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Fire at a glance (numbers)

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Chetco Bar, Rogue River – Siskiyou NF. Sixteen miles west of Selma, OR. Timber and brush.

October 21, 2017 at 11:25 AM

This will be the last daily update for the Chetco Bar Fire. Updates will be produced as significant events occur and be available online.

The entire fire area received over an inch and a half of rain by the evening of 10/19 with more forecasted through the weekend. The rain will help to extinguish the remaining areas of heat scattered within the perimeter of the fire. However, fire officials will continue to monitor the fire closely as the thick canopy in some areas could shelter heat sources allowing them to pop back up when the area begins to dry out.

Firefighters and equipment are returning to the field after a day of standing down for safety concerns due to the weather. They will resume work grading roads, finalizing suppression repair work, removing additional hazard trees brought down by high winds, and implementing Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) projects.

Fire personnel will monitor the FR240 Road for any potential hotspots.
Traveling through and working in the fire area during and after periods of high winds and heavy rains is especially dangerous with the weakened and potentially burnt tree root systems. There is also an increased possibility for land or mud slides where hillsides were burnt and the dirt is no longer secured by vegetation.

Closures

Fire officials urge the public to stay out of all areas within the Forest closure; many hazards still exist with more likely being created by the fall and winter storms. A link to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest closure order narrative and map is below.

Weather

Scattered showers are forecasted to continue through the weekend with a warming and drying trend predicted for early next week.
BAER

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team, which was comprised of US Forest Service, National Park Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees, compiled a report based on field surveys with the goal to minimize threats to life or property and stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and cultural resources resulting from fire effects. A video explaining their findings is available on the Forest FaceBook page. For more on BAER Team activities and their findings, go to the “Chetco Bar Post-Fire BAER” Inciweb page.

September 14, 2017 at 8:29 AM

On Wednesday, the most significant fire activity in the Chetco Bar East Zone was in the north end of the fire perimeter. Smoldering, creeping, short uphill runs and single tree torching were observed near the horseshoe of the Illinois River. Fire crews and masticators are working on completing reopened Biscuit fireline to the east.

The 784 Fire (Indigo Fire), on the West Fork of Indigo Creek was also active yesterday. This fire is approximately 182 acres. It was detected on Monday, September 11th and is located approximately 10 miles north of the Chetco Bar Fire. Helicopters dropped water through the day to reduce its spread. Hand crews, dozers and a masticator continue to prepare the 055 and 510 roads to create a fireline to its east side. Crews on the 784 Fire/Indigo Fire will spend the next two nights in a spike camp near their work area to reduce exposure from driving long distances to the main fire camp.

Today, two crews will complete handline construction in spiny, rocky areas along the ridge west of the headwaters of Parker Creek. The crews will return to fire camp tonight after staying in a spike camp for the past two nights. East of the fire, crews, supported by heavy equipment including a feller buncher, are widening and improving the dozer line along Chrome Ridge and moving north toward Bear Camp. Fire crews are preparing line to Bear Camp from Galice, which provide containment lines for the Chetco Bar and the 784 Fire/Indigo Fire.

Fire crews plan to complete brushing out fireline from the west side of Tennessee Mountain to Woodcock Peak. Work along the Illinois River Road using a masticator is nearly complete. Personnel are scouting locations for fire line near the California boarder to tie in with dozer lines in the west zone.

Today’s high temperatures will be down 2-4 degrees with a high of 77 degrees on ridges. Relative humidity (RH) will decrease, with the minimum RH forecast at 25%. Winds will be light in the morning, forecast out of the north/northwest with little instability in the atmosphere. Wind gusts between 15-20 mph on ridges are forecast for tonight as a dry cold front moves into the area.

Smoke: There were areas of “moderate” smoke settling in the Illinois River Valley on Wednesday afternoon, which should continue for Cave Junction and Grants Pass today. Unusually sensitive individuals should consider limiting prolonged or heavy exertion. For current air quality information and forecasts go to http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.

Closures and Restrictions: Many areas and activities are closed or restricted due to current and expected fire activity and hazard. More details are available on https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/5385/ People can view maps of the current Evacuation Notification areas at http://arcg.is/1LmzPe.

August 30, 2017 at 8:46 AM

Significant Events: Extreme, Wind Driven Runs, Torching, Crowning. Several areas active on the north, south, and east perimeter Most active area to the east near Johnson Butte put a column up to 16,000 ft. and made a run 3.5 miles to the Northeast in the Biscuit scar. Brush available to burn, some reburn in previously scorched areas of brush. Eastern flank of the fire is poised to burn east, out of Kalmiopsis Wilderness toward private lands further east.

Planned Actions: Branch I: Implement point protection strategies that have a high probability of success. Continue to prep and identify indirect line, as well as coordination with wildland and structural resources. Begin mop up opportunities around structures.
Branch II: Continue with direct dozer line and handline. Plumb and prepare direct lines for mop up. Continue to scout and prepare contingency lines as well as scout for containment lines north and west of fire.
Branch III: Scout for direct and indirect lines to the north and east. Build direct and indirect lines where possible. Continue to monitor fire spread to the north – northest as the perimeter encroaching on the wilderness boundary. Strategic planning is continuing to develop alternatives in this area. Begin assessment of private with holdings to the east.

August 23, 2017 at 10:16 AM

The Chetco Bar Fire is operating with a unified command structure that includes Oregon State Fire Marshal, U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry and Coos Forest Protection Association. This team continues working with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Operations Center. This unified team recognizes that every home and acre across the landscape has value to the community and are working to protect these values.

The fire growth was minimal yesterday. The same is expected today because of favorable weather. The fire is still about 5.2 miles northeast of Brookings. The public is asked to avoid the fire affected area and watch for fire crews and heavy equipment enroute to and from the fire line.

Actions: Firefighters made progress yesterday and overnight, building direct and contingency indirect line on the south and southwestern flank of the fire including establishing dozer line and working around structures to improve defensible space. Today, fire crews will continue to take advantage of the cooler air and higher relative humidity (RH) to improve and extend containment lines and continue to work around structures.

Weather: Yesterday’s weather patterns of cooler air and higher relative humidity (RHs) is expected through Thursday, along with the light to moderate afternoon and evening sea breezes. Areas of fog and low clouds this morning will clear back to the coast this afternoon. One more night of excellent humidity recovery is expected tonight, with a deep marine layer ahead of an approaching weak cold front. Cool high pressure will build into the Pacific Northwest behind this front, presenting another round of gusty north to northeast winds Thursday night into Friday. Onshore flow is expected to return Sunday or Monday, returning to the region’s typical weather.

Smoke and haze will continue to be visible along Gold Beach and Brookings-Harbor as there’s little air movement. That is expected to change as soon as the coastal winds pick up in the afternoon. Rogue River valley and Gold Beach will see unhealthy levels throughout the day. Highway 101 will have limited visibility as smoke infiltrates along the coast. For more info about air quality, please visit the Oregon Smoke Blog: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Evacuations: For current information on areas under an evacuation please visit our interactive map. Yesterday, portions of the evacuation area was reduced to a Level 2, allowing residents in the fire affected area from Cape Ferrello Road and Carpenterville Road north to Pistol River and east and west off Carpenterville Road to return to their homes. Residents returning to their homes in Level 2 evacuation areas can obtain re-entry forms at established check points with verifiable proof of residency. Re-entry forms are no longer available at Ray’s Market. The Red Cross is continuing to staff an emergency evacuation shelter at Riley Creek Elementary in Gold Beach 94350 6th St. Gold Beach, OR. (541)-600-6068. There is no shelter in Brookings.

Community Meeting: A community meeting is being planned at Gold Beach this evening. The time and location will be announced later today.

August 21, 2017 at 8:46 AM

A community meeting regarding the Chetco Bar Fire will be held in Brookings at Azalea Middle School, 505 Pacific Ave. Monday August, 21th between 6:00 – 7:00 pm. Incident Management personnel will provide an update on fire activity, operations and evacuations.

Extreme, wind driven runs, long-range spotting. Significant fire growth to the southwest across the Chetco River.

Continued fire growth to the southwest. Northeast portion of fire will also grow, but at a much lower rate. Rolling materials on steep slopes have potential to trigger short uphill runs. Coastal inversion strength and duration will influence fire behavior.

August 13, 2017 at 10:28 AM

The Chetco Bar Fire is located in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. There has been moderate fire growth in the Mt. Billingslea area, with an approximate fire acreage of 5,328.

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The Chetco Bar Fire is within the 2002 Biscuit Fire and the 1987 Silver Fire footprints. Fuels burning are mainly large downed snags, grass and understory, with some single tree torching. The fire is naturally burning in a mosaic pattern, leaving behind a mixture of unburned fuel islands, moderately burned areas and some high severity burn areas. The fire is being corralled by natural barriers such as streams and rocky outcroppings. Firefighters will engage the fire when appropriate and it is safe to do so. Crews continue wood-chipping operations and contingency line construction outside the Kalmiposis Wilderness boundary.

Closures:
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (RRSNF) has trail closures in place for the health and safety of public and firefighters. Please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/rogue-siskiyou/alerts-notices for all forest orders including those that pertain to the Chetco Bar Fire. The forest asks all recreators to “Know before you go.” Check with local ranger districts for updated closure information.

Public Use Restrictions:

Because of heightened fire activity the RRSNF will be moving into Stage 2 Public Use Restrictions beginning 12:01 a.m. on August 14, 2017 in all Wilderness Areas except for the Siskiyou Wilderness, through October 31, 2017 (unless sooner rescinded). With the inclusion of Wilderness Areas in the Stage 2 Restrictions, visitors to those areas will no longer be allowed to build campfires, although the use of propane and liquid-powered commercial stoves will be permitted. Smoking in a wilderness area will only be allowed in an area that is clear of vegetation and measures at least 3 feet in diameter, or while aboard watercraft on waterways.

Air quality is expected to be “moderate” today and tomorrow with the exception of Gold Beach, which is expected to be “good.”

August 5, 2017 at 11:34 AM

Photo T. Vernon

The Chetco Bar Fire, located in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, remains at 4,228 acres. A combination of no scheduled Infrared (IR) flight and smoke and fog over the fire yesterday did not allow for updated acreage.

The low pressure system over the southern Oregon area will bring cooler temperatures along with a more unstable atmosphere which may improve dispersal of smoke. Smoke from the fire is expected to drift to the southwest then pushing to the east or northeast in the afternoon. The air quality index in communities around the fire is expected to be good today and tomorrow. Smoke drift may be visible in Grants Pass, Cave Junction, Selma and Provolt but air quality is expected to be good overall. For more information, please visit the Oregon Smoke Blog: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

The Chetco Bar Fire was reported on July 12, 2017 at approximately 1:43 p.m. The initial size-up of the fire was 1/4 acre burning in the 2002 Biscuit Fire and 1987 Silver Fire scars located in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, roughly six air miles west of Pearsoll Peak and north of the Chetco River.

A rappel crew was dispatched and arrived on the fire that day. Due to the extremely steep, rugged and inaccessible terrain, typical of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, operations were limited to creating a helispot for insertion of two crews to scout the fire. The rappel crews were unable to safely engage the fire and were flown out the following day, July 13, 2017.

Photo T. Vernon

Because of the risk to firefighter safety, low probability of success of a direct attack strategy and minimal values at risk, fire personnel are currently focused on constructing contingency lines, conducting reconnaissance for access, scouting safe entry points, locating natural features for containment opportunities, protecting wilderness values and developing a long term plan for safely engaging the fire.

Fire managers recognize the Chetco Bar Fire will likely be a long term event. It is being managed under a suppression strategy using a mixture of direct, indirect and point protection tactics when and where there is a high probability of success. Fire personnel will engage the fire at the appropriate time and location, while keeping public and firefighter safety as our top priority.

Vegetation: The fire is primarily burning on steep slopes in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. The area is comprised of mixed conifer and deciduous forest, brush and snags from the 2002 Biscuit Fire and 1987 Silver Fire. The fire is burning in areas of fire scar and islands that were previously unburned. The combination of down, dead fuels with a newly cured grass makes the terrain quite hazardous for firefighters. Fire behavior is moderate with isolated tree torching.

Closures: Forest Service Road (FSR) 4103-087 from the beginning of the gated road west to the terminus at Chetco Pass, Trail 1117 and all of its tributary trails from its junction with Trail 1124 west to Tincup Creek, Trail 1124 and all of its tributary trails from its junction with FSR 087 northwest to its terminus at Mount Billingslea Summit and Trail 1125 and all of its tributary trails from Pearsoll Peak Trailhead north to its junction with Trail 1124. For more information and details regarding the closures, please visit the Forest’s website at http://bit.ly/2ufMQWb.