Big Windy Complex Morning Update
Incident: Big Windy Complex Wildfire
Fire Information Update
Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 10:00 AM PDT
Complex: Big Windy
Acres: 3,703 acres
News & Highlights for the Big Windy Complex:
-The Wild and Scenic Rogue River from Gold Beach upstream to Blossom Bar Rapid is still open for business and skies are currently smoke-free.
-There are NO evacuations orders in place for Agness or Gold Beach
-Josephine and Curry Counties have swept the closed portion of the Rogue River to ensure no rafters remain. Members of the Merlin Rappel Crew, assisted by Curry County, swept 21.5 miles of the Rogue River Trail to ensure no hikers remain.
-Fire operations personnel are looking for opportunities to hold the fire should it cross over to the north/east side of the Rogue River. It will be challenging to hold any advance without air support, which is currently very limited due to poor visibility.
-A marine influence will remain over the area the next couple of days, after which the inversion will start to lift and smoke will begin to clear out. This change will also prompt an increase in fire behavior.
-Oregon Governor Kitzhaber declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for Josephine County, allowing the Oregon National Guard to provide assistance to fires in the area. The National Guard will be providing assistance with additional air resources as well as personnel. National Guard personnel will assist with closure checkpoints at roads near the fire including:
=2308 @ 33 Agness Road (Burnt Ridge)
=23 Road @ 33 Road (west end of Bear Camp)
=2402 Road @ 22 Road
=BLM 34-8-36 @ Galice Road (east end of Bear Camp)
-The National Guard is being logistically supported by Jackson County; the guard station in Agness will be utilized as a base camp operation for National Guard resources assigned to the Big Windy Complex.
Big Windy Operations Summary:
Firefighters will be working to reopen the old Biscuit fire line on the south end of the Big Windy fire as well as continuing structural protection efforts at the Black Bar Lodge and Zane Grey Cabin. Additional resources including firefighters, heavy equipment, and dozers are arriving; approximately fifteen twenty-person hand crews are assigned to the fire.
Spotting activity from the Jenny fire has been observed up to 1/3 of mile from the main fire boundary. There is concern that the spotting may cross the river in the Horseshoe Bend area. The fire currently remains south of the Rogue River.
Air Operations: A light and a heavy helicopter are currently assigned to the Big Windy Complex, with the possibility of receiving additional air support from the Labrador Fire. Numerous emergency response landing zones along the river have been identified. The inversion that is keeping smoke in the area is predicted to lift to 4000’ by 3 PM today, opening a window to allow for air resources to be utilized for fire operations.
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 Graves 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. The north part of the fire is within two miles of Winkel Bar on the Rogue River.
VALUES AT RISK: Boaters and campers on the Rogue River, Wild and Scenic River below Graves Creek, economic considerations associated with recreation, Black Bar Lodge (18 structures), Zane Grey Historical Cabin (9 structures), Marial Lodge, Rogue River Ranch, cultural resources, threatened & endangered species habitat, late successional reserves, fisheries and wildlife.
WEATHER: Temperatures 67-70 with winds N 5-7 mph and RH 42-47%. The potential for lightning today is low. The inversion is expected to lift to 4000’ by 3 PM today.
FIRE BEHAVIOR: The morning will remain smoky, but the inversion is expected to lift to 4000’ by 3 PM. Fire behavior is expected to be moderate, with some occasional flare ups in thicker fuels.
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, inactive and active mine shafts, ticks, hazard trees, poison oak, poor air quality, aviation operations, extreme fire behavior, and railroad crossings.
COOPERATING AGENCIES & PARTNERS: Oregon Department of Forestry, Medford District Bureau of Land Management, Josephine County, Curry County, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Jackson County.