Big Windy Complex - Morning News Release
Incident: Big Windy Complex Wildfire
Friday, August 9, 2013 - 9:00 AM PDT
Big Windy Complex: 14,364 acres
Estimated Containment: September 1, 2013
Highlights for the Big Windy Complex:
-Moisture over the fire last night (0.1 – 0.2 inches) has slowed fire activity and prohibited firefighters from accomplishing any additional burnout. As a result, crews worked to hold and improve lines overnight.
-A community meeting held in Galice yesterday afternoon 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 40 percent chance of rain. As we move into the evening, the thunderstorms have potential to drop brief, yet heavy, rainfall.
-Severe storms in the area and Northern California have prompted firefighters to be on alert for gusty, erratic winds and locally heavy rain. Newly constructed roads impacted by rain may create challenges for quick egress.
-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 eastern edge of the fire has moved into the lower east slope of Howard Creek. Firefighters are monitoring the fire's further progress to the east. The smoke inversion lifted yesterday afternoon, allowing the heavy helicopters to assist with water drops around the Howard Creek area.
-A spike camp is being setup in the Eden Valley area to reduce travel time for firefighting resources north of the Rogue River. The camp location will help improve overall progress north of the river by reducing driving times and better rest between work shifts.
Big Windy Complex Operations Summary:
Ground Operations: Today, crews will continue to work on contingency lines north of the river and on the E and NE flanks. On the W flank, felling crews and dozers are still working to complete line north to the river in preparation for burnout. Firing crews are continuing to hold burnouts. Today, if fuels dry out enough crews will continue to slowly move north with burning and holding operations.
At the Black Bar Lodge, crews have completed firing operations to create a blackened area around the lodge to help protect it. At Zane Grey’s cabin, crews are ready to begin burnout operations. Crews and heavy equipment operators continue to work with Rural Metro Fire Department to improve fire line and roads, scout for contingency control lines and prep for burnout operations for the community of Galice, Rogue River Ranch and Marial. Preparations have been completed in the Meadow Creek area. Coordination with all agencies and partners continue.
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 e 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: Areas of smoke, with scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Maximum temperatures 80-84 degrees, valleys and 69-73 degrees on ridges; maximum humidity level 34-39% valleys, 42-47% ridges. Winds E/NE early, trending to NW 6-9mph gusting to 14mph afternoon. Morning inversion rising to 5500 feet afternoon. Chance of precipitation 40% afternoon.
FIRE BEHAVIOR: Fire activity is expected to be limited to smoldering and smoking unless fuels dry out in the afternoon. If fuels dry out enough for activity to pick back up, short crown runs are still possible. If wind gusts develop due to thunderstorms, expect a moderate increase in activity.
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.