Willamette Fire Update: Horse Creek Complex, Rebel, Scorpion, Whitewater Fire, Potato Hill

Release Date: Sep 4, 2017  

Contact(s): Willamette Fire Information: 541-719-8371, InciWeb: inciweb.nwcg.gov/unit/3860/


Significant Fire Growth Expected with Clear Skies

All weather factors are lining up for significant fire growth today and Tuesday, due to a strong easterly flow across the Cascade Crest that should clear smoke from the area. When smoke clears, sunlight and heat can now reach the ground, producing increased fire activity. A Red Flag Warning for significant instability and low humidity - in place through Tuesday - will combine to produce conditions similar to early August when the Whitewater Fire doubled in size, and then tripled in size the following day.

The Whitewater Fire continues to produce smoke and haze impacting Breitenbush and Detroit. Smoke from the Jones, Rebel and Horse Creek Complex fires continues to impact the communities of Oakridge and Mckenzie Bridge.

If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted anywhere within the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) area, all aircraft must land until we can be sure the drone is clear of this area. As fires spread, the TFR area is expanded. More info: www.nifc.gov/drones.

Are You Doing The Right Thing, The Wrong Way? Lawn mowers, weed-eaters, chain saws, grinders, welders, tractors, and trimmers can all spark a wildland fire. Visit SmokeyBear.com for fire prevention tips.

Approximately 906 personnel are assigned to the fires listed below. Resources include hand crews, helicopters, engines, dozers, water tenders, masticators, feller-bunchers, and chippers under the management of a Type 1 Incident Management Team.

DETROIT RANGER DISTRICT – see Whitewater Fire on InciWeb for updates on the following fires

The SCORPION FIRE (284 ac) continues to grow to the north where it is burning in steep, inaccessible forest lands and heavy fuels. Crews will prepare line along Forest Service Road FSR 46 (Breitenbush Road) to Humbug Station. Structure protection efforts around summer homes continues using chippers. FSR 46, campgrounds and trailheads along the road are now closed beginning at the intersection with Forest Road 4696 and continuing slightly beyond the intersection with Forest Road 6350.

The WHITEWATER FIRE (10,544 ac) and LITTLE DEVIL FIRE (942 ac) are growing toward one another. Firefighters are shoring up the line on the west flank of the Whitewater Fire using hand tools and masticators. The FRENCH FIRE (2 ac) remains inactive.

Due to the Scorpion and Little Devil Fires, the Breitenbush Hot Springs Area including Humbug and Breitenbush Campgrounds, the Fox Creek and Cleator Bend Group Sites, and the Short Mountain and Bald Butte Trailheads is now in a Level 2 (Set) evacuation status. Sign up for Marion County Emergency Alerts at www.co.marion.or.us or call (503) 588-5108 for more info.

MCKENZIE RIVER RANGER DISTRICT – see Potato Hill, Rebel, & Horse Creek Complex on InciWeb for updates on the following fires

The HORSE CREEK COMPLEX (10,786 combined acres) includes the Avenue Fire, burning three miles southeast of McKenzie Bridge, and nearby wilderness fires Olallie Lookout, Separation, and Roney Fires. Firefighters are monitoring the wilderness fires by air and MODIS Thermal Satellite. Resources continue developing plans and constructing contingency lines to protect values at risk.

The SEPARATION FIRE (6,871 ac) is growing on all sides, and may merge with the spot fire northeast of the main fire.

The AVENUE FIRE (912 ac) continues to spread to the north and east. Structure protection crews are setting sprinkler systems around values at risk to increase humidity in the area, and are conducting assessments in the McKenzie Bridge area. Crews are preparing the Foley Springs area and scouting holding features.

Firefighters are monitoring the OLALLIE LOOKOUT FIRE (777 ac) and RONEY FIRE (2,226 ac) by air and MODIS Thermal Satellite.

Due to the Avenue Fire, the communities of Rainbow, McKenzie Bridge, and Belknap Springs as well as residents along East King Drive and North Bank Road and surrounding areas are in Level 1 (Ready) evacuation status. Sign up for Lane County Emergency Alerts at lanecounty.org/prepare or call the Lane County Sheriff’s Office for more info at 541-682-4150.

As the REBEL FIRE (7,157 ac) continues to spread to the north towards Yankee Mountain parallel to FSR 19 (Aufderheide Drive), resources continue to prepare line to keep the fire east of the road. If conditions are favorable, they may use firing operations as needed to hold the line. Firefighters continue to monitor and patrol the BOX CANYON FIRE (27 ac) and PETE FIRE (51 ac).

Crews begin mop-up operations within the perimeter of the POTATO HILL FIRE (199 ac), as the fire continues to smolder in heavy fuels. Smoke may impact Highway 20 visibility at night and early morning.

Given complexity of the current wildfire situation, availability of firefighting resources, limited ability to utilize aircraft when smoke impacts visibility, and safety concerns for working in steep and remote terrain, firefighters are focused on protecting values at risk where they can do so safely and effectively.