Sunday, July 24, 2016

Firefighters continue to make progress on Scott Canyon Fire

Firefighters spent the day improving the fireline on the Scott Canyon Fire and mopping up hotspots. They successfully held the line on the Scott Canyon Fire through the afternoon winds today. The fire is still 33,587 acres, and is now 75% contained. Fire officials expect full containment tomorrow.

Firefighters will continue mopping up for the next several days. The area also contains a lot of steep narrow canyons with unburned fuel. People in the area should expect to see smoke from the interior for quite awhile.

Firefighters spend a lot of time watching out for dangerous fire situations, and hiking up and down steep hills in rough, rocky terrain. On the Scott Canyon they're watching out for wildlife as well! This rattlesnake came out into the warm ash!

Scott Canyon Fire - morning update

Condon, Ore. – Yesterday crews made good progress on the Scott Canyon fire using engines, hand crews, dozers, air resources, and burn out operations.  It is currently 9 miles Northwest of Condon and burning on BLM and Gilliam County protected lands. Mapping late yesterday put the fire at 33,587 acres and 55% contained. It has come to within 200 feet of Highway 206. Fire crews will continue to monitor and secure all lines and begin mop up along the edges.  The public may see residual smoke and small columns within the fire perimeter in areas of unburned fuels.
Early last night Scott Canyon fire resources responded to a new start located in Cottonwood Canyon State Park.  Incident 369 was contained at five acres.  The State Park does remain open.
The cause of both Scott Canyon Fire and Incident 369 are still under investigation.
Enjoy your public lands but make sure to follow fire restrictions that are in effect for both Bureau of Land Management and Gilliam County. Campfires and charcoal fires are banned, and visitors should only use gas or propane stoves. 

The Scott Canyon Fire moved rapidly up the steep canyons of the John Day River, threatening wheat fields and other crops. Smoke will be visible from some of these interior canyons for awhile.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Scott Canyon Fire update

The Scott Canyon fire started on Thursday July 21, 2016.  It is currently burning about 9 miles Northwest of Condon and is approximately 31,000 acres.  It is burning on BLM and Gilliam County protected lands.  A unified command has been established and the fire has transitioned to a Type 3 Incident Management Team today.
Air and ground resources are actively working to stop the fire spread. Five Single Engine Air Tankers, and one Fire Boss (a small airtanker that scoops water from large lakes and rivers) have been assisting crews on the ground. In addition, a Type 1, and 2 Type 2 Helicopters have been providing bucket drops. Almost 100 personnel are working to control this incident.

The most active area of the fire is currently the Southwest section in the Tenmile and Hay Creek canyon areas, burning towards Highway 206. It is predominately burning in light grassy fuels in the canyons and threatening wheat fields on the flat ground above the canyons. No structures are threatened at this time. Cottonwood Canyon State Park is open.
It is anticipated that we will have a warming trend over the next few days, which will keep fuels dry and available for active burning and potential for increased fire behavior.
Fire restrictions are in effect for both Bureau of Land Management and Gilliam County. Campfires and charcoal fires are banned, and visitors should only use gas or propane stoves.  We also ask that people be cognizant of increased fire traffic and possibility of smoke impacts if driving Highway 206.

Fire Crews working Scott Canyon Fire near Condon, Oregon

Firefighters with Gilliam County and the Bureau of Land Management have been coordinating fire suppression efforts on the Scott Canyon Fire, which started Thursday afternoon near the John Day River north of Condon, Oregon. Winds yesterday afternoon caused the fire to grow rapidly in the steep canyons of the John Day River country. The fire was mapped this morning at 32, 850 acres.

The fire is burning in light grassy fuels in the canyons, and threatening wheat fields on the flat ground above the canyon rims. Gilliam County has been coordinating structure protection for the scattered ranches in the area, while wildland firefighting crews have been working with helicopters and Single Engine Air Tankers to stop the fire's progress.

A Type 3 Incident Management Team (Priest) will assume command of the fire today and will continue to operate under unified command with Gilliam County.

Crews will continue to be challenged by the steep slopes, light and dry fuels, and afternoon gusty winds. Central Oregon is in a drying and warming trend, which will add to the potential for increased fire behavior, particularly in the afternoons.

The John Day River and Cottonwood Canyon State Park remain open at this time.

Although the fire is believed to be human-caused, the specific cause has not been identified and is being investigated. Fire officials want to remind visitors that fire restrictions are in place along the John Day River. Campfires and charcoal fires are banned, and visitors should only use gas or propane stoves. In addition, people traveling through on Highway 206 or 19 should watch for increased traffic due to fire vehicles in the area.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

July 4th weekend on your federal public lands in Central Oregon

IFPL 2 to go into effect next Wednesday, July 6

Central Oregon – As we approach July 4th weekend, federal land managers are asking for the public’s help in keeping your public lands safe. Leave fireworks and exploding targets at home, and be sure to properly extinguish all campfires.

Federal land managers will also raise the Industrial Fire Protection Level to level 2 beginning next Wednesday, July 6, at 12:01 am. IFPL 2, also known as “Partial Hootowl,” prohibits the use of chainsaws and other power equipment between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. (More information on IFPL can be found here).

While the upper elevations across Central Oregon are still green in many places, the lower elevations are drying out and weather predictions call for continued warming and drying trends.

Throughout the Central Oregon Fire Management Service area, there have been 101 wildfires so far this year that have burned close to 10,000 acres. Of those, 73 fires have been human-caused.

Last weekend, Central Oregon experienced three human-caused fires, the most visible last Sunday on the shore of Crane Prairie Reservoir. On Monday, a human-caused fire started near Allen Creek horse camp on the Ochoco National Forest and grew to half an acre.

Earlier in the season, Central Oregon experienced two large fires along river corridors. Annual campfire restrictions along the Deschutes, John Day and Crooked Rivers, as well as on BLM-administered lands along Lake Billy Chinook, remain in effect.

Remember: possessing, discharging, or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device on National Forest System lands is prohibited year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays. Fireworks and exploding targets are banned on BLM-administered lands in Oregon from May 27, 2016 to October 14, 2016

Visitors are encouraged to enjoy one of the many community fireworks displays that will be offered throughout Central Oregon on the Fourth of July. 
Visitors to public lands should always use caution to prevent human-caused wildfires. To reduce the risk, please consider the following:

  • Fireworks are never allowed on federal public lands during summer months. Even smaller devices like sparklers can start fires.

·         Before going camping, learn of any fire restrictions in place and never leave a campfire unattended. Build campfires in cleared open areas, and keep water and a shovel nearby. Make sure campfires are out and cool to the touch before leaving the area.

  • When smoking, always dispose of cigarette debris in some type of an ashtray.
  • Avoid driving and parking in tall grass or on roads with heavy fine fuels accumulations. Exhaust particles, hot exhaust pipes and hot catalytic converters can start grass fires. Maintain proper tire pressure. Driving on exposed wheel rims can throw sparks.

  • Sparks from dragging chains, and exhaust from ATVs and motorcycles, can start grass fires. Spark arresters are required on all recreational and portable gasoline-powered equipment.

Our public lands are precious resources we all use and enjoy. This Fourth of July holiday, let the night skies be your show.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Akawana Fire Update - June 13

Oregon Department of Forestry
Incident Management Team 3
Link Smith, Incident Commander

Akawana Fire Update
June 13, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Note: This will be the final update from this team.
Sisters, OR –  Oregon Department of Forestry’s Type 1 Incident Management Team, led by Incident Commander Link Smith, will hand the fire over to a smaller type 3 organization tomorrow. The Team would like to thank the Sisters, Three Rivers and Grandview communities for their kind hospitality and support during our stay.

The size of the fire remains 2,094 acres and is now 80 percent contained.

While fire crews have reached at least 300 feet into the fire from the perimeter with mop up operations, residents may see smoke for several days from burning stumps and snags well within containment lines.

The Type 3 Team in place for the next few days is made up of about 140 firefighters and support staff. Equipment assigned to the fire with this team will include three engines, four tenders, two bull dozers, three skidgines and one helicopter. The fire camp will be moved to Oregon Department of Forestry’s Sisters sub-unit office.

Now that the smoke has cleared over the Akawana Fire, residents should continue to treat fire season with respect. Everyone is encouraged to follow current fire season restrictions to prevent human caused fires.

In addition, residents who live in the wildland urban interface, where communities border forests and grazing lands, should always be prepared before fire threatens communities. Have a plan that includes making arrangements for persons with special needs, livestock and pets. Learn more about the Ready Set Go Program at 

To stay up to date on fire information in central Oregon, please follow Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District on Facebook. Other valuable resources include,, and

The incident management team would also like to recognize and thank all cooperating agencies that assisted us in the complete and coordinated fire protection system on this fire. Agencies and partners included the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office and responding structural task forces from around the state, Lake Chinook Fire District, the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, Crooked River National Grasslands, PGE/Warms Springs Tribes Land Ownership, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Jefferson and Deschutes County Emergency Management.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Oregon Department of Forestry
Incident Management Team 3
Link Smith, Incident Commander

Akawana Fire Update
June 12, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Sisters, OR –  All evacuation notices for the Akawana Fire will officially be lifted at 10:00 a.m. today. Residents not only effected by this fire, but throughout Oregon, are encouraged to treat fire season as if they are under a level 1 evacuation notice by being ready and prepared in the event a fire impacts their community. Residents can get ready by assembling emergency supplies and belongings in a safe place, planning escape routes and ensuring all those residing within the home know the plan of action. Learn more by visiting
The fire has burned 2,094 acres and is currently 72 percent contained. Total firefighting costs at this point are about $2.3 million.
Firefighters anticipate another favorable day of weather for mop up operations into the fire’s interior. Stronger winds are expected to return to the area tomorrow, which will serve as a mild test for the fire staying within its current footprint. Crews working on this fire are also available to help local resources, should any new fires occur within the area.
Cooperating agencies assisting in the fire suppression effort include the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Jefferson and Deschutes County Emergency Management.     

For the latest updates on the fire, log on to