Friday, June 30, 2017

Crews Finish Burnout Operations for Sheep Springs Fire

 Firefighter safety remains top priority as crews finalize burn out operations and begin mop up

Sisters –Firefighters are finishing burnout operations today and will begin mop up, extinguishing hot spots and fire along the perimeter. Yesterday, crews were able to successfully complete burnout operations using existing roads and constructed containment lines to create a secure perimeter. Interior areas will continue to burn producing smoke in the area.

Mop up operations along the perimeter will begin today cleaning up the line. The objective is to secure the lines while maintaining firefighter safety. Fire officials are managing the Sheep Springs Fire for full suppression using existing roads to create containment lines. By using existing roads, fire officials can reduce firefighters’ exposure to overhead hazards.

Currently the burned area is 406 acres. As the fire continues to burn within the containment area, the total acreage burned will reach 705 acres, which is the acreage within the perimeter of the fire. 

The Sheep Springs Fire, burning in an area previously burned by the B & B Fire in 2003, is located in an area predominantly covered in snags, which are often structurally weakened and pose a serious hazard for fire personnel. Due to the extremely hazardous nature of the incident’s location, Deschutes National Forest leadership and fire officials are implementing tactics that, most importantly, provide for firefighter and public safety.

There are currently no closures in effect for the Sheep Springs Fire. There will be increased fire traffic in the Metolius Basin area and around the town of Sisters. Bridge 99 along the Metolius River may be used as a dip site for helicopters should water drops become necessary. Access to roads around the fire perimeter may be limited on Friday during burnout operations.
A local Type 3 Incident Management Team took command of the fire on Tuesday morning. Current resources include 1 hotshot crew, 2 dozers, 2 Type-2 initial attack crews, 2 Type-2 handcrews, 2 water tenders, falling bosses and miscellaneous overhead.

The fire, a result of two lightning-struck trees, is burning approximately 20 miles north of Sisters in the Brush Creek drainage less than a mile northeast of Sheep Springs Campground and roughly a half mile west of Forest Road 12. The fire is approximately 406 acres and will continue to grow as fire continues to progress interior of the fire perimeter.

For up-to-the-minute wildfire information, follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire or follow our blog http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com.
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Firefighters Will Execute Burn Out Operations on Sheep Springs Fire Today

Planned Ignitions Begin This Morning To Secure Fire Lines

Sisters – Firefighters will begin a burn out operation this morning on the Sheep Springs Fire approximately 20 miles north of Sisters in the Brush Creek drainage on the Deschutes National Forest. The burn out could take up to two days to complete.

Fire personnel have spent two days constructing fire line by hand and with heavy equipment, and preparing roads for a burn out operation that will begin this morning. The Sheep Springs Fire is burning in the 2003 B & B Fire scar and now is in an area predominantly covered in snags, which are structurally weakened trees that pose a serious overhead hazard for firefighters. Indirectly suppressing the fire with a burn out operation allows firefighters to minimize their exposure to overhead hazards while consuming fuels between the active fire area and a containment lines.

There are currently no closures in effect for the Sheep Springs Fire. There will be increased fire traffic in the Metolius Basin area and around the town of Sisters. Bridge 99 along the Metolius River will be used as a dip site for helicopters should water drops become necessary. Access to roads around the fire perimeter may be limited on Thursday during burnout operations.

A local Type 3 Incident Management Team took command of the fire on Tuesday morning. Current resources include 1 hotshot crew, 2 dozers, 2 Type-2 initial attack crews, 2 Type-2 handcrews, 2 water tenders, several engines, falling bosses and miscellaneous overhead.

The Sheep Springs Fire has grown to 63 acres since it was discovered early Monday morning. The fire, a result of two lightning-struck trees, is burning approximately 20 miles north of Sisters in the Brush Creek drainage less than a mile northeast of Sheep Springs Campground and roughly a half mile west of Forest Road 12.

For up-to-the-minute wildfire information, follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire or follow our blog http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com.   

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Crews Continue to Prep Sheep Springs Fire For Burnout Operations

Firefighter safety remains top priority as crews create control lines around lightning fire burning in snags
Sisters –The Sheep Springs Fire has grown to 10 acres since it was discovered early Monday morning. The fire, a result of two lightning-struck trees, is burning approximately 20 miles north of Sisters in the Brush Creek drainage less than a mile northeast of Sheep Springs Campground and roughly a half mile west of Forest Road 12.
The Sheep Springs Fire, burning in an area previously burned by the B & B Fire in 2003, is located in an area predominantly covered in snags, which are often structurally weakened and pose a serious hazard for fire personnel. Due to the extremely hazardous nature of the incident’s location, Deschutes National Forest leadership and fire officials are implementing tactics that, most importantly, provide for firefighter and public safety.
Fire officials are managing the Sheep Springs Fire for full suppression using existing roads to create containment lines. By using existing roads for containment, fire officials can reduce firefighters’ exposure to overhead hazards. They plan to burn out the containment area Thursday.  
There are currently no closures in effect for the Sheep Springs Fire. There will be increased fire traffic in the Metolius Basin area and around the town of Sisters. Bridge 99 along the Metolius River will be used as a dip site for helicopters should water drops become necessary. Access to roads around the fire perimeter may be limited on Thursday during burnout operations.
A local Type 3 Incident Management Team took command of the fire on Tuesday morning. Current resources include 1 hotshot crew, 2 dozers, 2 Type-2 initial attack crews, 2 Type-2 handcrews, 2 water tenders, falling bosses and miscellaneous overhead.

For up-to-the-minute wildfire information, follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire or follow our blog http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com.   

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Industrial Fire Precaution Level Elevates to Level II



CENTRAL OREGON –Beginning Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 12:01 a.m., all lands managed by the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests and the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management will move to an Industrial Fire Precaution Level II (IFPL). This level restricts hours of operation for permitted commercial and industrial operations on public lands to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. and is known as a “partial hootowl.” The restrictions at this level apply to the use of power saws (except at commercial loading sites), cable yarding, blasting, welding, and cutting of metal.

Industrial Fire Precaution Levels are based on current and expected fire conditions. Fire precaution levels begin with Level I at the start of fire season and can increase to Level IV as the fire danger increases. It is the responsibility of the individual operating on public land to know the precaution level for the day and to take the correct fire precautions.

Fire conditions around Central Oregon have also prompted the Deschutes National Forest to increase the Fire Danger Rating level to HIGH. The Fire Danger Rating System lets recreational users and visitors to public lands know to increase their level of caution while in the forests or rangelands. Under HIGH conditions, smaller dead vegetation ignites easily and unattended campfires or debris fires are likely to escape. Any fire that starts could be difficult to control if not caught while small.

For more information about the Industrial Fire Precaution Level system, please visit the Deschutes National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/home/?cid=stelprdb5270159. Information on the IFPL or current restrictions can be obtained by contacting your Central Oregon Fire Use Information Line at 1-800-523-4737.


For up-to-the-minute wildfire information, follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire.  

Video of Sheep Springs Fire area, 6/27/17 (9 a.m.)

video

Crews Begin Preparations For Burnout on Sheep Springs Fire in Metolius Basin


Firefighter safety is top priority for strategy in controlling lightning fire burning in B & B Fire Scar

Sisters – Early Monday morning, June 27, two lightning fires were identified burning in the Brush Creek drainage in the Metolius Basin on the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest. Incident #340, reported Sunday night, and Incident #341, burning directly adjacent to each other, merged to create a 1-acre fire known as the Sheep Springs Fire. The fire is burning less than a mile northeast of Sheep Springs Campground and roughly a half mile west of Forest Road 12.

The Sheep Springs Fire, burning in an area previously burned by the B & B Fire in 2003, is located in an area predominantly covered in standing dead trees called snags. Due to the extremely hazardous nature of the incident’s location, firefighters will use indirect strategies to contain the fire, primarily from roads. This will minimize the need for firefighters to engage directly with in the fire in unsafe conditions.

Today, crews will be reinforcing containment lines and preparing the area for burnout operations. Firefighters are looking to complete burnout operations tomorrow or Thursday.

There are currently no closures in effect for the Sheep Springs Fire. There will be increased fire traffic in the Metolius Basin area and around the town of Sisters. Bridge 99 along the Metolius River will be used as a dip site for helicopters should water drops become necessary.

A local Type 3 Incident Management Team took command of the fire on Tuesday morning. Current resources include Prineville Hotshots, a dozer and overhead personnel. Numerous resources have been ordered, including 2 Type 2 initial attack crews, 2 Type 2 handcrews, 10 engines, water tender and fall bosses.

For up-to-the-minute wildfire information, follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire or follow our blog http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Fire Danger Level is now HIGH on Central Oregon Public Lands

June 23, 2017

CENTRAL OREGON
– Hot and dry temperatures have prompted fire officials for the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland along with the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Manager to raise the fire danger to HIGH.
With some of the hottest temperatures of the year forecasted this weekend, the public is reminded that conditions across Central Oregon have dried light fuels like grass and are quickly drying brush, making them easy to ignite. Fire officials encourage the public to be diligent about ensuring all cigarette butts are properly extinguished in an ashtray or dish of water and spark arrestors are in place on all motorized equipment. Additionally, all motorized recreationists should park in areas cleared of vegetation – the undercarriage of a vehicle can be hot enough to start a fire.
While fire restrictions are not yet in place on most public lands in Central Oregon, make sure that campfires are built in areas void of light fuels such as grass and that you have an adequate amount of water to ensure that it is ‘dead out’ when you leave the area or go to bed at night. Be sure to ‘Know Before You Go’ if you can have a campfire as seasonal campfire restrictions are already in place on portions of the Deschutes, John Day and Crooked Rivers as well as on BLM-administered lands along Lake Billy Chinook.
For up-to-the-minute wildfire information, follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire.
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

6/25/20171:50 p.m. Update on the Oak Springs Fire (#326) on the Deschutes River


Contact:  Media Desk:  541-316-7711           Email:  Centralorfireinfo@gmail.com

Twitter:  @CentralORfire                               Blog: CentralORfireinfo.blogspot.com
 

FIRE NEWS--Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center

For Immediate Release:  June 25, 2017 1:30 p.m.

Update

Oak Springs Fire on Deschutes River near Maupin

Maupin, Ore. – A fire located on BLM and private lands along the Deschutes River, approximately 3 miles north of Maupin is now named the Oak Springs Fire. It previously was fire #326. The fire has grown to approximately 375 acres. Originally reported to have jumped the river, the fire actually is only on the west side of the river canyon.

Firefighters worked into early morning on the fire to protect structures and take advantage of favorable conditions knowing today would bring significant drying to fuels and the potential for winds. Those efforts are paying off as the firefighters look at the possibility of having good containment on the fire this evening.

BLM wants all river rafters to be aware that helicopters will be dipping water out of the river to help fight the fire. Boaters may experience delays and should use caution when they see helicopters in the area.  In addition, the road to Oak Springs Fish Hatchery will be closed to the public today.

Resources on the fire include rural fire protection resources from Oak Springs, 2 helicopters (1 Type 1 and 1 Type 2), a twenty person hand crew, the Prineville Hotshots, 3 engines and miscellaneous overhead.

The fire is currently under investigation.

The public should be aware that given current hot weather, fuels continue to dry out rapidly. Over the next couple days abundant lightning with little moisture is expected making the potential for additional fire starts very high.

  

 

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

6/24/2017 8:30 p.m. New Fire on the Deschutes River Tonight

Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center


Contact:  Media Desk:  541-316-7711           Email:  Centralorfireinfo@gmail.com

Twitter:  @CentralORfire                              Blog: CentralORfireinfo.blogspot.com

 

FIRE NEWS--Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center

For Immediate Release:  June 24, 2017 8:15 p.m.

 
New Fire on the Deschutes River Tonight
 

Maupin, Ore. – A new, rapidly growing fire (#326) was located on the Deschutes River, approximately 3 miles north of Maupin, at approximately 6 p.m. this evening.  The fire jumped the river within an hour and was burning on both sides of the river canyon.

At this time, the fire has grown to approximately 100 acres. Firefighting resources quickly arrived at the fire with rural fire protection arriving first followed by the Prineville Hotshots, 3 engines, a heavy helicopter and air tankers. A twenty-person hand crew also is headed to the fire this evening.  Firefighters will work to contain the sides of the fire with assistance from the helicopter while air tankers dropped retardant fire on the top of the canyon to reduce spread of the fire. 

Favorable wind conditions were helping firefighters this evening; however fires within the canyon do have high potential for growth given wind and light, dry fuels.

 
-END-

Rhoades Canyon Fire Contained - evening update


Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center


Contact:  Media Desk:  541-316-7711                         Email address:  Centralorfireinfo@gmail.com

Twitter:  @CentralORfire                                                For more information visit: CentralORfireinfo.blogspot.com


FIRE NEWS--Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center

For Immediate Release:  June 24, 2017 5:00 p.m.
 

Rhoades Canyon Fire Contained

Central Oregon – As of this evening the Rhoades Canyon Fire, located 3 miles east of Clarno, Ore., is fully (100%) contained.

Most crews and other firefighting resources will be released from the fire at 6:30 p.m. this evening. Local county and rural fire protection firefighting resources and BLM firefighters and engines will continue to mop-up and patrol the fire over the next several days.

The final acreage for the fire, which burned primarily in brush and grass, is estimated at 15,200 acres. At the height of the fire almost 100 personnel were assigned to the fire, with crews, engines and aerial resources.

With ongoing heat over the weekend, fire managers warn that fuels are drying rapidly and the public needs to be taking extra precautions with campfires and avoid driving and parking cars on dry grasses. Lightning is expected following the weekend, which will likely result in several natural fire starts and will keep firefighters busy.

 

 

 

 

  

 

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Rhoades Canyon Fire - evening update

Firefighters spent the day holding and improving containment lines on the fire. The fire remains at 15,000 acres and is still 50 percent contained. Crews will work overnight and next morning completing the last sections of fire line.

Increasing temperatures and wind predicted for the next several days could challenge fire suppression efforts. Crews will not only focus on mopping up any hot spots near the fire's perimeter, but will also be watching for spot fires from any flare ups along the line.

ODOT continues to provide a pilot car to lead vehicles past the portion of the fire burning along Highway 218 east of the John Day River. At this time, delays are expected to be less than 20 minutes. The John Day River and nearby Clarno boat launch remain open. Helicopters are still using the river for dipping buckets; boaters should use caution when passing through the area.

Fire conditions are high throughout much of Central Oregon, with conditions on the John Day and Lower Deschutes Rivers approaching extreme. Know before you go - find out if fire restrictions are in place if you plan to head out camping and have a back up plan like a white gas or propane cook stove. Make sure all campfires are dead out when you go to bed or when you leave the campsite. Planning ahead let's you have a safe and fun vacation!

Rhoades Canyon Morning Fire Update

Firefighters have spent much of the past two days building containment line around the Rhoades Canyon Fire and burning out between the constructed line and the active fire. With the burnouts, the fire acreage has increased to 14,000 acres and containment has increased to 50%. The cause remains under investigation.


"Burning out" is a technique that allows firefighters to put containment lines in safer, more accessible areas such as roads, or along existing barriers like streams or rock slides. Firefighters then deliberately ignite a fire that burns between the line and the wildfire, which removes any pockets of unburned vegetation and prevents the main fire from spreading.


For the next day on the Rhoades Canyon Fire, firefighters will continue to construct fireline, as well as hold and improve existing containment lines. Concerns for the next burning period include increasing temperatures, low relative humidity, and afternoon winds that typically come through this area.


The Rhoades Canyon Fire is burning east of Clarno, Oregon, south of Hwy 218, and east of the John Day River. The river remains open and the Clarno boat launch is not affected; however, boaters should be aware that helicopters may be using the river to dip buckets. In addition, as needed, ODOT will provide a pilot car to bring people along Highway 218, with delays expected at less than 20 minutes.


As a reminder, conditions are getting hotter and drier in Central Oregon. Everyone recreating on public land should use caution and follow fire restrictions. Know before you go! Call ahead and find out what's allowed where you plan to recreate. In Central Oregon, fireworks and exploding targets like Tannerite are illegal on public lands and campfires and BBQs are prohibited along most BLM portions of the John Day, Lower Deschutes, Crooked and White Rivers.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rhoades Canyon Fire Update



Crews spent the night doing burnout operations to improve the containment line around the fire.  Firefighters will continue with burnout operations in the morning while temperatures remain cooler.  Firefighters will work to hold and improve containment lines. 

Helicopters and SEAT planes will continue to support suppression activities as needed.

The fire remains at 10,000 acres this morning and containment is at 30%. 

Concerns continue to be steep terrain, high temperatures, dry fuels, low relative humidity and afternoon winds. 

Highway 218 remains open, however, a pilot car is leading vehicles through the area, so expect delays.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rhoades Canyon Fire Update

Nearly 100 firefighters from the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Wheeler County worked on the Rhoades Canyon Fire burning east of Clarno, Oregon and south of Highway 218 this afternoon. Steep slopes and afternoon winds caused the fire make short runs, increasing the size to 10,000 acres. Although the fire grew, crews have been successful in getting line around portions of the fire and containment has increased to 30 percent.

Wind, low relative humidity and dry fuels remain a concern for suppression efforts. Crews will work throughout the night to improve existing lines to create a solid anchor point, and will progressively build line along the flanks of the fire. Crews may also use small burnout operations to help contain the fire. Helicopters and SEAT planes will continue to use water and retardant to knock down the hottest parts of the fire and support ground firefighters during the day.

Highway 218 remains open. The fire has not reached the John Day River and the river remains open; however, boaters should be aware that helicopters may be dipping buckets in the river during daylight hours. When helicopters approach, boaters should hold up until the helicopter has moved away.



Firefighters Respond to New Wildfire near Clarno


Firefighters responded yesterday to a new wildfire near Clarno, Oregon. The fire was reported yesterday just before noon along Highway 218, one mile east of the John Day River.  Incident #301, called the Rhoades Canyon fire, grew quickly to the south due to light, dried-out grass, steep slopes and wind, and is currently estimated at 8,000 acres. The cause is under investigation. The fire is 10 percent contained at this time.


Increasing temperatures over the next several days and afternoon winds will continue to challenge firefighters. The fire is burning in a mix of land administered by the BLM including a portion of the Spring Basin Wilderness, private land, and fee title land managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs called the Pine Creek Conservation Area. Firefighters protected several historic structures during the initial response to the fire, and no additional structures are considered threatened at this time. The John Day River and Highway 218 remain open.


The fire is staffed today with several engines from the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management and Wheeler County Fire and Rescue. In addition, there is a Type 1 handcrew (Hotshot crew) and a Type 2 handcrew, each providing 20 firefighters. Due to the limited number of roads in this area, the crews are being supported by two single engine air tankers (SEATs) and two Type 2 helicopters, and one Type 1 helicopter.


The rapid growth on the fire is a sign that vegetation in Central Oregon is quickly drying out. Lower elevations along the river canyons that are typically hotter and dryer are quickly moving toward extreme. Fire restrictions are currently in place along portions of the John Day, Lower Deschutes, Crooked and White Rivers in Central Oregon, requiring visitors to use white gas and propane stoves only for heating and cooking. Fire officials would like to remind everyone to take care as they head out to recreate in Central Oregon – where campfires are allowed, make sure someone is always there to watch them and make sure they’re “dead out” when going to bed or leaving the campground. As we approach the 4th of July holiday, please remember that fireworks of any kind are illegal on public land.

 




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Friday, June 16, 2017

Wildcat Fire Update, 6/16/2017

The Central Oregon Fire Management Service (COFMS) and the Ochoco National Forest, Lookout Mountain Ranger District, are managing the Wildcat fire located 1 mile west of Spears Meadows south of Forest Service Road 3350 and along Highway 26 at mile marker 42.  The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, however, there was lightning in the area over the past weekend. 
Given the time of year and favorable weather conditions, crews are using existing roads and natural barriers for containment opportunities and using drip torches and burn out operations to secure established containment lines.  The fire is burning within an old harvest treatment area and anticipated fire effects will be complementary to previous treatments.

This strategy will allow fire to play its natural ecological role on the landscape while minimizing firefighter risk, promoting vegetation health and vigor in the fire area and reducing hazardous fuels.  When completed early next week, the final perimeter is expected to be approximately 130 acres.   This approach is in line with the Ochoco National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.

“With the current weather conditions we are seeing right now and what we are anticipating in the near future, this is a good opportunity for us to begin reintroducing fire into our ecosystem,” says District Ranger, Slater Turner.

Smoke may be visible in the area and along Highway 26.  While no formal closure is in place, the public is encouraged to avoid the fire area. 


For media inquiries, contact Susan Garner at scgarner@fs.fed.us or (541) 416-6647


Friday, June 9, 2017

Annual Campfire Restrictions in Place on BLM Rivers in Central Oregon


Annual campfire restrictions went into effect June 1, on portions of the Deschutes, John Day and Crooked Rivers, as well as on BLM-administered lands along Lake Billy Chinook. The number one goal of the BLM is promoting safety, and the river canyons present a combination of limited access, grassy fuels that dry out quickly, and steep slopes that allow wildfires to spread rapidly.
 
The river fire closures prohibit building, igniting, maintaining, attending, using, tending, or being within 20 feet of a campfire, charcoal fire, or any other type of open flame. This closure bans the use of portable propane campfires and wood pellet burning devices. The closure also restricts areas where visitors can smoke to non-public buildings, closed vehicles, in boats on the water or while standing in the water.

  • The specific campfire closure locations apply to BLM-administered lands in the following areas:
  • Within ½ mile of the Crooked River’s edge from the Highway 97 bridge to Lake Billy Chinook;
  • Within ½ mile of the Deschutes River’s edge from the Highway 20 bridge to Lake Billy Chinook;
  • Within ½ mile of Lake Simtustus (located between Round Butte Dam and Pelton Dam);
  • Within the Lower Deschutes National Wild and Scenic River corridor, which extends from Pelton Dam to the Columbia River;
  • Within ½ mile of Lake Billy Chinook, including the BLM Beach dispersed recreation site located ½ mile east of the Three Rivers Recreation Area on the south shore of the Metolius Arm of the lake;
  • Within ½ mile of the White River’s edge from its confluence with the Deschutes River upstream to the eastern boundary of the Mt. Hood National Forest.
  • The Mainstem John Day River from Tumwater Falls (River Mile 10) upstream to Kimberly (RM 185);
  • The North Fork John Day River, from the confluence with the Mainstem at Kimberly  (RM 0) upstream to the Umatilla National Forest boundary (RM 62); and,
  • The South Fork John Day River from Smokey Creek (RM 6) upstream to the Malheur Forest (RM 47).
Except in emergency conditions or with permission by an agency authorized officer, there are no exceptions to this closure. A violation of this closure is punishable to by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 months, or both.  In addition, igniting, possessing and/or using fireworks or target shooting with exploding targets is prohibited on BLM-administered lands in Oregon and Washington from May 19, 2017 through October 14, 2017.

New number for Central Oregon fire information


Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center (COIDC) has moved from Prineville, Oregon to Redmond, Oregon, requiring a change in the public and media contact phone numbers. The main number for general public, contractor or business inquiries will be (541) 316-7700 and the phone number for the public and media for wildfire information will now be (541) 316-7711. Fire Information Officers will staff the fire information line only during active Central Oregon wildfires.