Big Windy Complex - Morning News Release
Incident: Big Windy Complex Wildfire
Fire Information Update
Monday, August 5, 2013 - 9:00 PM PDT
Big Windy Complex: 9,192 acres total
-Jenny Fire: 2,678 acres
-Calvert Peak Fire: 163 acres
-Big Windy Fire: 6,351 acres
Highlights for the Big Windy Complex:
-Last evening’s infrared flight showed two spots north of the Rogue River from the Jenny Fire in the northern area of the Big Windy Complex. Infrared is the best aerial tool available to identify areas with heat. The best tool on the ground to confirm that the spots are truly there is the firefighters; therefore, firefighters will scout the area thoroughly today. If spots are identified, a strategic plan has been made for suppression actions, keeping firefighter safety the #1 priority.
-A level 2 evacuation notice is 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.
-Operations will continue with the direct/indirect strategy as progress is made with containment lines, prepping for burnout, and conducting burnout operations. This approach is estimated to require approximately one week to implement; however, weather conditions greatly influence when and how burning operations are conducted.
-Weather conditions permitting, there will be burnout operations along the SW corner of the Big Windy fire. Burnout is used to reduce the fuels between the containment line and the fire, thus minimizing the potential for fire to move across existing containment lines. In addition to conducting the burnout, firefighters will monitor closely for any potential spotting that may occur.
-Fire crews remain assigned to the Horseshoe area to respond to spots identified on the IR map and any additional fire activity N of the Rogue River.
-To support the firefighters on the line, 8 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 for emergency medical response and transport.
-Equipment is being washed to reduce the spread of noxious weeds specific to work areas and assignments.
-Estimated containment date for the Big Windy Complex is September 1, 2013.
Big Windy Complex Operations Summary:
Ground Operations: Firefighters have made excellent progress with containment lines in all divisions, and will look for opportunities for secondary containment lines on the SE flank of the fire. Yesterday, on the SW flank, firefighters contained a “slopover” in the old Biscuit Fire scar and began burnout operations last night. At the Black Bar Lodge, crews are in place and prepared to start firing operations to create a blackened area around the lodge to help protect it. At Zane Grey’s cabin, crews will prep today for a burnout operation. Crews and heavy equipment operators are working 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.
Air operations: Air support continues to be hampered by limited visibility due to the persistent inversion and smoky conditions. Two heavy and two light helicopters are assigned to the incident today as conditions allow, with additional helicopters available from the Oregon Department of Forestry.
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 Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and the Curry County Sheriff’s Office are providing staffing at the closure points and signs are in place.
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.
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: Smoky early, then becoming partly cloudy with continued low level instability. Maximum temperatures 75-84 ridges, max Rh 70-80% valleys, 45 to 55% ridges and mid slope. North- northeast wind 6-10 mph ridges, downslope/down valley 2-6 mph in valleys.
FIRE BEHAVIOR: Fire behavior will be similar to yesterday. Expect surface fire, single and group tree torching as the relative humidity and fuel moistures remain low. Higher probability of ignition with some spotting and short runs are expected.
RESOURCES ASSIGNED: 6 Type 1 hotshot crews, 16 Type 2 hand crews, 2 heavy helicopters, 2 light helicopters, 31 engines, 10 dozers and 13 water tenders, 3 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.