Big Windy Complex - Evening News Release
Incident: Big Windy Complex Wildfire
Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 9:00 PM PDT
Big Windy Complex: 14,085 acres
Estimated Containment: September 1, 2013
Highlights for the Big Windy Complex:
-A community meeting held in Galice this evening was well attended. Attendees learned more about the status of the fire and suppression actions planned for the Big Windy Complex.
-A red flag warning for thunderstorms with dry lightning will continue through the evening, with possible 30 percent chance of rain. As we move into this evening and Friday, the thunderstorms have potential to drop brief, yet heavy, rainfall.
-Firefighters continue working on the north flank building contingency lines; approximately two more days work to finish this area. Containment line on the NW is progressing. The previous day’s burnout efforts are holding, despite gusting winds upwards of 40mph during the day shift operations.
-Weather and fire behavior specialists from the Big Windy Complex are coordinating closely with their counterparts from the Rabbit Mt and Dad’s Creek Fires to make firefighting operations as safe and efficient as possible.
-The smoke inversion lifted this afternoon allowing the heavy helicopters to assist with water drops around the Howard Creek area.
Big Windy Complex Operations Summary:
Ground Operations: Today, crews continued to work on contingency lines north of the river. On the W flank, felling crews and dozers made good progress. Firing crews are continuing to hold burnouts; the operation from last night on the SW flank held with no spotting issues. Tonight, crews continue to slowly move north with burning and holding operations.
Closures in Place:
-The Bear Camp Road (BLM # 34-8-36 and Forest Service #23) 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 National Guard is providing staffing at all road closure checkpoints.
-Burnt Ridge Road, Forest Service Road 2308, is closed from the junction with Forest Road 2300 to the junction with Forest Road 3300.
-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.
Evacuations: A level 2 (level 2 means be prepared to leave if asked by a law enforcement or fire official)evacuation notice is in place starting at the Marial Lodge and following the Rogue River east to Grave Creek, then north and west on the Marial Byway back to the Marial Lodge.
A Level 1 Notice has been issued for the area of Galice Access Road, including the Galice Access Rd - north to the Graves Creek Bridge along Galice Road. Level 1 means persons are alerted that current or projected threats from hazards associated with the approaching fires may be severe. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, mobile property, and possibly pets and livestock.
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: Valley smoke, with an isolated thunderstorm possible before midnight. Maximum temperatures 54-57 degrees; maximum humidity level of 75-85%. Winds will be north to northeast up to 7-14 mph on the ridges in valley bottoms, downslope/down valley 2-6 mph. low level inversion forming after 11pm.
FIRE BEHAVIOR: Fire activity through the evening will be similar to today's. Fire may increase with clear and unstable air. Short crown runs are still possible. If wind gusts develop due to thunderstorms, expect rapid increases in flame lengths, rate of spread, and possible crown fire. If increased gusting winds occur, spotting distance may be as far as 0.7 miles.
RESOURCES ASSIGNED: 9 Type 1 hotshot crews, 20 Type 2 hand crews, 2 heavy helicopters, 2 light helicopters, 49engines, 16 dozers and 16 water tenders, 3 camp crews and 123 National Guard members. Total personnel assigned is 1,233.
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.