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Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name: Riverside, Oregon
  • State: OR
  • Lead Agency: MHF
  • Size (acres): 138,029
  • Percent Contained: 37%
  • Estimate of Containment: October 31, 2020
  • Personnel: 469
  • Structures Destroyed: 53

Riverside, Mt. Hood NF, USFS. One mile southeast of Estacada, OR. Closed timber litter. Minimal fire behavior with creeping and smoldering. Several communities and infrastructure threatened. Evacuations, area, road and trail closures in effect.

September 30, 2020 at 9:34 PM

A strong ridge of high pressure is anchored over the State and will continue to deliver unseasonably warm and dry weather.  Light easterly winds in the morning will become terrain driven by the afternoon and strong morning inversions will be in place.  Smoke from California wildfires could impact the area today. Vegetation will also continue to dry out, but fire behavior will be limited due to recent precipitation.  Large logs, deep duff and sheltered areas will continue to retain heat. The fire activity will continue to be creeping, smoldering, and some smoke will be visible.  Growth of the fire is not anticipated due to effects of the moisture we received last week. Humidity levels are expected to remain low with predicted levels as low as 15% at higher elevations.

Yesterday:  Firefighters continued to monitor and patrol the fire perimeter and directly engage where heat is encountered near the fireline.  In addition, mop-up and improvement of fire lines continued with vegetation removal.  Mop-up is when fire crews work by hand checking for any sources of heat, using hand tools to spread out debris and water to extinguish any smoldering fire activity, ensuring the areas along the fire perimeter are out and cold.  On the north side of the fire, equipment operators completed line improvement.  East winds combined with low relative humidity continued to dry out fuels and produced additional smoke, however no fire perimeter growth occurred.

Today’s ActivitiesOn the west side of the fire, firefighters are continuing to mop-up areas at risk by improving handlines and dozer lines. On the southern end, patrols will continue to mop-up areas and minimize fire risks.  Efforts in the eastern end include chipping operations to reduce vegetation. The focus of firefighter patrol is to ensure hazard trees are removed, address vegetative debris smoldering near structures and improve firelines. Heavy equipment work continues along roads with chippers and masticators to improve existing containment and contingency firelines on the south and west side of the fire. The northeastern portion of the fire will be monitored by air.  The fire perimeters on Riverside and Beachie Creek Fires total approximately 800 miles in length.  This is a comparable distance to the drive between Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah.   

Despite recent rains and cooler temperatures fire season and regulated-use closure are still in effect for lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in Clackamas, Marion, and Linn counties.  Backyard burning is prohibited during fire season; other restrictions for outdoor activities can be found at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/PFR.html.

Evacuations: All evacuation levels have been lifted for the Riverside Fire by Clackamas County.

September 16, 2020 at 9:05 PM

Firefighters continue to work from the North Fork Reservoir near the community of Estacada to the Dickie Prairie area along the southwest edge of the fire, a stretch of more than 28 miles. This work includes continued efforts in the Goat Mountain area to build line in rugged terrain as well as beginning the process of ‘cold-trailing’ areas where fireline has been in place for several days. Cold trailing is when firefighters take off their gloves and use their bare hand to feel for heat. If they feel heat, firefighters will continue to break up the heat source until it’s out and cold to the touch. If needed, they may also trench, or dig a small ditch below the fire on a hillside to catch any rolling debris that may hold heat.

“We currently have over 500 personnel assigned to the Riverside Fire including handcrews, engines, and bulldozers,” said Deputy Incident Commander, Dave Bales. “Their tireless work has helped us reach 3% containment as we continue to focus on protecting local communities.”

Yesterday a ‘slopover’ occurred on the west side of the fire when the fire crossed a control line. This morning firefighters plan to conduct a ‘burn-out’ operation in the Engstrom Rd area to help limit the fire’s spread to the west. This burn-out is a strategy to continue to starve the fire of fuel, burning out vegetation between the slopover and the main body of fire to help reduce the threat of fire spread in this area. An increase in smoke or fire may be visible from the areas of Elwood and Old Colton during this operation.

Despite forecasted rain in other parts of Oregon, the fire area will continue to remain dry with no measurable precipitation anticipated for several days. The weather, combined with record dry forest conditions, will continue to allow the fire to slowly creep in remote and backcountry areas such as the Roaring Fork Wilderness.

September 14, 2020 at 10:38 AM

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has extended the AIR QUALITY ADVISORY for the entire State of Oregon due to smoke levels that are fluctuating between unhealthy for sensitive groups and hazardous.

Fire

Fire crews took advantage of the smoke blanket and cooler temperatures this weekend. Fire growth and activity on large fires remain limited compared to the wind events of last week. Holiday Farm continues to burn internally through a dense understory. Beachie Creek and Lionshead have merged, and both still have pockets of unburned fuel along the northern edge where there is minimal safe access. Riverside is the most active of the large fires, continuing to make small runs internally as it aligns with rugged terrain and light winds. These cooler temperatures and high nighttime humidities will continue to moderate activity today.

Smoke

This morning the smoke layer will be joined by a dense band of fog pushing inland. This window of reduced visibility should improve by afternoon as the fog breaks up. Unfortunately, the area concentrations of smoke will linger until later in the week when the next chance of wind and moisture arrives. Gradual improvement of dense concentrations throughout the day, moving from hazardous to very unhealthy for a few hours. Smoke will pool back into the valley in the evenings under the inversion.

September 13, 2020 at 7:49 PM

Crews are also working on the north end of the fire above the North Fork Reservoir and looking at opportunities to move towards the east. Lots of scouting is happening today around other areas of the fire in preparation as we begin to receive more resources. The Incident Management Team (IMT) will be coordinating with IMTs on the Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires to the south to coordinate containment efforts.

Today firefighters will be using two unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or drones) to assess fire conditions from the air. Helicopters will begin working as soon as visibility allows.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect. Do not fly drones near wildfires. If you fly, we can’t. All firefighting aircraft will all be grounded if a drone is spotted in the area. knowbeforeyoufly.org/uasandwildfires/ and nifc.gov/drones.

This evening the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office is dropping the evacuation level for the Cities of Canby, Oregon City and Sandy from Level 2 (“Set”) to Level 1 (“Ready”) based on current fire activity and firefighter progress in securing hotspots near these communities. This decision was prompted by recommendations from the Riverside Fire Incident Management Team based on current fire activity and firefighter progress in securing hotspots near these communities.
Details: https://www.clackamas.us/sheriff/2020-09-12-CCSOPR-FireEvacLevelReduction.html IMPORTANT: There are NO reductions in Level 3 (“Go”) areas at this time.

Widespread dense wildfire smoke will continue over the fire area. More information at oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.

Evacuations

Evacuation Information: https://twitter.com/ClackCoSheriff and https://www.clackamas.us/wildfires or 503-655-8224

Closures

There are numerous road closures in the greater Clackamas County area. Please avoid the area and leave the roads for evacuation and response crews. Utilize TripCheck.com for updates.

The Mt. Hood National Forest is currently under a full Forest closure including all campgrounds, roads, trails, and other areas. The public is asked not to drive or park within National Forest lands. Various businesses have made parking available in their lots. Visit the Clackamas County website at https://www.clackamas.us/wildfires for information on where parking might be available.

All Bureau of Land Management lands affected by this fire are closed to the public. More info: https://www.blm.gov/press-release/extreme-fire-activity-prompts-closure-bureau-land-management-lands-northwestern-oregon