Monday, August 11, 2014

South Fork Complex Fire Update 8/11/2014 ^NH

PNW Team 3 took command of the fire on Sunday morning. The transfer of information and equipment was very smooth. Firefighting continues to focus on minimizing the fire size to the extent possible on all jurisdictions, while providing for public and firefighter safety. Additional resources arrived on Sunday.
Air Attack and hotshot crews focused on establishing containment lines on the northwest fire perimeter. There was a heavy concentration of aerial firefighting using helicopters, heavy air tankers, Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATS), and a Very Large Air Tanker. A clear retardant line was established along the Juniper Ridge above Oliver Creek. With the wind coming out of the southeast, firefighters were able to access the southern edge of the fire from the South Fork of the John Day River, strengthening fire lines. Heavy equipment and hotshot crews tied handlines, dozer lines, and roads together on the east side of the fire. Firefighters are mopping up and securing lines around Andy’s/Stewart’s cabin. Lines were tied into the Big Baldy area where direct attack was more effective.

Weather and Fire Behavior
The risk of thunderstorms through Tuesday continue to be a concern for fire managers. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for today and Tuesday. Low relative humidity levels, along with poor overnight recoveries are expected. Winds are expected to shift more to the south on Monday and southwest on Tuesday. As the southerly winds flow up the river drainage and valleys, they can become more erratic causing the possibility of spotting ahead of the fireline.

Today’s Operations
Four Hotshot crews will continue constructing a direct line on the fire’s northwest side, and tying lines together. Crews will continue preparing primary and secondary containment lines on the fire perimeter along the south and east flanks. Firefighters will use direct attack, with aviation support, to hold fireline and slow the progress of the fire.

Given the predicted lightning, firefighters are prepared for initial attack and resources on the South Fork Complex will be shifted to initial attack as needed.

Closures and Evacuations
A level 1 evacuation remains in effect for the area south of Highway 26, west of Road 21 (Fields Creek) and east of Road 42 (South Fork of the John Day River). A level 1 evacuation is also in pace for the area south of Deer Creek and east of the South Fork of the John Day River.
A closure is in place on the Prineville BLM, Malheur National Forest and the Ochoco National Forrest surrounding the fires. All roads and trails are closed within the closure area. Closure information is available online at

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