Big Windy Complex - Morning News Release
Incident: Big Windy Complex Wildfire
Fire Information Update
Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 9:00 AM PDT
Big Windy Complex: 7,499 acres total
-Jenny Fire: 2,114 acres
-Calvert Peak Fire: 143 acres
-Big Windy Fire: 5,242 acres
Highlights for the Big Windy Complex:
-Fire operations are transitioning from a purely indirect strategy to a combination of indirect and direct, as firefighters have made excellent progress with building containment lines
-Today, considerably drier conditions (Rh is dropping as much as 40% in the fire area) will contribute to increased fire behavior. Firefighters remain stationed in the Horseshoe area to watch for potential spotting north of the Rogue River. Crews will continue to scout for contingency line locations on the N flank of the fire.
-Tonight we will begin night operations to start implementing burnout on the SW flank of the fire where containment lines are complete. This includes burning out along Bear Camp Road through Peavine Road east, and burning out from Bear Camp Road as conditions allow. Resources assigned will include hand crews, engines, skidders and water tenders.
-A higher probability of ignition today is prompting fire crews to pay particular attention to spotting close to the control lines, particularly when burning operations begin.
-Additional resources have arrived to assist with operations, including 4 Type 1 (20-person) hotshot crews, 8 Type 2 (20 person) hand crews, 20 engines. Many of these resources were reassigned from the Brimstone Fire.
Big Windy Complex Operations Summary:
Ground Operations: Firefighters are making excellent progress with containment lines around the Big Windy Complex. Additional resources that demobilized from nearby incidents are arriving to assist with continued containment efforts and burnout operations on the Big Windy. Burnout operations will continue over the next several night shifts. Day operations will monitor burnout operations from the previous night. Crews will start brushing in the Whiskey Creek Cabin area. The structure protection group will continue to scout and identify structures in and around the Galice area in cooperation with Rural Metro Fire. Line construction will continue around the Zane Grey cabin and Black Bar Lodge. On the southwest flank, crews will continue with indirect line construction along the old Biscuit fire line.
Safety: Eight line EMTs, 3 Advanced Life Support ambulances, 2 short haul medivac ships,1 long haul National Guard medivac ship (Roseburg), and 9 medivac sites are available and ready to respond to firefighters’ medical needs.
Air Operations: 1 Air Attack, 1 heavy and 2 light helicopters are currently assigned and available as conditions permit.
Closures in Place:
-The Bear Camp Road is officially closed with closure orders and maps issued by the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management/Grants Pass Interagency Office and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest/Gold Beach Ranger District. See websites above for additional information. The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and the Curry County Sheriff’s Office are providing staffing at the closure points and signs are in place.
-Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Rogue River Ranch.
-The BLM portion of the Wild Section of the Rogue River is closed from Grave Creek to Mule Creek due to extreme fire conditions and public health and safety issues.
Big Windy Complex: Consists of the Big Windy (Josephine County), Calvert Peak and Jenny Fires (Curry County). Located on Medford District Bureau of Land Management lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry Started: July 26, 2013 at 3:00 a.m. Cause: Lightning Location: Approximately 8 miles NW of Galice.
VALUES AT RISK: Boaters and campers on the Rogue River, Wild and Scenic River below Grave Creek, economic considerations associated with recreation, Black Bar Lodge (18 structures), Zane Grey Historical Cabin, Marial Lodge, Rogue River Ranch, cultural resources, threatened & endangered species habitat, late successional reserves, fisheries and wildlife.
WEATHER: This morning’s inversion will lift to 5200 ft around 2:00 p.m. Increased afternoon heating is expected to create some instability with afternoon cumulus buildups. Isolated thunderstorms are possible Monday through Wednesday, with the best chances of thunder starting Tuesday.
Today’s weather calls for smoky conditions early on, then partly cloudy with low level instability. Max temps 74-84 on ridges, 84-91 in the valleys. Minimum Rh 31-38% ridges, 28 to 35% valleys. Winds NE shifting N 7-11 mph with gusting to 18 mph ridges and favored valleys.
FIRE BEHAVIOR: Fuels in the area are primarily mixed conifer with varying size classes and a heavy Douglas fir component. Understory consists of heavy brush loading including Manzanita and Ceonothus. Fuels adjacent to the fire area are similar but also have brush fields from the Biscuit Fire with a heavy concentration of dead and down surface fuels. These fuels are thick and continuous and burn readily due to drought conditions. Fuels moistures are critically low and will contribute to increased fire spread rates.
The drier air is noticeable today with lower fuel moistures. Fire behavior will increase, although it will remain primarily a surface fire with some single and group tree torching. Short upslope runs possible where the slope and winds align or where fuels are heavy enough to allow intensity to build.
RESOURCES ASSIGNED: 5 Type 1 hotshot crews, 17 Type 2 hand crews, 1 heavy helicopter, 2 light helicopters, 12 engines, 9 dozers and 10 water tenders, 2 camp crews and 123 National Guard members.
SAFETY CONCERNS: Steep and unforgiving terrain, mixing of fire and public traffic (particularly on one-lane roads), variable and unpredictable winds in the river corridor, ticks, bee stings, hazard trees, poison oak, poor air quality, aviation operations, extreme fire behavior, railroad crossings, black bears and cougars. Safety trends include bee stings, and knee and ankle injuries.
COOPERATING AGENCIES & PARTNERS: Oregon Department of Forestry, Medford District Bureau of Land Management, Josephine County, Curry County, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Jackson County, Rural Metro Fire Department.