week: The fire is expected to be more active and visible this weekend as a result of higher temperatures, lower humidity, and a prevailing wind shift out of the east. Visible fire plumes near Mt. Washington are expected. Fire activity is then forecasted to calm by Monday and Tuesday but increase to its highest level so far by mid-week, due to an unstable air mass moving into the area. This predicted fire behavior is consistent with fire managers' expectations; and suppression tactics have been prepared with these factors in mind.
Forest officials look forward to hosting visitors to the greater Sisters and Big Lake areas over Labor Day weekend as most forest lands and all local businesses remain open. Local highways are expected to be extremely busy as a result of activities like the large music event scheduled at Black Butte Ranch. Motorists are cautioned to remain alert and drive carefully, especially along Highway 20 where increased traffic with firefighters can be expected.
A closure area of the Shadow Lake Fire remains in effect. Closure information and maps are available at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2550. With hunting season now open, forest use is increasing around the fire. Visitors are urged to respect the fire closure to help firefighters keep an upper hand in containing the fire and to assist agency officials with providing overall public safety.
Shadow Lake Fire
Location: Mt. Washington Wilderness, Sisters, Oregon
Date Started: 08/28/2011
Size: 562 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Total Personnel: 307
Resources: Crews: 9, Engines: 5, Dozers: 2, Water Tenders: 3, Feller Buncher: 1, Chipper: 2, and misc. Overhead