Slater and Devil Fires Morning Update: September 21, 2020


The Slater fire is 148,583 acres and 18 percent contained. The Devil fire is also 18 percent contained and 7,458 acres. The Josephine County Sheriff’s office removed the Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation order for the Selma area. The residences next to Cave Junction city limits remain at Level 1. For more information, visit the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office website. The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s task forces continue to work with wildland crews focusing all of their efforts on establishing control lines.

Slater Fire: 

North Zone

Crews have been building containment and contingency lines along Highway 199 to protect Gasquet. They have been building defensible indirect lines, in case the fire tries spreading toward Gasquet. The team is staying as close to the fire as they can to keep the fire from growing, especially along Knopki Road. Some areas from Knopki Road to the east are inaccessible for building control lines along the fire. Firefighters will also use controlled fire to remove excess fuel. Next crews will extinguish heat along the perimeter using water and hand tools, known as mopping up. They continue widening the heat-free zones along the fire’s edge until the team is confident that the fire will not spread. West of Highway 199 crews have been working for three days building indirect control lines. Those lines run from Highway 199 then along Monkey Ridge and back around the top of the fire to Highway 199. When crews become available, they will improve those indirect lines and make them direct control lines using controlled fire. If crews can build a direct line there, it could save about 3,000 forested acres.

Firefighters are digging line all along the north side, south of Cave Junction, Takilma, Sun Star, and over to Browntown. Today's scouting reports showed that the team will need to burnout much less than originally expected east of Takilma. The fire's north most point has crews building direct control line. Fire managers are optimistic about the work there. The northeast section, south of Oregon Caves has indirect lines built to protect the monument.

South Zone

The Slater Fire continues to back downslope into the Thompson Creek drainage. It has stayed on the west side of Thompson Creek, and crews are working to contain it along the road system there. The rest of the Slater Fire South Zone has largely transitioned to mop-up and patrol status. Some evacuations were lowered today; the EVACUATION WARNING has been lifted for Happy Camp proper, Elk Creek area, and Seiad proper. This does not include Indian Creek Road or Indian Creek Meadows. All roads in the evacuated area are remain closed.

Devil Fire: 

On the Devil fire, crews are building direct line on the north side to the west. They plan on connecting those lines into the areas that have already been burned. On the south end engines will continue to patrol and mop-up along Highway 96. Focus of effort and resources is primarily on clearing hazard trees up the Grayback Road in the interior of the fire area. Crews continued working to stay ahead of the Devil Fire, as it backs slowly into Goff Creek. Residences in the area have been well protected. With so much cold line around the southern perimeter of the Slater Fire, fire managers have been able to shift resources from the south zone to previously unstaffed areas on the fire to the north.