Hotshots made good progress in Murderers Creek Drainage, using aerial retardant drops and making use of terrain features. Crews were able to burn out along the 2150 (Aldridge Lookout) road as the main fire approached; pulling fire to the east. Firefighters are using dozers on the north end of the fire to build and clean firelines.
As the fire consumed dead and down juniper slash in Oliver Creek it created a very visible smoke column that radar showed topped out at 37,000 feet. Firefighters along the South Fork of the John Day River are making good progress.
Oregon National Guard joined the effort Saturday, bringing the number of Helicopters on the South Fork Complex to seven. Smoke continues to hamper air operations on the south end of the fire.
Weather & Fire Behavior
There is an increasing risk of thunderstoms through Tuesday and a Red Flag warnings has been announced for Sunday through Tuesday. Low afternoon relative humidity levels, along with poor overnight humidity recovery are expected.
The fire made short up-slope, up-canyon runs on Saturday. Firefighters observed spotting distances of about one-eighth of a mile. Fire behavior observed on Saturday is expected to continue through Sunday. In addition, downdrafts associated with thunderstorm activity may increase fire behavior for portions of the incident.
PNW Team 3 took command of the fire this morning. They worked together with their counterparts on Oregon Team 4 Saturday to transfer information and
equipment. The focus of firefighting efforts continues to be on minimizing the fire size to the extent possible on all jurisdictions, while providing for public and firefighter safety. Additional firefighting resources continue to arrive.
Air attack and hotshot crews will be focusing on establishing containment lines on the northwest fire perimeter. Helicopters will be dipping out of ponds on the north side of Aldridge. Residents of Dayville may see increased aviation activity including use of fixed wing aircraft. On the eastern perimeter, heavy equipment and hotshot crews are tying dozer line, handline and roads together. Firefighters are mopping-up and securing around Andy’s/Stewart’s Cabin. Crews will look for opportunities establish a secure containment line from the South Fork on the southeast perimeter. From there, they intend to tie into the Big Baldy Country where direct attack will be more effective because fire growth is checked. Along the western perimeter, crews will continue mopping-up and securing containment lines.
Crews will continue preparing primary and secondary containment lines on the fire perimeter. With the support of aviation resources, firefighters will use direct attack to hold fireline and slow the progress of the fire until indirect firelines can be constructed.
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 & 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 place for the area south of Deer Creek and east of the South Fork of the John Day River.
Additional Information, including maps, is available online at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4042/
South Fork Complex Fire information is also available at:
Facebook: South Fork Complex